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Crypto Currency Terms You Should Know

Get Hip To The Crypto Lingo, Daddio


Uh oh. You’re at a party, and just as we’ve all silently dreaded, the conversation turns to crypto currency. How will you know who knows what they’re talking about? And how can you prove that you’re the one who knows what you’re talking about? Does anybody here know what they’re talking about? And how can you confidently establish that you’re the smartest ape with the best mouth-sounds in the room?


Slow your roll, Captain Alpha. It’s a party. Everybody’s trying to have a good time and maybe it’s a little friendlier to help everybody figure out which terms sound the coolest, on a scale of 0 to 5:

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The blockchain — Leading off with the definite article might lead you or your fellow partygoers to assume you’re referring to a specific distributed public ledger(read those last three words again: yes, that’s what a blockchain is) but this term is often used to refer to the totality of blockchain technology use. “The blockchain is going to revolutionize the way we X”. In Short BlockChain is a non central database, therefore the information is not controlled by any one entity. 

Coolness: 1/5.


Mining pool —  When you paid for that hip local craft beer with your debit card, the bank verified the transaction before you got “APPROVED.” On a blockchain, instead of any central hub, the combined computing power of competing miners does this verifying. A miner’s computer –a node— competes for a given currency by processing transactions in that currency. Since you very likely won’t successfully mine your own Bitcoin or Ethereum at home anymore, you might join a mining pool. It’s just like everyone at work going in on a lottery ticket, except you’re pooling computing power instead of coffee money, therefore your chances of winning are probably a little better than 1 in 14 quadrillion.

Coolness: 2/5


Altcoin — This is any cryptocurrency that isn’t Bitcoin, or Ethereum. (Although Ethereum was probably an altcoin before hitting it big, back when they were still cool, just playing those local gigs only you and your friends knew about… sigh) “Alt” is no longer quite as hip a prefix as it was back when “alt-country” was a thing, so it might sound like you’re sneering at the whole idea, as if the two big dogs are going to rule the pack forever.

Coolness: only 3/5, because there’s a better word if you must sneer:

“Shitcoin” — And sneer you must, for these are scams. So they adapt the name Shitcoin in the crypto world. Do your do diligence when researching investment prospects, so to not fill your portfolio with any Shitcoin’s. Here’s one way to tell,  a “centralized structure” as a feature. Of a crypto currency? Let that sink in. Decentralization is the main idea behind crypto currency. 

Coolness: 4/5

 ICO – Initial Coin Offering: the 21st century gold rush, and also the reason ‘shitcoins’ exist.  Remember when everybody knew what an IPO was. Back in the mini-techno-Gilded Age before the dotcom crash of 2000?  Well now we have ICO, a way for Startups and their ” Coins ” to receive funding , basically Gofund me on crack. ICO’s Raise anywhere from 10 Million to 160 Million in a matter of days. So an ICO is what we call these crowd fund stages for these startups.  Read about money hungry ICO’s Here 

Coolness: 2/5


Segregated Witness — If it sounds like a straight-to-video drama lurking in your corner store’s bargain bin, maybe you’ll be more excited for the edgily titled sequel SegWit2X. And it’s coming this summer!  It’s  a technical upgrade that’s going to make Bitcoin more efficient, if a community of people manage to all agree, and maybe also if they don’t.

Coolness: 3/5


World Computer — Maybe in a future world where all the Artificial Intelligence is decentralized, and kept in secure Faraday cages, ‘World Computer’ won’t sound as terrifying. But the notion has conjured up nightmare visions in too much sci-fi for this one to put anyone at ease. But, hey, this is kind of what Ethereum is, so let’s call it what it is. No F for Frankenstein monster seems to have woken up into sentience as yet–as far as we can tell, what with our puny human minds.

Coolness: 2/5. Arthur C. Clarke’s fictional warning stands.


Sidechain — Cool, if only because it sounds like it might be a way to signal your kink to passing strangers. But no, it’s a form of cryptocurrency that works like an offshoot of Bitcoin, not in a tree branch way, but more like a spinoff TV series, built out of information that Bitcoin’s workings generate.

Coolness: 4/5


Fiat currency — This is the world of what we’re used to doing with money, and what we’re used to money being able to do. If you have paper money in a leather wallet, it’s probably fiat currency. Try saying “fiat” with a certain tone of disdain to announce to the world that you’ve moved on from that drab-and-borderline-abusive relationship.

Coolness: 3-4/5, depending on delivery.


Cold storage — Cryptocurrencies can be stored offline. On paper. Just like fiat currency. Because of malicious hacker attacks. This is very important to consider, and learn about. From Paper wallets to hardware Cold storage is king when it comes to protection your crypto investment.  

Coolness: 5/5  


Disruption — This is what the blockchain is doing to money, society, and probably, soon, your sense of what it is to be a citizen. Radio disrupted gossiping around the fire. Video disrupted the radio star. Facebook disrupted my parenting. Show you’re in the know and use “disruption” to communicate the seeming irrevocable nature of the coming changes.

Cool factor: 3/5


Coinbase — A cryptocurrency exchange. They recently reimbursed people who lost fortunes of ETH because of technical issues. Here’s a conversation starter: anyone got any other examples of anything like that in world history? What would Mitt ‘Let Detroit Go Bankrupt’ Romney have done?


GDAX— Also a cryptocurrency exchange, but with an acronym that sounds like an anime action hero from the 90’s. It’s the General Digital Asset Exchange, from the people who brought who Coinbase.

Only 2/5 for both of these, due to ongoing technical issues.


Satoshi — Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonym of the mysterious figure who first thought of all this, wrote about it, and started Bitcoin. It’s not pretentious name-dropping if I know the name’s fake, right? 4/5 for the mystery factor.


Fintech — short for financial technology, this overly broad term refers to everything that’s new and is coming into being in the field. People often use this word to include anything banks are doing with technology. Venmo, a personal payment app, could count as fintech, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the blockchain… yet.  Overuse and lack of clarity, so only 1/5 for this one. Meet its evil twin:


Regtech — Software tools for regulators. Yes, regulators are working on how to use blockchains to keep an eye on blockchains. 0/5 in cool.



KYC/AML — Know Your Customer/ Anti-Money-Laundering. These already-existing legal protections for financiers create requirements for exchanges and anything that might be mistaken for one, depending on your country’s laws. It turns out to be expensive to have a way of knowing that your customers aren’t funding terrorism. Guess what’s going to disrupt this? The blockchain. 1/5.


Internet Of Things — You may have already heard plenty about the IoT, indeed, may have already wondered aloud, “Wait, why do I want my doorbell to have an internet connection?” But it’s clearly the consensus that having everything you ever touch generating data is going to be a valuable piece of our blockchain future, at the very least, as far as supply chains go. Enjoying your Iphone? With this kind of blockchain data, you’d be able to to truly verify that zero humans got murdered as a consequence of it existing. Pretty cool. 4/5


DAOs — Perhaps in your university years you found your political voice in fighting for social justice. And perhaps you joined movements that prided themselves on being leaderless, bottom-up, decentralized, autonomous. Well, now there’s a bot for that: Decentralized Autonomous Organisations and their slightly less idealistic cousin, the Decentralized Autonomous Corporation. An investment fund that runs itself? A ride-sharing app that doesn’t have any employees? Yes, and more. 3/5.


Ecosystem — You already know this one, and you’re wondering what aspect of a digital asset could be described in this way. But it’s the whole shebang:  the miners, the exchanges, the sidechains, the platforms, the smart contracts — things are moving and changing fast enough that “architecture” doesn’t fit the bill. And “interoperable architecture” is kind of a mouthful. 4/5 for knowing things are complex.


Use case — Two nouns, the first one with a hard ‘s’. Bitcoin is but one use case; using the blockchain to authenticate your identity is another use case. It’s a crypto-cool word for “example”, when the example is something people use or will use blockchain to do. 2/5.


Dapp —  Finally ladies and gentlebeings, I think we have a winner. This is not really a word I’ve heard thrown around a whole lot. In due time, as they become more common, but it seems likely that we will want to distinguish them from crypto based apps without saying ‘decentralized app’ every time.  It’s the easiest one to add to your vocabulary, and doing so will make the world sound that much more like a science fiction movie, before dapps and DAOs turn it into one. 5/5 on the coolness scale for tricking people into sounding  slightly French. D’accord?