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Blockchain Glossary

An accidental fork happens when two or more miners find a block almost simultaneously. One chain then becomes longer than the other, and the network eventually abandons the blocks that are not in the longer chain. These blocks are then classified as ‘orphaned blocks.’

An distributed ledger used by two or more parties to negotiate and reach an agreement.

Any cryptocurrency that exists as an alternative to bitcoin.

API stands for Application Protocol Interface, and is an application endpoint that can be triggered and queried to post or get data. The node server application offer API through the peer to peer network.

Often compared to GPUs, ASICs are specially made for cryptocurrency mining and may offer significant power savings.

Atomic swaps involve cryptocurrencies across Blockchains that are tradeable with one another without needing an exchange in the middle.

A distributed ledger providing a durable record of agreements, commitments, or statements, providing evidence (attestation) that these agreements, commitments, or statements were made.

The first, and most popular, cryptocurrency based off the decentralized ledger of a blockchain.

A collection of transactions that have happened during a certain amount of time. The transactions are bundled in a block and added to the blockchain.

A method of encrypting text in which algorithm and cryptographic key are applied to a data block at once as a group instead of one bit at a time.

An online tool for exploring the blockchain of a particular cryptocurrency, where you can watch and follow all the transactions happening on the blockchain. Block explorers can serve as blockchain analysis and provide information such as total network hash rate, coin supply, transaction growth, etc.

Bitcoin’s supply of new coins issued to miners is cut in half about every four years to keep it scarce. This 50% cut is known as the halving. The next halving will be around 2020.

Payment made to the volunteers who offer their computers to facilitate transactions on a blockchain network. The payment can be a mix of new coins and transaction fees.

Shows the file size of each block on a blockchain and therefore, how many transactions can be bundled and processed in each one. For Bitcoin, the current block size is 1MB.

A decentralized, unchangeable record of all transactions that have ever happened. It bundles transactions in order on blocks and stores them permanently.

A pseudorandom number computed by hashing together the BlockSeed of the previous block and the Account Address of the new Blocksmith.
Used as a seed for any deterministic random numbers that must be used for this block, such as calculating the SmithTime for all Blocksmiths, computing the PoP Group for this block, and computing the PoP Rewards list.

An application that runs at browser level used to keep private keys safe, and to interact with the blockchain in behalf of web applications.


Burning coins is the action of sending them to an address where they are irretrievable.

The ability of a network to properly reach consensus at any time, assuming that no more than 2/3 of its actors are malicious. Checkpointing is commonly used alongside to make data stored on the blockchain final.

Consensus algorithm that combines Proof of Work and Proof of Stake. Ethereum is going to use Casper as a transition to Proof of Stake.

Allows for a quick transfer of digital media needed to load internet content (HTML, JavaScript, CSS, etc.) by storing copies in data centers across continents.

A record of transactions which is maintained by the central agency/party/person.

The process of connecting two blockchains with each other, thus allowing transactions between the chains to take place.

A program that initializes and manages a ledgers state through submitted applications. It is the Hyperledger Fabric equal to Smart Contracts.

Classical cryptocurrency mining requires huge investments in hardware and electricity. Cloud mining companies aim to make mining accessible to everybody. People just can log in to a website and invest money in the company which already has mining datacenters.

The “sender” of a special transaction included in every new block (on some blockchains) that creates new tokens from nothing. These tokens are given as a reward to the miner that creates the new block, thereby increasing the total amount of tokens in circulation within the blockchain. Some blockchains use the coinbase only at block 0 and have 100% of their tokens already created when the blockchain is launched. (“Coinbase” should not to be confused with the cryptocurrency exchange from San Francisco of the same name.)

The offline safekeeping of private keys which allow for access to cryptocurrency funds. Typically this is done through hardware wallets, USB drives, and paper wallets.

Hyperledger Fabric command line allowing for administrative tasks.

Generates a rest server and associated API from a deployed blockchain that makes accessing data on blockchain easier by generating REST API service.

When a majority of participants of a network agree on the validity and order of a transaction inside the blockchain ledger.

The blockchain element that determines how consensus is reached on that blockchain. In other words; it is the part of the blockchain protocol that describes who gets to validate blocks of data (and thus is entitled to the reward) and how others can verify its legitimacy.

A blockchain where a pre-selected set of nodes handles the consensus process. It is also called a permissioned blockchain network that can be a hybrid model built between the trusted entity model of private blockchains and low trust provided by the public blockchain.

A method for decentralized funding of projects. It combines ideas from Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Project investors have the ability to vote and, if dissatisfied with the progress of the project, could get their money back.

A corporation that runs without any human intervention and surrenders all forms of control to an incorruptible set of business rules.

Applications that run without the control of a central authority (like a software company or government)

A peer-to-peer layer of the Internet that can only be accessed with special software. It is known as Darknet because it often involves illegal marketplaces and illicit activity.

A special system to store data in the blockchain.

A denial-of-service attack is a cyber-attack in which the perpetrator seeks to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users by temporarily or indefinitely disrupting services of a host connected to the Internet.

A peer-to-peer exchange that allows users to buy and sell cryptocurrency and other assets without the control or fees of a central authority.

An organization that operates and coordinates work without the control of a central authority like person, company, or the government.

The process used to turn cipher-text into plain text.

A delegated model where those with a stake don’t buy a lottery ticket to be able to create blocks, but they use them to vote and elect witnesses.

Paperless money that is stored on computers of Private/Public institutions to replace cash.

Anything used by friends or institutions to identify you online, such as email address/Twitter handle, etc. On the blockchain, when you sign something (with the private key), you are also proving your identity.

A digital code generated by public-key encryption that is attached to an electronically transmitted document to verify its contents and the sender’s identity.

The digital currency of the Ethereum network.

A platform for creating and running smart contracts. These are programmable applications that run exactly as promised – without downtime, censorship, or interference.

A turing complete virtual machine that allows anyone to execute arbitrary EVM Byte Code. Every Ethereum node runs on the EVM to maintain consensus across the blockchain.

A variable number to which set fees needs to be multiplied by, to give an adjusted fee amount to be paid for transactions. Operators of registered nodes on the network may take a regular vote on the appropriate multiplier, which we call the fee scale, for minimum transaction fees. This guarantees that while the value of the blockchain token may fluctuate, the fees to be paid for transaction remain stable against regular currency.

A term used to describe traditional government-issued and backed currencies like dollars, euros, and yen. Not backed by physical commodities but by legal tender laws.

Forks create an alternate version of the blockchain, leaving two blockchains to run simultaneously on different parts of the network.

Fungible means that a given good is identical (a.k.a., interchangeable). In crypto, we often talk about fungible or non-fungible tokens. A fungible token is Bitcoin. One Bitcoin is and will always be one Bitcoin, just like any other Bitcoin.

To run decentralized applications and smart contracts on the Ethereum network, apps calculate their usage using an internal pricing unit called Gas. Actual fees are then paid in Ether.

The very first block of a blockchain.

A type of fork that makes previously invalid transactions valid and needs all users to upgrade their clients.

A physical storage device for private keys that uses special technologies to protect access to the keys so that they do not get misused.

A function that takes an input and outputs an alphanumeric string known as the “hash value” or “digital fingerprint.”

The number of hashes that can be performed by a bitcoin miner in a given period of time (usually a second).

The world’s first fast, secure and fair distributed ledger, Hedera Hashgraph can perform 500,000 transactions per second. It is a directed acyclic graph that has the properties of the DLT and doesn’t need Proof-Of-Work like blockchain-based platforms.

Transforms the input data into a hash value that is sent to the receiver as a digital fingerprint. The receiver uses the same hash function to generate the hash value and then compares it to that received with the message. If the hash values are the same, it is likely that the message was transmitted/stored without errors.

A cryptocurrency wallet which is connected to the internet and immediately available for transactions.

A hybrid PoS/PoW allows for both Proof of Stake and Proof of Work as consensus distribution algorithms on the network.

Linux foundations hosted the blockchain project known as Hyperledger. An open-source platform, Hyperledger aims to bring collaborative effort from the blockchain experts in the market for the enhancement of Blockchain technology. It comprises various systems and tools for developing open-source blockchains.

lockchain Application Development framework which simplifies the blockchain application development on Hyperledger Fabric.

Hyperledger project hosted by Linux which hosts smart contracts called chaincode.

“Unable to be changed”. Data stored in a blockchain system is unable to be changed after it is written/solved (not even by administrators).

A public, crowdfunded sale of cryptocurrency tokens to raise money for a project.

Initial Token Offerings are similar to ICOs (initial coin offerings), but different in that not every blockchain project that is tokenized has developed a new coin.

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