From Dogecoin to DeFi: A Blockchain Glossary for Beginners

 Cryptocurrency is confusing at the best of times. Knowing these terms will help.

Bitcoin, ether and dogecoin have become household words, and financial institutions around the world are increasingly embracing cryptocurrencies like them.

 Against all odds, blockchain technology has gone mainstream. Despite the prominence of cryptocurrencies -- and their cousin, the nonfungible token, or NFT -- few understand the technology that underpins these coins. 

Blockchain technology is still arcane, truly understood mostly by talented engineers -- many of whom were early adopters of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether.

 Part of the reason why cryptocurrencies, blockchains and NFTs are so difficult to understand is the wide range of esoteric terms used by the communities that trade in them.

Below is an alphabetical glossary of blockchain terms you might find useful. This isn't an investment guide, nor is it an exhaustive list of terms and phrases. It does, however, cover the basics that will be helpful for beginners. 


An airdrop is when a company drops cryptocurrency or an NFT directly into your wallet. Instead of an initial public offering, blockchain services will launch a token and airdrop people who have used that service in the past. 

This can be done for several reasons: It can be pure marketing, as airdrops raise awareness of a token that people can then invest in, or it can be to provide governance tokens for a DAO.

A recent example: The Ethereum Name Service allows users to change their wallet number to a wallet name (like CNET.eth). In December, it launched its own ENS token, airdropping an amount to everyone who had used the service.

 The more people had used Ethereum Name Service, the more tokens they were airdropped -- in some cases worth tens of thousands of dollars.


To "ape" into something is to recklessly invest in the hopes of short-term profit. Everyone knows scams abound, and careful investors do research to vet a cryptocurrency or NFT project to ensure it's safe. To "ape" into a project is to see its value rising and to throw money into it hoping for the best. 


Any cryptocurrency that's not bitcoin or ether. Many are also known as shitcoins.

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