Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Dictionary
A complete list of crypto definitions
Cryptocurrency and blockchain glossary
Commonly used terms in the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency
Terms commonly used in the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency
What is a cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a digital payment system that doesn't rely on banks to verify transactions. It’s a peer-to-peer system that can enable anyone anywhere to send and receive payments. Instead of being physical money carried around and exchanged in the real world, cryptocurrency payments exist purely as digital entries to an online database describing specific transactions. When you transfer cryptocurrency funds, the transactions are recorded in a public ledger. Cryptocurrency is stored in digital wallets.
Cryptocurrency received its name because it uses encryption to verify transactions. This means advanced coding is involved in storing and transmitting cryptocurrency data between wallets and to public ledgers. The aim of encryption is to provide security and safety
The first cryptocurrency was Bitcoin, which was founded in 2009 and remains the best known today. Much of the interest in cryptocurrencies is to trade for profit, with speculators at times driving prices skyward.
How does a cryptocurrency work?
Cryptocurrencies run on a distributed public ledger called blockchain, a record of all transactions updated and held by currency holders.
Units of cryptocurrency are created through a process called mining, which involves using computer power to solve complicated mathematical problems that generate coins. Users can also buy the currencies from brokers, then store and spend them using cryptographic wallets.
If you own cryptocurrency, you don’t own anything tangible. What you own is a key that allows you to move a record or a unit of measure from one person to another without a trusted third party.
Although Bitcoin has been around since 2009, cryptocurrencies and applications of blockchain technology are still emerging in financial terms, and more uses are expected in the future. Transactions including bonds, stocks, and other financial assets could eventually be traded using the technology.
How are crypto prices calculated?
Crypto prices are calculated by averaging cryptocurrency exchange rates on different cryptocurrency trading platforms. This way, we can determine an average price that reflects cryptocurrency market conditions as accurately as possible.
Cryptocurrency exchanges provide markets where cryptocurrencies are bought and sold 24/7. Depending on the exchange, cryptocurrencies can be traded against other cryptocurrencies (for example BTC/ETH) or against fiat currencies like USD or EUR (for example BTC/USD). On exchanges, traders submit orders that specify either the highest price at which they’re willing to buy the cryptocurrency, or the lowest price at which they’re willing to sell. These market dynamics ultimately determine the current price of any given cryptocurrency.
Coinwas tracks more than 350 crypto exchanges and thousands of trading pairs to make sure that our data is as reliable as possible.
Generally, cryptocurrency price data will be more reliable for the most popular cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum enjoy high levels of liquidity and trade at similar rates regardless of which specific cryptocurrency exchange you’re looking at. A liquid market has many participants and a lot of trading volume - in practice, this means that your trades will execute quickly and at a predictable price. In an illiquid market, you might have to wait for a while before someone is willing to take the other side of your trade, and the price could even be affected significantly by your order.
For smaller alternative cryptocurrencies or altcoins, there can be noticeable price discrepancies across different exchanges. At Coinwas, we weigh the price data by volume so that the most active markets have the biggest influence on the prices we’re displaying.
Which is the best cryptocurrency?
Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency and enjoys the most adoption among both individuals and businesses. However, there are many different cryptocurrencies that all have their own advantages or disadvantages.
If you value a highly secure and decentralized network above all, Bitcoin is probably your best bet. This is because the Bitcoin network consists of thousands of nodes spread geographically and is secured by a massive amount of computing power. On the other hand, if you require transactions to be very fast and cheap, Bitcoin is probably not the best choice due to the relative inefficiency of its Proof-of-Work design. In that case, you might want to consider using a cryptocurrency like XRP or Stellar Lumens instead. If you want to use decentralized applications and need functionality, a cryptocurrency such as Ethereum or EOS would be the best choice.
The cryptocurrencies listed here are used as examples to illustrate the point that the best cryptocurrency depends on your specific requirements and use case.
Who invented cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency was invented by Satoshi Nakamoto, which is the pseudonym used by the inventor of Bitcoin. Even though digital currency concepts existed before Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto was the first to create a peer-to-peer digital currency that reliably solved the issues facing previous digital money projects. Bitcoin was initially proposed in 2008 and launched in early 2009. Following the invention of Bitcoin, thousands of projects have attempted to imitate Bitcoin’s success or improve upon the original Bitcoin design by leveraging new technologies.
What is the market cap of a cryptocurrency?
Crypto market capitalization or "crypto market cap" for short is a widely used metric that is commonly used to compare the relative size of different cryptocurrencies. On Coinwas, market cap is the default metric by which we rank cryptocurrencies on our frontpage. We also track the total cryptocurrency market cap by adding together the market cap of all the cryptocurrencies listed on coinwas. The total market cap provides an estimate on whether the cryptocurrency market as a whole is growing or declining.
How is crypto market cap calculated?
We calculate a cryptocurrency’s market cap by taking the cryptocurrency’s price per unit and multiplying it with the cryptocurrency’s circulating supply. The formula is simple: Market Cap = Price * Circulating Supply. Circulating supply refers to the amount of units of a cryptocurrency that currently exist and can be transacted with.
Let’s quickly calculate the market cap of Bitcoin as an example. The Bitcoin price is currently $39,233 and there are 18.98 million BTC coins in circulation. If we use the formula from above, we multiply the two numbers and arrive at a market cap of $744.82 billion.
Does market cap matter in cryptocurrency?
Crypto market cap matters because it is a useful way to compare different cryptocurrencies. If Coin A has a significantly higher market cap than Coin B, this tells us that Coin A is likely adopted more widely by individuals and businesses and valued higher by the market. On the other hand, it could potentially also be an indication that Coin B is undervalued relative to Coin A.
Even though market cap is a widely used metric, it can sometimes be misleading. A good rule of thumb is that the usefulness of any given cryptocurrency’s market cap metric increases in proportion with the cryptocurrency’s trading volume. If a cryptocurrency is actively traded and has deep liquidity across many different exchanges, it becomes much harder for single actors to manipulate prices and create an unrealistic market cap for the cryptocurrency.
How can a cryptocurrency increase its market cap?
A cryptocurrency’s market cap increases when its price per unit increases. Alternatively, an increase in circulating supply can also lead to an increase in market cap. However, an increase in supply also tends to lead to a lower price per unit, and the two cancel each other out to a large extent. In practice, an increase in price per unit is the main way in which a cryptocurrency’s market cap grows.
What is Bitcoin’s market cap?
The Bitcoin market cap is currently $744.82 billion. We arrive at this figure by multiplying the price of 1 BTC and the circulating supply of Bitcoin. The Bitcoin price is currently $39,233 and its circulating supply is 18.98 million. If we multiply these two numbers, we arrive at a market cap of $744.82 billion.
What is cryptocurrency circulating supply?
The circulating supply of a cryptocurrency is the amount of units that is currently available for use. Let’s use Bitcoin as an example. There is a rule in the Bitcoin code which says that only 21 million Bitcoins can ever be created. The circulating supply of Bitcoin started off at 0 but immediately started growing as new blocks were mined and new BTC coins were being created to reward the miners. Currently, there are around 18.52 million Bitcoins in existence, and this number will keep growing until the 21 millionth BTC is mined. Since 18.98 million BTC have been mined so far, we say that this is the circulating supply of Bitcoin.
What is an altcoin?
altcoin is any cryptocurrency that is not Bitcoin. The word "altcoin" is short for "alternative coin", and is commonly used by cryptocurrency investors and traders to refer to all coins other than Bitcoin. Thousands of altcoins have been created so far following Bitcoin’s launch in 2009.
What is the difference between Bitcoin and altcoins?
Bitcoin is the oldest and most established cryptocurrency, and has a market cap that is larger than all of the other cryptocurrencies combined. Bitcoin is also the most widely adopted cryptocurrency, and is accepted by practically all businesses that deal with cryptocurrency.
However, Bitcoin is far from the only player in the game, and there are numerous altcoins that have reached multi-billion dollar valuations. The second largest cryptocurrency is Ethereum, which supports smart contracts and allows users to make highly complex decentralized applications. In fact, Ethereum has grown so large that the word "altcoin" is rarely used to describe it now.
Generally, altcoins attempt to improve upon the basic design of Bitcoin by introducing technology that is absent from Bitcoin. This includes privacy technologies, different distributed ledger architectures and consensus mechanisms.
What is DeFi?
The term DeFi (decentralized finance) is used to refer to a wide variety of decentralized applications that enable financial services such as lending, borrowing and trading. DeFi applications are built on top of blockchain platforms such as Ethereum and allow anyone to access these financial services simply by using their cryptocurrency wallets.
What are the top 10, 50 cryptocurrencies?
The top 10 cryptocurrencies are ranked by their market capitalization. Even though 10 is an arbitrarily selected number, being in the top 10 by market capitalization is a sign that the cryptocurrency enjoys a lot of relevance in the crypto market. The crypto top 10 changes frequently because of the high volatility of crypto prices. Despite this, Bitcoin and Ethereum have been ranked #1 and #2, respectively, for several years now.
What is the difference between token and coin?
A coin is a cryptocurrency that is the native asset on its own blockchain. These cryptocurrencies are required to pay for transaction fees and basic operations on the blockchain. BTC (Bitcoin) and ETH (Ethereum) are examples of coins.
Tokens, on the other hand, are crypto assets that have been issued on top of other blockchain networks. The most popular platform for issuing tokens is Ethereum, and examples of Ethereum-based tokens are MKR, UNI and YFI. Even though you can freely transact with these tokens, you cannot use them to pay Ethereum transaction fees.
What is blockchain and how is it connected with cryptocurrency?
blockchain is a type of distributed ledger that is useful for recording the transactions and balances of different participants. All transactions are stored in blocks, which are generated periodically and linked together with cryptographic methods. Once a block is added to the blockchain, data contained within it cannot be changed, unless all subsequent blocks are changed as well.
A cryptocurrency wouldn’t be very useful if anyone could just change the history of transactions to their own liking - the point of cryptocurrency is that you can be sure that your coins belong to you only and that your balances will not change arbitrarily. This is why reaching consensus is of utmost importance. In Bitcoin, miners use their computer hardware to solve resource-intensive mathematical problems. The miner that reaches the correct solution first gets to add the next block to the Bitcoin blockchain, and receives a BTC reward in return.
With a blockchain, it’s possible for participants from across the world to verify and agree on the current state of the ledger. Blockchain was invented by Satoshi Nakamoto for the purposes of Bitcoin. Other developers have expanded upon Satoshi Nakamoto’s idea and created new types of blockchains – in fact, blockchains also have several uses outside of cryptocurrencies.
What is cryptocurrency/Bitcoin mining?
Cryptocurrency mining is the process of adding new blocks to a blockchain and earning cryptocurrency rewards in return. Cryptocurrency miners use computer hardware to solve complex mathematical problems. These problems are very resource-intensive, resulting in heavy electricity consumption.
The miner that provides the correct solution to the problem first gets to add the new block of transactions to the blockchain and receives a reward in return for their work. Bitcoin miners are rewarded with BTC, Ethereum miners are rewarded with ETH, and so forth.
Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin feature an algorithm that adjusts the mining difficulty depending on how much computing power is being used to mine it. In other words – as more and more people and businesses start mining Bitcoin, mining Bitcoin becomes more difficult and resource-intensive. This feature is implemented so that the Bitcoin block time remains close to its 10 minute target and the supply of BTC follows a predictable curve.
Cryptocurrencies that reach consensus through mining are referred to as Proof-of-Work coins. However, alternative designs such as Proof-of-Stake are used by some cryptocurrencies instead of mining.
How can I find historical crypto market cap and crypto price data?
You can find historical crypto market cap and crypto price data on Coinwas, a comprehensive platform for crypto charts and prices.
How many cryptocurrencies exist?
There are thousands of different cryptocurrencies. On Coinwas, you can find crypto prices for over 12000 cryptocurrencies, and we are listing new cryptocurrencies every single day.
What is an ICO?
ICOIt stands for Initial Coin Offering and refers to a method of raising capital for cryptocurrency and blockchain related projects. Typically, a project will create a token and present its ideas in a whitepaper. The project will then offer tokens to raise the necessary capital for fundraising. Although there have been many successful ICOs to date, investors need to be very careful if they are interested in purchasing tokens in an ICO. ICOs are largely unregulated and very risky.
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