Altcoin- Short for “Alternative Coin,” technically including all cryptos that are not Bitcoin (a prominent example would be Litecoin). Most altcoins are similar to Bitcoin, changing only minor characteristics such as transactions speed, distribution method, or hashing algorithm. Some utilize their own blockchains, while others ride on top of established blockchains like Ethereum’s.
Blockchain- a continuously growing list of transaction records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. The Bitcoin blockchain is a ledger of the total history of all Bitcoin transactions that have ever occurred.
Cryptocurrency- a digital asset (thing of value) designed to work as a form of capital (wealth) using cryptography (making something secret) to secure transactions and control creation of additional units of currency.
Cryptography- the art of writing or solving codes (making something a secret).
Decentralization- the process of distributing or dispersing functions, powers, people or things away from a central location or authority.
Exchange- a company or setting that allows users to transact cryptocurrencies at the current going price (dictated by an open, unregulated market).
Fiat Currency- money that has been backed by a government as a legal store of value to be used in exchanges for goods and services. Examples include the U.S. Dollar, the Pound Sterling, the Yen, the Rupee, etc.
Hashing algorithm- a one way function that allows for secure transactions – in other words, you can get the output from the input but you can’t get the input from the output.
ICO (Initial Coin Offering)- ICO’s are how new cryptocurrencies are added to the market. More are added continuously by companies employing blockchain technology.
Ledger- a full list of transactions including sender, recipient, and amount.
Mining- the process of adding transaction records to the public ledger of past transactions or blockchain using computer processing power (compensation is awarded for this task).
Public Address- a public string of numbers and letters identifying your account on the blockchain. Used to send crypto. Think of a public address as an email address. This is sometimes referred to as a Public Key.
Private Key- analogous to an email password. Must be entered in order to send crypto to someone else to verify that you are the one conducting the transaction.
Wallet- Holds public and private keys for the long term. Generally safer than exchanges.
We understand that this is a lot of new information to take in! It is a good idea to make sure you fully understand everything we have covered in this crash course.
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