Bitcoin Glossary

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and a relatively new form of currency. There are a lot of terms, words, and phrases associated with bitcoins and there use. It may not be possible to know the meanings of all the terms associated with it. On this page we list out and give the meanings of some of the important terms and words associated with bitcoins.

Basic Glossary of Bitcoin-Related Terms

The following is a list of basic terms related to bitcoins.

  • Address: Also known as the bitcoin address, it is literally the address from which you can conduct transactions – sending or receiving – on the network. The structure of the address is simple: it has a maximum of 34 alphanumeric characters – numbers as well as alphabets. Addresses are case-sensitive.

Another usage of this term is to denote the public key that bitcoin users use to conduct transactions.

  • Bitcoin ATM: A physical machine that people can use to buy their bitcoins. There are other words used instead of Bitcoin ATM, such as BTM and also Bitcoin AVMS.
  • Bitcoin Whitepaper: This was the first document in which the term bitcoin was mentioned. It was written by Satoshi Nakamoto – a person or group of persons – the entity behind bitcoin’s creation. The term Bitcoin Whitepaper was posted in 2008 to a cryptography mailing list and this document describes the entire Bitcoin protocol, the rules guiding the use of bitcoins.
  • Blockchain: A public repository that contains a list of all the bitcoin blocks mined so far. Each block on the blockchain has a hash drawing of the blocks appearing before it. The idea behind this is to make it as tamperproof as possible.
  • BTC: This is an abbreviation that is commonly used to refer to bitcoins.
  • Client: A software program that runs on a computer or mobile device. The client connects the user to the bitcoin network and helps conduct the different activities there, including transactions. A client may also have a bitcoin wallet.
  • Coin age: The term refers simply to the age of the bitcoin. You can find out the coin age by multiplying the amount the currency is valued at by the holding period for the coin.
  • Cryptocurrency: A unique form of currency that has its base solely in mathematics. The currency is generated by solving cryptography-based mathematical problems. Cryptocurrency exists in virtual space and cannot be printed, unlike regular hard currency.
  • DDoS: An abbreviation for Distributed Denial of Service, it is an attack that a bitcoin exchange may be hit with. The target in the attack is hit by wave upon wave of attacks from a large number of computers under the direction of the entity behind the attack.
  • ECDSA: An abbreviation for Elliptical Curve Digital Signature Algorithm, it is a kind of cryptographic algorithm that was used to sign transactions in the Bitcoin protocol.
  • Genesis block: As the name indicates, it is the first block in the blockchain.
  • mBTC: The term stands for millibitcoin or one thousandth of a bitcoin (0.001 BTC).
  • Mining: It is a process that is followed to generate new bitcoins. With this process, users solve complex mathematical algorithms to generate new bitcoins. This is achieved by use of computer hardware.
  • Orphan block: The term refers to a block that is not connected to a valid blockchain. It is usually part of a discarded lot/fork of blocks.
  • P2P: An abbreviation for peer-to-peer, it is used to refer to decentralized interactions between a minimum of 2 parties in a connected network.
  • Private key: One of a pair of keys used with bitcoins. It is an alphanumeric string that is used to sign a digital communication and works in tandem with a public key.
  • Public key: An alphanumeric key whose identity is not secret, i.e. it is known to the public. When used in the context of bitcoins, it denotes the bitcoin address.
  • Satoshi: The smallest unit within a bitcoin, it represents one hundred millionth of a bitcoin.
  • µBTC: One millionth of a BTC (0.000001 BTC).