Cryptocurrency Terms to Know
Cryptocurrency has become a thriving ecosystem of its own over the past few years, and like any other world, this one has its own stable of unique terms, abbreviations, and slang. If you’re new to cryptocurrency this jargon can sometimes present something of a barrier to understanding and even if you’re not new and understand the technical aspects, the vast amounts of slang can be difficult to parse. So, here are 12 commonly used terms in cryptocurrency:
Altcoin: a cryptocurrency that isn’t Bitcoin. Because Bitcoin was the first of its kind and still remains the most well-known and frequently traded cryptocurrency, the term altcoin arose as a means of specifying when one is discussing a different coin.
ATH: an acronym for all-time high. It refers to the highest price that a specific coin has reached in the market.
Bear/Bull: two descriptive terms native to the trading and investing world at large. A bear market is one in which prices are dropping. A bull market is one in which prices are rising. Cryptocurrencies had their most significant and substantial bull run so far in the second half of 2017.
Blockchain: the technology that underpins cryptocurrency. A blockchain is a distributed ledger, meaning a record of all transactions that have taken place with a certain coin, when, to and from whom, and the amounts. The distributed part means the ledger isn’t kept in one secure location but exists simultaneously with all users and is constantly updated and verified by the community at large. It is also encrypted in such way so that all transactions are verifiable and yet semi-anonymous.
Fiat: a term for centralized and government regulated currency, a convenient term in the crypto world for referring to what you might call “regular” or non-digital currency, the dollar, the euro, etc.
Fork: like an update to a blockchain. When the protocols of the blockchain need to be updated a fork is created. They come in two forms, a soft fork and a hard fork. If an update needs to happen to the blockchain and there’s no need to keep the original chain, a soft fork is enacted and all users must switch to the new chain. A hard fork ends up with two versions of the blockchain, the original, and a new one and users can either switch to the new one or remain on the old.
FUD: an acronym for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. It’s a common term used when discussing the state of the cryptocurrency markets and describing news, talk, or a general mood in the community that indicates pessimism about the market’s future.
Hash: "A mathematical process that takes a variable amount of data and produces a shorter, fixed-length output." 
HODL: another common slang term seen in the crypto community that unofficially stands for “hold on for dear life.” It represents a mindset of steadfastness, the idea that because volatility is so high in cryptocurrency, it can be easy to get spooked by the sudden dramatic drops and rises and sell prematurely. It’s a statement of encouragement and solidarity, reaffirming the strategy of holding on to one’s coins and being patient with the market.
ICO: stands for initial coin offering. An ICO is an event in which a new coin is debuted and the original tokens are sold to early investors.
Node: a node is any user in the blockchain system. In other words, it’s a computer that possesses a copy of the blockchain and is therefore working to maintain it.
Public/Private Key: the two pieces of the puzzle that make up one’s digital signature and allow new transactions to be added to the blockchain. It involves the science known as cryptology. To put it simply, the public key is the half that is sent out to start a transaction. The private key is the half that is used to decode the message and complete the transaction.