This article was published on December 28, 2018

The ultimate glossary of cryptocurrency and blockchain acronyms

The ultimate glossary of cryptocurrency and blockchain acronyms
Matthew Beedham
Story by

Matthew Beedham

Editor, SHIFT by TNW

Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls. Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls.

Welcome to Hard Fork Basics, a collection of tips, tricks, guides, and advice to keep you up to date in the cryptocurrency and blockchain world.

Blockchain and cryptocurrency can be a daunting place sometimes and the swathes of jargon, specialist terminology, and acronyms don’t really help matters. Sometimes it feels like complex terms are used just to confuse people. But don’t worry, Hard Fork has got your back.

Below you’ll find a list of industry acronyms and what they stand for. We’re steadily building up explainers of all these terms too, so in some cases there might be a deeper dive on what the terms mean. Be sure to check back, as we’ll be adding to this list as new terms are invented.

General blockchain terms

PoW – Proof of Work

PoS – Proof of Stake

DPoS – Delegated Proof of Stake

PoA – Proof of Authority

BFT – Byzantine Fault Tolerance

DAG – Directed Acyclic Graph

SC – Smart Contract

EVM – Ethereum Virtual Machine

ERC – Ethereum Request for Comments, it’s the preceding acronym for Ethereum based tokens like the ERC20 standard.

DAO – Decentralized Autonomous Organization

DAPP – Decentralized Application

SegWit – Segregated Witness

LN – Lightning Network

SoV – Store of value

MoE – Medium of Exchange

UoA – Unit of Account


CPU – Central Processing Unit

GPU – Graphics Processing Unit, often used in reference to video cards

ASIC – Application Specific Integrated Circuit

Financial terms

ETF/ETP – Exchange Traded Fund or Exchange Traded Product

OTC – Over the Counter

CEX – Centralized Exchange

DEX – Decentralized Exchange

PnD – Pump-and-Dump

ICO – Initial Coin Offering

ITO – Initial Token Offering

STO – Securities Token Offering

MCAP – Market Capitalization

FIAT – Conventional government issued currency, like the Pound Sterling, US Dollar or the Euro.

MEME culture

HODL – Meme that followed from a simple mistype of hold.

FOMO – Fear of Missing Out

BTFD – Buy The Fucking Dip

DYOR – Do Your Own Research

FUD – Fear Uncertainty Doubt

BUIDL – A misspelling of the word “build.” Often used when telling the world you’re “trying to buidl the future.”

Regulatory bodies

SEC – Securities and Exchange Commission

FTC – Federal Trade Commission

CFTC – Commodity Futures Trading Commission

FDIC – Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

DOJ – Department of Justice

Miscellaneous terms

SATS – Satoshis. A Satoshi is the smallest denomination of a Bitcoin, it’s a hundreth of a millionth, or 0.00000001 BTC.

Tx – Transaction

TxID – Transaction Identification

TPS – Transactions Per Second

ZK – Zero Knowledge

P2P – Peer to Peer

ALT – Alternative Cryptocurrency, often used as a prefix to Altcoin

WP – Whitepaper

2FA – Two Factor Authentication

DDoS – Distributed Denial of Service

IPFS – Interplanetary Files System

PKI – Public Key Infrastructure

NONCE – Number Used Only Once

HW – Hardware Wallet

Well there you have it, even if you’re still unclear on what some of these terms actually mean, at least you know what they stand for. Hopefully it’ll help keep your research on track.

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