Unless stated othewise, all definitions have come from Wikipedia.
Alternative Currency (or Altcoin) – see Cryptocurrency.
Ascending Triangle – A bullish formation that usually forms during an uptrend as a continuation pattern. There are instances when ascending triangles form as reversal patterns at the end of a downtrend, but they are typically continuation patterns. (h/t Stockcharts)
Asymetric Key Algorythm (also Asymetric Cryptography – any cryptographic system that uses pairs of keys: public keys which may be disseminated widely, and private keys which are known only to the owner. This accomplishes two functions: authentication, which is when the public key is used to verify that a holder of the paired private key sent the message, and encryption, whereby only the holder of the paired private key can decrypt the message encrypted with the public key.
Bitcoin – a worldwide cryptocurrency and digital payment system called the first decentralized digital currency, since the system works without a central repository or single administrator. It was invented by an unknown programmer, or a group of programmers, under the name Satoshi Nakamoto and released as open-source software in 2009. The system is peer-to-peer, and transactions take place between users directly, without an intermediary. These transactions are verified by network nodes and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain.
Blockchain – a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Each block contains typically a hash pointer as a link to a previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data. A blockchain is “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.” For use as a distributed ledger a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which needs a collusion of the network majority.
Buy Order – A buy order is established when an investor approaches an exchange and wants to purchase cryptocurrency. These can range from very simple orders (“I want to spend x amount of dollars on Bitcoins”) to complex ones that include factors such as time frame in which the order should be filled, range of price, and so forth. Most exchanges allow for these to be entered online, but some investors prefer to go over the details directly with an exchange representative. Buy orders don’t necessarily guarantee your purchase; if your price is too low, for example, the offer may expire without being filled unless you make adjustments. (h/t CoinPursuit.com)
Candlestick Chart – a style of financial chart used to describe price movements of a security, derivative, or currency. Each “candlestick” typically shows one day; so for example a one-month chart may show the 20 trading days as 20 “candlesticks”.
Confirmation – When a block of transaction information is successfully processed, or mined, all the transactions within that data block are considered confirmed, or validated. Depending on the type of cryptocurrency, the confirmation time for transactions can vary anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes; longer validation times—though considered a small inconvenience to those making transactions—are generally considered to be more secure, since a “closer look” is being given to the data as it is mined.
Since all data blocks are linked together in what is called a data chain, re-confirmation takes place for several blocks after the one containing the original transaction data. For each block that is mined, past the block containing the original data, another level, or generation, of confirmation is considered to have taken place. For example, let’s say Transaction X’s information is contained within Data Block 1 (we are heavily oversimplifying for this example). When the mining of Data Block 1 is completed, that’s one generation of confirmation for Transaction X; after Data Block 2 is mined, Transaction X has two levels of confirmation, and so forth. For most intents and purposes, a transaction is considered “official” after one level of confirmation; however, some exchanges and merchants will wait until several levels of confirmation have taken place before the funds related to the transaction are unfrozen. This practice helps guard against double-spending of digital currency, or using the same currency for more than one transaction. (h/t CoinPursuit.com)
Cryptocurrency – a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency. Cryptocurrencies are classified as a subset of digital currencies and are also classified as a subset of alternative currencies and virtual currencies.
Decentralized – not issued or controlled by a centralized authority, such as a central bank or government.
Demuarrage – a naval term for a charge levied to a ship for sitting in port. In the cryptocurrency world, the term is used for a charge for leaving cryptocurrencies sitting on an exchange without actively trading.
Descending Triangle – a pattern observed in technical analysis. It is the bearish counterpart of the bullish ascending triangle pattern. The trendline connecting peak price levels should be downward sloping toward the horizontal trendline connecting the low price levels. (h/t InvestingAnswers.com)
Exchanges – businesses that allow customers to trade digital currencies for other assets, such as conventional fiat money, or different digital currencies.
Fiat Currency – currency that a government has declared to be legal tender, but it is not backed by a physical commodity. The value of fiat money is derived from the relationship between supply and demand rather than the value of the material that the money is made of. (h/t Investopedia.com)
Fill or Kill – a simple type of buy order made with a cryptocurrency exchange. The investor dictates how much currency they want, and at what price, and establishes a cutoff date for the order. The exchange will then do their best to fill the order according to those criteria. If the exchange hasn’t found an appropriate match for the order by the cutoff date, the order is canceled and left unfilled. In other words, fill this order according to these guidelines and within this time frame. If you can’t, kill it. (h/t CoinPursuit.com)
Hybrid Wallet – a type of cryptocurency wallet that is a hybrid of an online wallet and a software wallet. The private keys are stored offline, while everything else is stored online.
Offline Storage (also known as Cold Storage) – the storage of cryptocurrency offline, or away from Internet access. This is usually accomplished with a Paper Wallet or a Hardware Wallet.
Paper Wallet – a document that contains copies of the public and private keys that make up a wallet. Often it will have QR codes, so that you can quickly scan them and add the keys into a software wallet to make a transaction.
The benefit of a paper wallet is that the keys are not stored digitally anywhere, and are therefore not subject to cyber-attacks or hardware failures.
The disadvantage of a paper wallet is that paper and ink can degrade, and paper is relatively fragile – it’s definitely worth keeping well away from fire and water for obvious reasons.
Furthermore, if you lose a paper wallet, you’ll never be able to access the bitcoins sent to its address. (h/t CoinDesk)
Peer-to-Peer – the exchange or sharing of information, data, or assets between parties without the involvement of a central authority. Peer-to-peer, or P2P, takes a decentralized approach to interactions between individuals and groups. (h/t Investopedia.com)
Private Key – a unique identifier code is issued to investors to be used as a digital signature during transactions. Compared to public keys—which are openly listed in the directories of many cryptocurrency exchanges—private keys are to be just that: closely guarded and not given out. Your private key is what you use when you receive a transfer—from an investor who encrypts it with your public key—to “sign” your approval of the transaction. Private keys should be treated just as you would your credit card or Social Security numbers. (h/t CoinPursuit.com)
Public Key – a unique encrypted code issued to an investor. When they want to make a transaction with their cryptocurrency, they give their public key out—many cryptocurrency exchanges have a directory of these for their investors—so the transfer can be made. The public key is a way to positively identify someone making a transaction, even though their actual name or personal information is not embedded in the key itself. Contrast this with a private key—which is not publicly known, and should be closely guarded—which is used to accept and validate a transaction. (h/t CoinPursuit.com)
Pump and Dump – the fraudulent practice of encouraging a group or large investor to purchase an altcoin for the sole purpose of artifically inflating the price, and then selling off while the price is high.
Satoshi – the smallest fraction of a Bitcoin that can currently recorded on the blockchain: 0.00000001 BTC (a hundredth of a millionth BTC).
Sell Order – This takes place when an investor approaches an exchange with the intent to sell some or all of their cryptocurrency investment. Sometimes sell orders are simple and straight to the point (“Just sell what I have at the best price you can find”), or the investor can set criteria that have to be met before the sale can be made. This can include, price, time frame, percentage of holdings being sold, and so forth. Most exchanges have sell order forms that can be filled out, but if investors have specific questions or concerns, they can talk directly to an exchange representative before activating their order. (h/t CoinPursuit.com)
Software Wallet – a digital wallet in the form of software, usually stored on your computer, laptop or smartphone.
Stop-Loss Order – a sell order that specifies the price at which the currency should be sold. Typically used in advance ot prevent huge losses in the event of a crash of that altcoin.
Symetrical Triangle – a chart pattern used in technical analysis that is easily recognized by the distinct shape created by two converging trendlines. (h/t Investopedia.com)
Trading Walls – Generally speaking, the trend line on a chart (such as those offered by digital currency exchanges) will move more or less diagonally as trades are made. However, once in a while there is a buy or sell order that comes in which will make the trend line move directly up and down, creating a vertical line that resembles a wall. These “walls” represent a temporary high demand in interest, either in buying or selling a certain type of digital currency. If a wall is created by a large buy order, it’s called a “buy wall,” and if it represents a sizable sell order, it’s called a “sell wall.” Generically speaking, these walls are called “trading walls” or “bid walls.” Once the orders have been filled—or are ignored by the market in general—the wall disappears, and the diagonal trend line continues. (h/t CoinPursuit.com)
Wallet – a place to keep your digital currency. There are four main types of cryptocurrency wallets: Software Wallet, Mobile Wallet, Web Wallet, and Paper Wallet.