The language we use to discuss blockchain and bitcoin is rife with acronyms, pseudonyms, and turns of phrase that can require a solid foundation and understanding of blockchain to comprehend. When what sounds like a utensil can be soft or hard and a scaling solution sounds like a 1950s courtroom scene (SEGWIT, anyone?), it is no wonder that many find entry to the world of cryptocurrencies a foreign and, at times, intimidating endeavor. A few key acronyms to learn (follow the link in the title for the answers): UASF, SF, HF, SEGWIT, LN, BU, MW, RBF, UTXO, and BC. Read More >>
BLOCK INTEL’S TAKE: We intend to build out “must know” vocabulary on our website, which those of you who are newer to the world of blockchain may find helpful as an introduction or as a reference guide. Here are a few others we think you should know in the meantime:
Sidechain: Extension to an existing blockchain that allows for new applications to link up with/function in tandem with an existing blockchain without altering the original blockchain’s code.
Wallets: A wallet is where you store your cryptographic keys that allow you to access your coins. There are software wallets (e.g. Coinbase) where you can use an app to make transactions. Hardware wallets (e.g. Trezor) allow you to download your keys onto a USB drive or something similar. The keys are both stored locally on a piece of hardware in your possession that also has security (e.g. a password) to ensure you are the only one who can access the keys inside. There is a third type called a paper wallet, where you literally print the keys out on a piece of paper and store them somewhere.
Cryptographic keys: You will have a public key and a private key, which are each a long string of letters and numbers. Like a safety deposit box, you need both keys to take something out. You use the public key to allow others to send coins in, so you’ll share this, but the private key is for you alone.
Exchanges: Exchanges are where you buy and sell bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and many other coins. They are not very well trusted, and several have gone out of business / been shut down over the years, taking any holdings people have with them down too. All exchanges have a wallet component, where you send your coins so that you can then exchange them for other coins. Most recommend you do not store your coins on an exchange for the long term, especially in larger amounts—once you get a coin you want you move it to a more trusted wallet.
Back to Basics: Understanding Blockchain in Under Two Minutes