Ethereum glossary

Glossary of terms used with Ethereum.
Ethereum glossary

51% attack a type of attack on a blockchain in which an entity or multiple collaborative entities try to take over a network by obtaining more than half the mining power

account (aka address) an entity that can receive, hold, and send ether; can be owned either by a person with the private keys or by a smart contract

alt-coins any cryptocurrency that is like Bitcoin with just a few parameters tweaked; also used pejoratively to refer to any coin that is not Bitcoin, aka “shitcoin,” often by Bitcoin maximalists

asset anything that produces economic value

Bitcoin (uppercase) the first blockchain; the peer-to-peer electronic cash network that runs the software enabling the first cryptocurrency, bitcoin (lowercase), to be transferred without an intermediary

bitcoin (lowercase) the first cryptocurrency, the digital asset native to the Bitcoin network, with a supply of twenty-one million, giving it characteristics of digital gold

Bity a crypto exchange, based in Neuchatel, Switzerland, that helped form a Swiss legal entity so it could take payment from the DAO and helped the White Hat Group in its attempt to return the ETC from the DAO to DAO token holders

block explorer a website giving data on the transactions in a blockchain

blockchain a time-stamped, distributed, decentralized, historical ledger of all the transactions on a crypto network; copies of the ledger are held on a global network of computers; it acts as a golden copy of time-stamped transactions that can replace intermediaries normally tasked with executing the transactions

BTC the ticker for bitcoin

carbonvote a type of vote by blockchain that does not require the voter to send coins but instead records the number of coins inside the wallet from which the vote was sent; at the end, it tallies the number of coins in the wallets that sent to the yes address versus the number of coins in the wallets that sent to the no address

child DAO a new instance of the DAO created from coins sent from a parent DAO

client, software the piece of software, like a desktop app, that connects a user’s computer to a service; in the case of Ethereum, the software that helped individual users run or connect to the Ethereum network

CME an exchange for trading futures and options

coin another word for cryptocurrency or token

CoinMarketCap a popular cryptocurrency data site ranking coins by their market capitalization

cold storage the most secure way of storing one’s crypto, with the private keys held offline

consensus (lowercase) the desired state of a blockchain in which all nodes agree on the state of the ledger and on what transactions should be included in what order

Consensus (uppercase) the largest blockchain conference, held annually in New York City by crypto-focused publication CoinDesk

ConsenSys the Brooklyn-based Ethereum venture production studio founded by Joe Lubin, which created Ethereum infrastructure tools and tried to foster decentralized applications on Ethereum

Blockchain Technology Solutions | Ethereum Solutions | ConsenSys
Build next-generation apps, launch blockchain-based financial infrastructure, and access the decentralized web with ConsenSys’ Ethereum product suite.

cryptocurrency a digital asset produced by a blockchain that is highly fungible, divisible, and transportable and whose movements can be tracked, unless the chain has built-in privacy features

cryptoeconomics (aka tokenomics) the game theory that gives different actors in a crypto network the incentive to offer services on it that will keep the decentralized network alive without any company in the middle hiring employees and tasking them with specific responsibilities

curator, DAO the role that would determine whether or not an English-language proposal to the DAO matched the code submitted and, if the proposal were approved, check that the Ethereum address for receiving funds belonged to the contractor

cypherpunk a person or ethos advocating strong encryption and privacy-preserving technologies, often to evade government detection or surveillance or to push for sociopolitical change

DAO decentralized autonomous organization; an organization managed via votes on a blockchain

DAO, the the decentralized venture fund built by that aimed to have its token holders decide to which projects it would allocate its capital

dapp (decentralized application) any application built on a blockchain without an intermediary, such as a company in the center hiring for all the roles to provide all the services; it instead has built-in incentives, usually involving its native coin, to entice individuals and entities to offer those services on the network

Dark DAO (also see mini Dark DAOs) child DAO 59; the child DAO into which the DAO attacker siphoned 3.64 million ETH

Decentral the blockchain/decentralized application community center and coworking space in Toronto founded by Anthony Di Iorio

DevCon the annual Ethereum developer conference

difficulty a way of keeping a cryptocurrency mining algorithm competitive for miners such that miners will find blocks at a targeted average interval, such as ten minutes on bitcoin or twelve to fifteen seconds on Ethereum

DoS attack denial of service attack; a way of hobbling a company or blockchain by spamming it, or inundating it with more requests than it can handle

early contributors people who worked on Ethereum before the crowdsale

East Asia Pacific Ltd. a business entity Vitalik Buterin created in Switzerland to have freedom from Ming Chan; it was used to pay the researchers on his team

EEA Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, the industry organization promoting use of Ethereum in companies

EEA Home - Enterprise Ethereum Alliance
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EIP Ethereum Improvement Proposal, a technical suggestion for improving things related to the Ethereum network, such as the protocol, clients, or standards for specific types of contracts

ERC-20 token a token created using a standard for new tokens on Ethereum, so called because it was the twentieth issue posted on a discussion board called Ethereum Request for Comments

ETC the ticker for the ether classic price

ETH the ticker for the ether price

ETH Dev the German business entity (UG) created by Gavin Wood in Berlin; after the crowdsale, it hired the bulk of the developers building the protocol and C

Ethcore (also see Parity) the start-up Gavin Wood founded when he left the Ethereum Foundation, now called Parity

Ethereum Foundation (aka EF or Stiftung Ethereum) the Swiss-based nonprofit organization tasked with stewarding the development of the Ethereum protocol

The Ethereum Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the Ethereum blockchain and related technologies.

Ethereum GmbH The Swiss business entity first set up for Ethereum; even after the founders decided to go with a nonprofit structure, the entity held the crowdsale and then was liquidated after the network launch

Etherscan a popular “block explorer” or website offering data for the Ethereum blockchain

exchange a business that enables its customers to trade one asset for another, such as BTC for ETH

Extra Balance the extra people paid to the DAO for DAO tokens after the price increased from 1 ETH:100 DAO in the first half of the crowdsale to 1.05 to 1.5 ETH:100 DAO in the second half

fiat currency a type of money issued by a government by decree and not backed by anything such as gold

fiduciary members the group of Ethereum cofounders who would also be financially responsible

FUD fear, uncertainty, doubt. A slang term, often used to dismiss criticism of a cryptocurrency as invalid but sometimes used to describe fake criticism about a cryptocurrency stoked by fans of a rival coin

Game of Thrones Day the day Ethereum leadership removed Charles Hoskinson and Amir Chetrit

gas the fee paid to have transactions processed or computation executed on the Ethereum decentralized computer

Geth the Go Ethereum software client

GitHub a website for software development

GitHub: Where the world builds software
GitHub is where over 83 million developers shape the future of software, together. Contribute to the open source community, manage your Git repositories, review code like a pro, track bugs and feat...

GmbH the German version of an LLC (limited liability company)

GPU graphics processing unit; a type of computer chip from a gaming computer that is more powerful than a typical computer’s central processing unit, or CPU, making it a more efficient and profitable way to mine cryptocurrencies (though not the most efficient and profitable)

hard fork a non-backward-compatible software upgrade to a crypto network; usually refers to a “contentious” hard fork, in which one portion of the nodes on a crypto network make the upgrade and another portion of the nodes do not. This causes the nodes that upgrade to create a blockchain separate from the nodes running the original software, resulting in two cryptocurrencies with a shared history until the moment of the fork. (If the whole network simultaneously upgrades, which is a noncontentious hard fork, everyone stays on the same blockchain, and the hard fork will not result in a second chain and cryptocurrency.)

hash a string of numbers and letters of fixed length that results from running an encryption function on a piece of data so that even changing one punctuation mark in the data will result in a wildly different hash; used to uniquely identify things like blockchain transactions or addresses

hashrate a way to measure the amount of computing power and security on a blockchain, as well as the efficiency of any miner or piece of mining equipment; technically, the rate at which a blockchain miner can create new hashes per second or do the calculations necessary to win the cryptocurrency being minted by the software

holon a live-work space

hot wallet a wallet whose private keys are online, making it more vulnerable to hacking, phishing, and theft

Howey test the test used by the US Securities and Exchange Commission to determine whether an investment contract is a securities offering

Hyperledger an open-source community for enterprise blockchains hosted by the Linux Foundation

ICO initial coin offering; a crowdsale of new tokens, usually in exchange for cryptocurrency, to fund the development of a new blockchain and to distribute the tokens to a large population in order to seed the network with users incentivized to bring more people to the network and thereby see the value of their tokens increase

immutability the principle that blockchains should be immutable or unchangeable

KYC (know-your-customer) process identity-verification process to comply with financial regulations

Mailinator a service offering temporary, public, disposable, anonymous email addresses

Mailinator provides Email and SMS Workflow Testing for Developers, Dev Teams, and QA Testing. Automate testing for 2FA and password resets.

maximalist a person who believes only in one cryptocurrency; most commonly used to describe hardcore Bitcoiners (i.e., “Bitcoin maximalists”) but also occasionally used to describe diehard fans of other cryptocurrencies (e.g., “Ethereum maximalists”)

miner someone running cryptocurrency software, usually on specialized equipment, so as to win the new coins minted by the software, usually as a by-product of their participation, and simultaneously offering a benefit to the network, such as security

mini Dark DAOs the child DAOs into which copycats of the original DAO attacker siphoned their funds

mining attempting to win new cryptocurrency being minted on a blockchain, in a process that also results in the addition of new transactions to the ledger

mint to create new units of a crypto asset or currency

multisig a type of crypto wallet requiring some fraction of multiple possible signatures, such as ⅔ or ⅗, in order to execute transactions for enhanced security

MyEtherWallet (aka MEW) a website that enabled people to directly interact with the Ethereum blockchain with simple buttons but did not require them to turn over control of their coins to a company Your Key to Ethereum
Free, open-source, client-side Ethereum wallet. Enabling you to interact with the blockchain easily & securely.

Nakamoto, Satoshi the anonymous creator of Bitcoin

node a computer that helps run the software for a cryptocurrency or asset and usually maintains a copy of its blockchain

Parity the Rust-language Ethereum software client; also the company (originally called Ethcore) founded by Gavin Wood after he left the Ethereum Foundation, which created Ethereum-based software and products, such as a multisignature wallet, and later worked on its own blockchain, Polkadot

Blockchain Infrastructure for the Decentralised Web
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phish a type of hack in which the hacker gets the victim to give a password to the hacker

Polkadot the decentralized network that Gavin Wood/Parity proposed; its ICO raised $145 million, but shortly thereafter, $95 million was frozen

Polkadot Network
Polkadot empowers blockchain networks to work together under the protection of shared security.

Poloniex (aka Polo) the popular alt-coin cryptocurrency exchange that for a long time was the top venue for trading ETH

pre-mining the mining of a new coin before its release to the public so as to allocate some coins to the creators or early investors as a reward

private key the cryptographic string of numbers and letters that enables one to send cryptocurrency from a specific public address (the other half of the cryptographically connected “public/private key pair”)

protocol an established set of rules for the computers running a particular type of network; in Bitcoin, the rules processing Bitcoin transactions; in Ethereum, the rules for running decentralized applications

public key/address the cryptographic string of numbers and letters that function as an address where someone can receive funds as long as they have the matching private key (the other half of the cryptographically connected “public/private key pair”)

recursive call (aka re-entrancy attack) the type of attack used in the DAO that exploits a poor sequence of functions in the execution of a transaction, such as a withdrawal in which the attacker is able to start the withdrawal over and over again before the balance has been updated to reflect the previous withdrawal

replay attack a type of attack possible after a contentious hard fork without replay protection, in which someone unwittingly makes a transaction that causes them to send coins that they did not mean to send

replay protection a step taken to split two chains with a shared history up until a hard fork; it prevents a user from sending coins on both chains when they mean to send them on one, which occurs if the different assets are in addresses with the same identifiers

Reward Contract/reward a contract in the DAO that will pay someone leaving the DAO their future revenues from any investments they have made

Robin Hood Group (RHG) the group of White Hat hackers who rescued the remaining ETH in the DAO after an initial 3.64 million was drained from it

Securities and Exchange Commission federal agency that enforces securities laws and regulates exchanges

service providers (the DAO) contractors that the DAO would hire to create and sell products and services so as to return an investment to DAO token holders

ShapeShift a crypto-to-crypto exchange that did not hold customers’ coins and did not require customers to open accounts or identify themselves; for the trades, ShapeShift was always the counterparty, buying the asset the customer wanted to trade and selling back the asset he or she desired

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Silk Road the first online drug marketplace, made possible because of bitcoin, which enabled drug dealers to accept payment online without using the traditional banking system the start-up founded by Christoph and Simon Jentzsch and Stephan Tual that tried to fund itself by first creating a decentralized venture fund that could then grant it money

smart contract a software program, rather than a company or other intermediary, that executes the terms of an agreement between two transacting parties

soft fork a backward-compatible change in a cryptocurrency protocol; it only narrows what is possible, so nodes running the older software will still accept the new blocks as valid

Solidity a programming language for writing smart contracts

Spaceship the original Ethereum house in Baar, the town next to Zug

spoke (ConsenSys) a start-up housed under ConsenSys in which the employees are paid a salary by ConsenSys

Stiftung a foundation with a purpose that ensures its funds are used in accordance with that mission, overseen by a Swiss government agency

token specifically, a coin issued in ICOs, usually an ERC-20 token; the term can be interchangeable with cryptocurrency

transaction fees fees paid to cryptocurrency miners to process transactions; a higher fee results in a higher likelihood of a transaction being mined and also of it being mined quickly

two-factor authentication a way of securing an online account to a website by requiring two unrelated methods of identity verification, such as a password and a code sent via text message

The One Time Password (2FA)
I don’t use security I can’t understand myself. At the same time we need to be resilient on Cyber Security and so I took a principal look at Two Factor Authentication and the One Time Password in particular.

tx abbreviation for transaction

UG a type of German limited liability company with lower capital requirements

wallet a device or software program that keeps a user’s private keys safe, interacts with blockchains, and makes it possible for the user to view his or her balance and send and receive money

whale someone so wealthy in a particular cryptocurrency that their holdings could enable them to impact the market

Whitehat DAO the child DAO into which the Robin Hood and White Hat groups siphoned ETH so as to return it to DAO token holders

White Hat Group (WHG) the group of White Hat hackers who returned the ETH and ETC to DAO token holders after the hard fork

whitelist to place a person or thing on a list determined to be trustworthy

white paper, the Ethereum white paper, written by Vitalek Buterin, was the guide that informed the readers concisely about the philosophy of Ethereum:

Ethereum Whitepaper |
An introductory paper to Ethereum, published in 2013 before its launch.

yellow paper the Ethereum paper, written by Gavin Wood, outlining how Ethereum would work on a technical level:

Ethereum timeline
Short timeline to keep track of Ethereum timeline. From 2011 to 2018.