Crypto Lingo: The Complete Beginners Guide


There are certain things in this life that I have accepted that I will never understand.

First things first, does anyone honestly know what “cookies” are? (The computer guy, obviously the bakery version is pretty self explanatory, and it’s far superior.) For the last 10 years of my existence, whether browsing a suspicious or credible website, I have been “accepting cookies”. What are cookies, how are they enabled, are they hacking me, are they stealing my identity, etc…

Another thing I’ll never understand is the toe ring. The thought of jewelry on my toes makes me nauseous.

Unidirectional mirrors. How is one side mirrored and the other transparent? Witchcraft I don’t mind investigating.

Call people on the phone. I thought I had a pretty good grasp of the concept of a phone call until I sat down with my coffee and thought about it for over 10 seconds. I have no idea how this works. Fax machines are equally puzzling.

Space. Next. I don’t want to think about this.

DVD How does that little disk have Shrek in it? Where is the?

And of course the star of today’s show and my constant nightmare to investigate, cryptocurrency. But just because I’ve accepted that I’ll never understand crypto doesn’t mean you should accept the same fate. (Or even if against my will I end up understanding it, I’ll pretend I don’t to maintain my reputation. English literature students shouldn’t engage in such futuristic debauchery.)

I thought it was time to make a little crypto dictionary so that my lazy future self can send you here for definitions I don’t feel like typing again…


Investing in cryptocurrencies requires an interest in video games, a penchant for basements, an appetite for risk, and a whole new vocabulary. (The video game and the basement part are hilarious, kind of.)

Here is the beginner’s guide to popular crypto lingo.


one. Bitcoin
If you haven’t heard of bitcoin, you probably don’t own a phone, a computer, or a TV, in which case you wouldn’t be reading this anyway. To distill it for those of us who recognize the word Bitcoin in the same vein as we have heard of “cookies”, i.e. we have no idea what it is… Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency created in 2009 by an unknown person (or people) using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. (I made this list alphabetically, scroll down for more on “Satoshi Nakamoto”).

Unlike traditional currencies like the US dollar, Bitcoin is not controlled by a bank or government. Bitcoin is widely considered to be the most valuable and popular cryptocurrency in use today.

two. block chain
Blockchain is the key technology that underpins most cryptocurrencies (such as the nightmares of Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ethereal, and the like), NFTs (more on this later), and other unique digital items. Technology allows digital information to be distributed, but not copied. That is, each individual piece of data can only have one owner.

Blockchain can be used to store all kinds of information, but until now, its most common use is to record cryptocurrency transactions. Once a transaction is made, it is entered into this public ledger, which is managed by a global peer-to-peer network.

Blockchain is central to cryptocurrency’s appeal: as a decentralized database, it can’t be controlled by a single person or group (rah-rah, power to the people, all that good stuff). This is different from a fiat currency like the US dollar, which is managed by a central bank.

Read “Blockchain to Ethereum to NFT: The Creation Story We Never Wanted

3. Buy the damn dip (BTFD)
Enter financial bros and douchebags alike. This is a rallying cry for crypto bulls urging investors to buy coins when prices drop.

Four. base of coins
The leading cryptocurrency exchange platform. The company went public in April, an event many saw as a turning point in the history of cryptocurrencies’ journey to the mainstream.

Read “How to buy cryptocurrencies. (In Canada). (Hey).” for more information on crypto exchanges.

5. cryptocurrency
The woman of the moment! Cryptocurrency is a fully digital money system made up of “coins” or “tokens” that are controlled by a decentralized ledger. (I feel like I did really well with this one, very succinct.)

6. doecoin
As with all nonsense on the internet, this was 100 steps too far. Dogecoin started as a joke based on the “doge” memes in 2013 and became a huge sleeper hit in the crypto industry. Dogecoin is unlikely to stand the test of time, but it hardly matters. Elon Musk is currently pushing Dogecoin’s price with Twitter, and everything he says tends to push the price of the coin up or down. My wildly unsolicited advice: stay away with a 10 foot pole. On the other hand, I hate cryptocurrencies.

7. Elon Musk
The boxy-headed CEO of Tesla whose tweets have been known to spark rallies in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and dogecoin.

For more unsolicited opinions on the richest man in the world…

Read “only multimillion dollar things
Read “Elon Musk’s Space Capitalism: Reason 1 out of 1000 why I can’t sleep at night
Read “Reality check, Elon Musk is not our Lord or Savior

8. Ethereal
An open source blockchain-based software that controls the Ether cryptocurrency.

9. FUD
In crypto jargon, because using full words is apparently too tiring for tech folks, FUD is an acronym for “fear, uncertainty, doubt.” It is commonly used in the cryptocurrency community to describe negative information about a blockchain-based currency or asset. Wikipedia calls it a “propaganda tacticBut that felt dramatic.

Used in a sentence: “Dude, stop spreading FUD about dogecoin.”

10 HODL
Depending on who you ask, it’s either a typo that got stuck, or it’s shorthand for “wait for your life.” Bitcoin bulls often tweet “HODL” in reaction to FUD. And we see the beauty of the English language disintegrate before our eyes…

The old tradition of typographical errors dates back to a post from 2013 on the bitcointalk forum titled, “I’M HODLING”. In it, a seemingly drunken bitcoin investor ranted about holding on to the crypto even as it fell sharply. Memes were created and the term became shorthand for an investment strategy.

eleven Mining
I didn’t think the concept of mining could be more mind-numbing than my grade 7 field trip to the Britannia Mine Museum, where we were forced to learn about the gold rush. Turns out I was wrong.

Cryptocurrency mining is the complicated process by which new “coins” are put into circulation. Mining is not for amateur enthusiasts: it requires high-powered computers to solve complex mathematical puzzles to create a new “block” on the blockchain. (Something exciting!!)

The mining process consumes a lot of computing power and electricity, which has raised concerns about the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies.

12 NFT
Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs, are pieces of digital content linked to the Ethereum blockchain. “Non-fungible” essentially means one of a kind, something that cannot be replaced, unlike, say, a dollar bill that can be replaced with any other dollar bill. In the simplest terms, NFTs transform digital artworks and other collectibles into unique and verifiable assets.

Read “What is an NFT and can someone make it go away?

13 Satoshi Nakamoto
The pseudonym that refers to the person (or people) who invented bitcoin. His true identity remains unknown.

An extremely reliable website titled “cryptopotato.com” explains that in 2008 the anonymous “Satoshi” published an article titled: Bitcoin: “A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” The Bitcoin whitepaper explains the problem with centralized electronic payment systems, such as banks and financial institutions, and also proposes how a tamper-proof decentralized peer-to-peer protocol solves the problem.

14 Satoshis, also known as “Sats”
The smallest unit of bitcoin ever recorded on the blockchain, equal to one millionth of a bitcoin. I don’t really understand this either. Investopedia explains it here.

fifteen. Purse
Like the physical thing where you carry your cash and cards, but a much less cute digital version where you store your digital currency. The main thing to know about wallets is that you should never, ever lose or forget your password.


Until next week.