Glossary of Blockchain Terms
We have released a Global Glossary of Blockchain Terms 2.0 that is now available in 6 languages.
Learn more about our Blockchain Certification here.
ABI (Application Binary Interface)
An interface between two binary program modules, often one program is a library and the other is being run by a user
Any cryptocurrency that exists as an alternative to bitcoin
Application programming interface (part of a remote server that sends requests and receives responses)
The first, and most popular, cryptocurrency based off the decentralized ledger of a blockchain
A mathematical structure for storing digital transactions (or data) in an immutable, peer-to-peer ledger that is incredibly difficult to fake and yet remains accessible to anyone.
Business logic layer
A part of code that determines the rules to be followed when doing business
Business network card
Provides necessary information for a user, entity or node to connect a blockchain business network
Consensus algorithm that combines proof of work and proof of stake. Ethereum is going to use casper as a transition to proof of stake.
CDN (Content Delivery Network)
Allows for a quick transition of assets needed to load internet content (html, js, css, etc.)
Maintained by a central, authoritative location or group
A program that initializes and manages a ledgers state through submitted applications. It is the Hyperledger Fabric equal to Smart Contracts
Representation of a digital asset built on a new blockchain
Hyperledger Fabric command line allowing for administrative tasks
Composer Rest Server
Generates a rest server and associated api from a deployed blockchain
When a majority of participants of a network agree on the validity of a transaction
Cryptographic Hash Function
A function that returns a unique fixed-length string. The returned string is unique for every unique input. Used to create a “digital ID” or “digital thumbprint” of an input string.
A decentralized autonomous organization is an organization that is run through rules encoded as computer programs called smart contracts.
A denial-of-service attack is a cyber-attack in which the perpetrator seeks to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users by temporarily or indefinitely disrupting services of a host connected to the Internet.
The concept of a shared network of dispersed computers (or nodes) that can process transactions without a centrally located, third-party intermediary.
Any text or media that is formatted into binary source
A mathematical scheme used for presenting the authenticity of digital assets
A database held and updated independently by each participant (or node) in a large network. The distribution is unique: records are not communicated to various nodes by a central authority,
Short for ‘enumeration’ - a fixed list of possible values. The list of US states could be considered an enum.
Externally Owned Account
Ethereum request for comments standard
Blockchain application that uses a built-in programming language that allows users to build decentralized ledgers modified to their own needs. Smart contracts are used to validate transactions in the ledger.
Alters the blockchain data in a public blockchain.
Measures how much work an action takes to perform in ethereum
The initial block within a blockchain.
A web based hosting service for version control using git
Golang (Google language)
Created by google in 2009 golang is a programming language based on c
A gossip protocol is a procedure or process of computer-computer communication that is based on the way social networks disseminate information or how epidemics spread. It is a communication protocol.
The administration in a blockchain company that decides the direction of the company
Alters the blockchain data in a public blockchain. Requires all nodes in a network to upgrade and agree on the new version.
A function that maps data of an arbitrary size
Started by the Linux Foundation, Hyperledger is an umbrella project of open source blockchains
Hyperledger Composer is Blockchain Application Development framework which simplify the blockchain application development on Hyperledger Fabric
Hyperledger project hosted by Linux which hosts smart contracts called chaincode
IDE (Integrated development Environment)
Application for sofware developers that primarily consists of a source code editor, build automation tool, and debugger
“unable to be changed” Data stored in a blockchain is unable to be changed.(not even by administrators)
Initial Coin Offering (ICO)
The form in which capital is raised to fund new cryptocurrency ventures. Modeled after an Initial public offereing (IPO). Funders of an ICO recieve tokens.
To provide an instance of or concrete evidence in support of (a theory, concept, claim, or the like).
A function, quantity, or property that remains unchanged when a specified transformation is applied.
Inter Planetary File System
A tree in which every leaf node is labelled with the hash of a data block and every non-leaf node is labelled with the cryptographic hash of the labels of its child nodes.
The act of validating Blockchain transactions. Requires computing power and electricity to solve “puzzles”. Mining rewards coins based on your computing power
A collection of miners who come together to share their processing power over a network and agree to split the rewards of a new block found within the pool.
Browser for installing and using Dapps
MSP (Membership Service Provider)
A Hyperledger Fabric blockchain network can be governed by one or more MSPs
A copy of the ledger operated by a user on the blockchain
A number only used once in a cryptographic communication (often includes a timestamp)
Nothing at Stake problem
This is caused by validator nodes approving all transactions on old and new software after a hard fork occurs
NPM (Node Package Manager)
Default package manager runtime environment node.js. NPM manages dependencies for an application
Open Authorization is a standard that is used by third party services to keep and distribute users information without exposing their password
Ommer (aka Uncle)
A block which has been completely mined but has not yet been added to the Blockchain.
A system for managing and implementing changes to a cryptocurrency blockchain
An agent that finds and verifies real-world occurrences and submits this information to a blockchain to be used by smart contracts.
A computer network that allows nodes to share resources.
P2P (Peer to Peer)
Denoting or relating to computer networks in which each computer can act as a server for the others, allowing shared access to files and peripherals without the need for a central server
PKI (Public Key Infrastructure)
A set of roles, policies, and procedures needed to create, manage, distribute, use, store, and revoke digital certificates and manage public-key encryption.
Pragma(s) or Pragma-line
Defines which compiler version the smart contract uses
Blockchain that can control who has access to it. Contrary to a public blockchain a Private Blockchain does not use consensus algorithms like POW or POS, instead they use a system known as byzantine fault tolerant(BFT). BFT is not a trustless system which makes a BFT system less secure.
Proof of Activity
Active Stakeholders who maintain a full node are rewarded
Proof of Burn
Miners send coins to an inactive address essentially burning them. The burns are then recorded on the blockchain and the user is rewarded.
Proof of Capacity
Plotting your hard drive (storing solutions on a hard drive before the mining begins). A hard drive with the fastest solution wins the block
Proof of elapsed time
Consensus algorithm in which nodes must wait for a randomly chosen time period and the first node to complete the time period is rewarded
Proof of Stake (POS)
A consensus algorithm that chooses the owner of a new block based on the wealth they have or (Stake). There is not a block reward so the forgers take the transaction fee.
Proof of Work (POW)
A consensus algorithm which requires a user to “mine” or solve a complex mathematical puzzle in order to verify a transaction. “Miners” are rewarded with Cryptocurrencies based on computational power.
Public key cryptography
Encryption that uses two mathematically related keys. A public and private key. It is impossible to derive the private key based on the public key.
REST API (representational state transfer API)
Defines restraints based on http
RPC (Remote Procedure Calls)
A protocol that is used from one program to request a service on another program located on a network
A software development kit provides the necessary tools for a developer to create software on a specific platform
Dividing a blockchain into several smaller component networks called shards capable of processing transactions in parallel.
Self executing contract with the terms of agreement written into the code
Solidity is a contract-oriented programming language for writing smart contracts. It is used for implementing smart contracts on various blockchain platforms.
Representation of a digital asset built on an existing blockchain
Turing Complete language
A language that is able to perform calculations that a computer is capable of
Free open source operating system and linux distribution
UTXO (Unspent Transaction Outputs)
Unspent transaction outputs are used to determine whether a transaction is valid
A programming language created to be a formal introduction to smart contracts
Stores the digital assets you own.
Zeppelin (or Open Zeppelin)
Community of like minded Smart Contract developers
A situation in which a majority of miners in the blockchain launch an attack on the rest of the nodes (or users). This kind of attack allows for double spendig