Bitcoin Vocabulary

traditional Bitcoin logo

Bitcoin (₿) is a cryptocurrency invented in 2008 by person or persons unknown but using the name Satoshi Nakamoto. The first use of Bitcoin was in 2009 when it was released as open-source software.

Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency, without a central bank or country controlling it, that one person can send direct to another person through the bitcoin network (on internet) without a bank as intermediary. Transactions are verified through cryptography and recorded on a blockchain - a kind of digital public ledger. Bitcoins can be exchanged for services, products and other currencies.

The EnglishClub Wordchecker below shows word, part of speech, definition and example sentence for common vocabulary related to Bitcoin.

address (noun): A bitcoin address is a string of letters and numbers that bitcoins can be sent to and from. If you want someone to pay you with bitcoin, a bitcoin address may be the only information you need to provide. - You can send payment to my bitcoin address 3J78t1WpEY73CNmQviecrnyiWrnqRhWNLy.

attack surface (noun): In computer security, an attack surface is all the points where an unauthorised user (the "attacker") could try to access the system. - In designing this program we were careful to keep the attack surface as small as possible.

(symbol): capital letter B with two vertical strokes, representing the bitcoin unit (similar to $ for dollar or ¥ for yen) - Some analysts predict that ₿1 will be worth $500,000 by the year 2030.

bitcoin, Bitcoin (uncountable noun): a cryptocurrency invented in 2008. Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency, without a central bank or country controlling it, that one person can send direct to another person through the bitcoin network (on internet) without a bank as intermediary. The word bitcoin is sometimes capitalized as Bitcoin, but there is no broad agreement on this.- I like to use a big B when writing about the Bitcoin system as a whole and a small b when writing about the currency units, as in "I sent five bitcoins today."

bitcoin (countable noun): a unit of bitcoin, often abbreviated as BTC or ₿. See also BTC - How many bitcoins are there in the whole world?

bitcoiner (noun): a person who uses bitcoin; a bitcoin miner - He's been a bitcoiner since the early days and has made a small fortune.

bit (noun): A sub-unit of the bitcoin. There are one million (1,000,000) bits in one bitcoin. See also satoshi - So for example instead of saying that this beer costs 0.00055 bitcoins we could say it costs 550 bits.

blockchain (noun): The public record of every Bitcoin transaction that has ever occurred, in chronological order. - Let's can take a look at the blockchain and see what's really going on.

block: A single record in the blockchain that contains all the transactions over a short period of time. A new block is added to the blockchain about every 10 minutes. - If we think of the blockchain as a ledger book, a block is like a single page from that book.

BTC (abbreviation): derived from BiTCoin, representing the bitcoin unit (similar to USD for US Dollar or EUR for Euro) - Some analysts predict that 1 BTC will be worth 500,000 USD by the year 2030.

cold storage (noun): storage of bitcoin private keys in any way that is not connected to the internet. Examples of cold storage are USB drives, offline computers and real paper. - Cold storage is more like a deposit account in a bank, and hot storage is like a checking account.

cold wallet (noun): bitcoin wallet in cold storage - I keep most of my bitcoin in my cold wallet - it's safer.

confirmation (noun): a bitcoin transaction is not confirmed until it has been included in a block on the blockchain, which earns it one confirmation. Each additional block is a further confirmation. For low value amounts, one confirmation may be considered secure, while higher value amounts may require three or more confirmations to be considered final. - This is a pretty big order. How many confirmations do you think we should wait for before delivering the products?

cryptocurrency (noun): a digital currency that uses a decentralized system of cryptography instead of a centralized authority such as a central bank to provide security and verify transactions. Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency. - As Bitcoin gains in popularity, reputable companies are starting to accept the cryptocurrency.

cryptography (noun): In terms of Bitcoin, cryptography is the use of "secret" mathematical codes to secure information. These codes are used to maintain wallets, sign transactions and verify the blockchain. - I always thought that cryptography was a science, but my dictionary defines it as an art - "the art of writing and solving codes".

decentralized (adjective): not controlled by one (central) authority - Bitcoin is a decentralized network with no government, company or individual in charge of it.

distributed (adjective): shared, spread out. A distributed network has no central server that users must connect to. - Bitcoin is a distributed network.

double spend (noun/verb): trying to send the same bitcoins to two different recipients at the same time - The blockchain makes it impossible for bad actors to double spend.

encryption (noun): conversion of information and data into a "secret" code such that only the authorized people can read it. - Bitcoin uses a high level of encryption to protect wallets from unauthorized access. 

hash (noun): a complex mathematical function used in (blockchain) blocks to help keep the bitcoin network secure; also a unique identifier of a bitcoin transaction - How many hashes does it take to create one bitcoin?

hashrate, hash rate (noun): unit of measure of the processing power of the bitcoin network (measured in hashes per second or H/s) - If the network has a hashrate of 10 TH/s, it can make 10 trillion calculations per second.

hot storage (noun): storage of Bitcoin private keys in a way that is connected to the internet. - Hot storage is generally less secure than cold storage.

hot wallet (noun): bitcoin wallet in hot storage - The majority of wallets downloaded to phones are hot wallets.

ledger (noun): a physical or electronic log book of (financial) transactions. - The bitcoin blockchain is the world's first distributed, decentralized public ledger.

mining (noun): mining is the process of using computers to make fast, highly complex mathematical calculations for the bitcoin network to confirm each transaction. - Part of the mining process involves adding the transaction/calculation to the bitcoin blockchain.

miner (noun): person or computer responsible for mining. Miners collect transaction fees for their services. - A friend of mine who works as a bitcoin miner says it's not as easy as it sounds.

node (noun): a server or computer connected to the bitcoin network and running the bitcoin software. - Nodes keep copies of the bitcoin blockchain and relay new transactions to other nodes.

open source (adjective): software that is freely distributed with publicly-available code is called open source. - Bitcoin is an open source project and is sometimes called open source money.

paper wallet (noun): a kind of cold storage wallet where private keys are printed on paper - Some people believe that a paper wallet is the most secure way to keep bitcoins safe from cyber-attacks, malware and so on.

peer-to-peer, P2P (adjective): describing a network where users connect directly with each other instead of through a centralized server - Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer network.

private key (also secret key): a randomly-generated, secret string of letters and numbers that allows a bitcoin owner to spend bitcoins from a bitcoin wallet. - A public key is available to everyone but a private key is confidential and shared only with its owner.

proof-of-work, PoW (noun): the algorithm that secures bitcoin and makes double-spending virtually impossible - It's really the PoW that creates trust and gives everyone confidence in each new block added to the bitcoin blockchain.

protocol (noun): an established set of rules that say how data is transmitted between different devices on a network. - The Bitcoin protocol defines how transactions take place from creation, through validation to final confirmation; how nodes connect with each other; how many bitcoins can exist at any point in time; and other aspects of the network.

public key (noun): a string of letters and numbers derived from a private key that allows people to receive bitcoins. See also private key - If you lose your public key, at least you can recreate it using your private key.

QR code (noun): similar to a barcode, a bitcoin QR code is a digital version of a private or public key that can be scanned by cameras, phones etc. - A bitcoin QR code is permanent and will always connect you provided you can scan it with a smartphone.

satoshi (noun): smallest divisible unit of a bitcoin. There are 100 million satoshis in one bitcoin. 1 satoshi = 0.0000001 BTC (8 decimal places). See also bit - According to The Times newspaper, the Saw Mill Café in east London accepts satoshis.

Satoshi Nakamoto (proper noun): the name used by the (presumed) pseudonymous person or group that created bitcoin - The true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto is the topic of much discussion.

SHA-256: the cryptographic hash function used in the mining process that secures bitcoin transactions - The Bitcoin protocol uses the SHA256 function for this.

signature (noun): segment of a bitcoin transaction that proves it is approved by the owner of the related private key - How do I verify my bitcoin signature?

transaction (noun): an entry in the bitcoin blockchain that records a transfer of bitcoins from one address to another - How long does a bitcoin transaction take?

transaction fee: an amount (in bitcoin) included with each transaction and collected by the miner. Also known as a miner's fee - Do you know the average transaction fee for bitcoin at the moment?

wallet (noun): a bitcoin wallet is a collection of bitcoin private keys that can be used to spend bitcoins - Many bitcoin wallets can also be used for litecoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies.

Reference and further reading

Further viewing

Contributor: Josef Essberger

2021