If you haven’t read part one of Breaking Down the Block in Blockchain, I encourage you to get up to speed before diving into the slightly more advanced world of crypto terminology in Part Two, which will explain nine more terms you should know if you suddenly find yourself in a crowd full of blockchain enthusiasts.
Because the 2M apps in the App Store just aren’t enough. Enter dApps.
dApps (decentralized applications) refer to the applications built on a blockchain network that can hold a limitless number of participants. dApps are open sourced, decentralized, incentivized and show proof of value. Bitcoin, in fact, is the first dApp to launch. Right now, there are more than 1K dApps on the Ethereum network.
Self-running organizations: We don’t need no man.
DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) are organizations that run autonomously on smart contracts and abide by the rules set by a decentralized consensus. This means the organization makes all decisions electronically, through written code or by a vote of its members. Many cryptocurrencies that use public blockchains are DAOs.
- Smart Contracts
A transactional lawyer’s best friend.
Smart contracts help exchange anything of value (money, property, or shares) in a fast, easy, and secure way. Smart contracts are programmed and stored on the blockchain with all of the terms set in an agreement between two or more people. When conditions in the contract are met, the smart contract automatically executes the action(s) required.
- Private Key
Like the key to your mailbox.
Cryptocurrency participants are given both a public address and a private key to send and receive tokens. The public address is where tokens are deposited, and the private key is what enables users to withdraw the tokens from the blockchain. A private key is especially hard to steal because it is made up of 51 unique alphanumeric characters.
- Public Address
And the actual mailbox.
A public address is a long string of alphanumeric characters that represent the location from which you can receive, send or hold your digital currency.
- Cryptocurrency Wallet
The one wallet you won’t lose and later find in the fridge next to last night’s chicken dinner.
A cryptocurrency wallet stores the private key of a user. It enables the user to send and receive digital currency and monitor transactions and balances.
When Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency on the A-list and everyone else is on the B-list.
An altcoin is the name given to any digital currency that is not Bitcoin.
- Block Height
It’s not about how tall a block is, but how long the chain is.
The height of a block is the number of blocks that separate the chain from the genesis block.
Like a constitutional amendment, but for blockchain. Since public blockchains are open source, anyone can copy the chain and change them. When this occurs, sometimes new cryptocurrencies are created. BTC Cash or Bcash was the result of a fork.