Web3 and Metaverse Glossary of Terms
In this resource, you will find definitions and explanations for a variety of terms related to the decentralized web and the immersive, virtual worlds known as the metaverse. Web3 is the next iteration of the internet, leveraging blockchain technology and open-source applications to decentralize data and return control to users. The metaverse is a virtual space where users can interact, create, and explore in a shared, digital world. Both Web3 and the metaverse have the potential to revolutionize the way we use and experience the internet, and this glossary aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of these exciting technologies.
Airdrop: a marketing technique where a cryptocurrency project sends tokens directly to the wallets of its users to increase awareness and adoption
Alpha: valuable or insider information about the value of digital assets such as cryptocurrencies and NFTs; a measure of the return on an investment above the return offered by the market or other benchmark
Altcoin: a cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin; may refer to any new cryptocurrency with a small market cap
Alts: short for altcoins
Ape: someone who invests heavily in a cryptocurrency or stock, or the act of doing so; this term is generally self-assigned and does not carry a negative connotation
ATH (All Time High): the highest price an asset has ever had
ATL (All Time Low): the lowest price an asset has ever had
Augmented Reality: A technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, allowing the user to see both virtual and “real world” objects. Similar to Mixed Reality.
Avatar: a digital character that represents a person in a computer-generated world, like the metaverse; can be static or interactive and act as an extension of the user
Bear Market: a prolonged period of decline in a financial market
Bearish: holding a pessimistic view of a market or asset’s value; believing that the value will decrease over time
Bitcoin: the first decentralized, peer-to-peer digital currency, created in 2009
Block: a batch of transactions written to the blockchain; every block contains information about the previous block, linking them together
Blockchain: a publicly-accessible digital ledger used to store and transfer information without the need for a central authority; the core technology behind protocols such as Bitcoin and Ethereum
Block Explorer: a tool for viewing information on a blockchain, such as transactions, wallet addresses, market caps, and hash rates
Bridge: a protocol allowing separate blockchains to interact with each other, enabling the transfer of data, tokens, and other information between systems
Buidl: a common misspelling of “build” used in the cryptocurrency community in reference to the term HODL
Bull Market: a period where market prices are rising
Bullish: holding an optimistic view that a market or asset will rise in price; believing that the value will continue to increase over time
Burn: the process of removing tokens from a cryptocurrency’s circulating supply, usually by sending them to an inaccessible wallet address; other digital assets such as NFTs can also be burned through this process
Centralized: a hierarchical structure where authority and control are concentrated within a small group of decision makers.
Centralized servers: Centralized network architecture harnesses the power of one server to manage all heavy processing tasks. Workstations then utilize this central hub for applications, data storage and utilities that would otherwise require more computing power.
CEX (Centralized Exchange): a cryptocurrency exchange managed by a centralized business or entity (e.g. Coinbase, Gemini, Kraken)
CeFi (Centralized Finance): centralized businesses that participate in cryptocurrency (e.g. BlockFi, DCG, Grayscale)
Coin: a cryptocurrency built on its own native blockchain, intended to be used as a store of value or for transactions
Cold Storage: the practice of storing cryptocurrency offline in a secure location, such as a hardware wallet or paper wallet, to prevent hacking or theft
Consensus: a general agreement among the participants in a blockchain network on the state of the network’s shared data.
Cryptocurrency: A digital currency or decentralized system of exchange that uses advanced cryptography for security.
DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization): a decentralized organization that operates through smart contracts on a blockchain
DAO Attack: an attack on a DAO in which an attacker seeks to gain control or steal funds from the organization
DApp (Decentralized Application): a decentralized application that runs on a blockchain and is open source
Deepfake:Generally refers to videos in which the face and/or voice of a person, usually a public figure, has been manipulated using artificial intelligence software in a way that makes the altered video look authentic.
DEX (Decentralized Exchange): a cryptocurrency exchange that operates on a decentralized network and allows users to retain control of their private keys.
Digital Twins: Digital twins provide an innovative way to replicate the physical world through virtual models. By simulating real-life objects, processes and people in a digital environment, we can optimize performance and gain invaluable insights into complex systems.
DYOR (Do Your Own Research): a reminder to thoroughly research a cryptocurrency or investment before making a decision
EIP (Ethereum Improvement Proposal): a standard format for presenting a new feature or process to the Ethereum community
ERC (Ethereum Request for Comments): the standard smart contract outline on which Ethereum-based smart contracts are built
ERC-20: the Ethereum token standard for standardized smart contract structures for fungible tokens
ERC-721: an Ethereum token standard for unique tokens, also known as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which have specific properties that allow each to be uniquely identified and valued independently
ERC-1155: an Ethereum token standard which allows for the management of fungible, non-fungible, and semi-fungible tokens by a single smart contract simultaneously; commonly used in gaming and collectible trading to reduce the number of necessary transactions
Ethereum: a public blockchain that serves as the foundation for decentralized applications and allows users to write and deploy complex, self-executing smart contracts
Few: short for “Few understand”; a rallying cry that cryptocurrency enthusiasts are still early in this space and will make a lot of money when mass adoption occurs
Fiat: a currency established as legal tender, often backed and regulated by a government (e.g. US Dollar)
Flippening: a reference to the possibility of Ethereum becoming more valuable than Bitcoin in terms of market cap
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out): a feeling of anxiety caused by missing out on an opportunity; in investing, this often means buying an asset after it has already seen a significant increase in price, hoping to get in and out before a pullback occurs
Fork: a change to a blockchain’s protocol; minor changes result in a soft fork, while more fundamental changes may result in a hard fork, leading to the formation of a separate chain with different rules
Fractionalize: the process of dividing an NFT into smaller parts and issuing them as fungible tokens through a smart contract; this lowers the price of ownership and allows digital assets to be owned by a community
FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt): news about an asset that seems negative but is false or exaggerated
Full Node: a blockchain node that stores the complete history of the blockchain, verifies and relays transactions
Fungible: interchangeable; able to be exchanged with something else of the same kind
Gas: a fee paid by a user to conduct a transaction or execute a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain, based on the transaction’s complexity and the demand on the network
Genesis Block: the very first block of a blockchain network
GMI: short for “gonna make it”; frequently used on Twitter to voice support for a project or person
Gwei: a denomination of ether used as the unit of measure for Ethereum gas prices; 1 Gwei is equal to 1 billion wei
Hard Fork: a fundamental change to a blockchain that is not compatible with the existing protocol, requiring the creation of a new chain (e.g. Bitcoin vs. Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum vs. Ethereum Classic)
Hashing: the process of taking an input of any size and producing a corresponding fingerprint of a fixed length; used to secure, store, and recall data using a unique identifier code, and essential to blockchain technology
Hardware Wallet: a physical device used to store and secure cryptocurrency offline
Hash: the output of a hashing function, used to secure and verify data
Hash Rate: the speed at which a device can complete a hash function; the higher the hash rate, the more powerful the device
HODL: a misspelling of “hold” that became popular within the cryptocurrency community to refer to holding onto an asset for a long-term
Holding the bag: the position of owning an asset that quickly drops in value but is not sold; those in this position are referred to as “bagholders”
ICO (Initial Coin Offering): the sale of tokens to the public to raise capital for a cryptocurrency-based project, similar to a traditional company’s IPO
IEO (Initial Exchange Offering): a method of selling tokens to raise capital, similar to an ICO, but with increased regulation; an IEO is managed by a cryptocurrency exchange and seeks to make the ICO process more secure
Key: see public key, private key
L1 (Layer 1): the blockchain platform itself, also known as the base layer, mainchain, or mainnet (e.g. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, Litecoin, Solana, Polkadot)
L2 (Layer 2): protocols built on top of a layer 1 blockchain to improve scalability, privacy, and cross-chain communication; layer 2 solutions are secured by the underlying mainchain (e.g. Lightning Network, Optimism, Arbitrum)
Lambo: short for Lamborghini; a goalpost for success, used in phrases to express a desire to purchase a Lamborghini with cryptocurrency profits (e.g. “wen Lambo?” translates to “when will my cryptocurrency investments be worth enough to buy a Lamborghini?”)
Light Node: a blockchain node that downloads only the necessary data to process and verify transactions, rather than storing the full blockchain history
Liquidity: a measure of how easily an asset can be bought, sold, or traded in a given market or exchange
Liquidity Pool: a collection of user-provided funds locked into a smart contract to facilitate trading on a decentralized finance (DeFi) platform
Mainnet: a main layer 1 blockchain, as opposed to a testnet or layer 2 solution
Market Cap: the total value of an asset based on its current market price; the market cap of a cryptocurrency is found by multiplying the price of a single coin by its circulating supply
Master Node: a blockchain node that verifies and relays transactions, stores the full blockchain history, and may participate in voting and other special operations; master nodes often operate on a collateral-based system similar to a Proof-of-Stake protocol
Metaverse: a networked online space with digitally persistent environments that people can inhabit as avatars for synchronous interactions, accessed through virtual reality, augmented reality, game consoles, mobile devices, or computers
Mining: in a Proof of Work system, the process of verifying transactions, organizing them into blocks, and adding them to the blockchain; participants who perform this process are called miners
Minting: the process of validating information (e.g. domain ownership) and registering it on the blockchain.
Mixed Reality: A medium consisting of immersive computer-generated environments in which elements of a physical and virtual environment are combined. An example of this would be the game Pokemon Go. Similar to Augmented Reality.
Moonboy: a term for social media “financial experts” and YouTubers who are overly optimistic and constantly explain how a given asset is “about to go to the moon!”
NFT: Non-fungible token, a digital certificate of authenticity used to assign and verify ownership of a unique digital or physical asset. Unlike fungible tokens, NFTs are not interchangeable with one another.
NGMI: short for “not gonna make it.” This is used to imply that a certain project or asset has a low chance of becoming valuable. This can also be directed at an individual, usually someone who had made a poor trade or investment.
Nocoiner: a term used to describe someone who does not hold any cryptocurrencies, or who is generally unfamiliar with crypto.
Node: any device connected to a blockchain network. Different nodes have varying levels of responsibility, and may help validate transactions, store the blockchain’s history, relay data, and perform other functions. Because blockchains are distributed peer-to-peer networks, nodes come together to create the network’s infrastructure.
Non-fungible: unique; not interchangeable.
Oracle: a service supplying smart contracts with data from the outside world. Smart contracts are unable to access data that exists off-chain, so they rely on oracles to retrieve, verify, and provide external information.
P2P: Peer-to-Peer, a distributed network of two or more computers which interact directly without a central server or entity.
Paper Hands: a term used to describe someone who sold a cryptocurrency or stock as its price was falling, usually for a loss. Someone with paper hands is said to be weak and unable to stomach market volatility.
PFP: profile picture, usually referring to one of an NFT.
Pilled: see red pilled.
Private Key: an alphanumeric passcode required to withdraw assets from a blockchain wallet and authorize digital transactions. Because these private keys are long and difficult to memorize, wallets will generally associate them with a seed or recovery phrase that is easier to remember.
Potentially Promising: first used by Elon Musk to refer to planned upgrades to Dogecoin. Referring to something as being potentially promising quickly caught on, being used both sarcastically and in a serious manner, albeit tongue-in-cheek.
PoS: Proof of Stake, a consensus mechanism that requires nodes, called validators, to stake a set amount of cryptocurrency on the blockchain in order to verify transactions and mint blocks. If a validator approves fraudulent transactions, then a portion of their stake will be slashed.
PoW: Proof of Work, a consensus mechanism that requires miners to complete complex mathematical puzzles in order to verify transactions and mint blocks. When a miner correctly solves a puzzle, they gain access to mint the next block and receive the corresponding block reward and transaction fees.
Protocol: the foundational software layer of a program. Protocol has become a general term used to refer to both layer 1 blockchain networks and the layer 2 applications built on top of them — Bitcoin, Ethereum, Uniswap, and Lightning Network can all be considered protocols.
Public Key: used to point to a wallet address, this is an alphanumeric code that serves as the address for a blockchain wallet, similar to a bank account number. Other users can send digital assets to your wallet via your public key, but only you can access your wallet’s contents by using the corresponding private key.
Pump and dump: a scheme where a cryptocurrency or other asset is hyped up, leading many to buy into it, raising its price. Those who did the hyping then sell their holdings of the asset as the price rises for a short period of time.
Red Pilled: a term referring to someone who has become aware of or believes in a particular ideology or conspiracy theory.
Rekt: shortened form of “wrecked,” used to express that one has suffered a huge loss.
Rug pull: a scam maneuver where a crypto project takes the funds that have been invested into its protocol and runs. An inside job pump-and-dump, if you will. A rug pull can also occur in assets with highly centralized ownership. If someone is able to sell a large portion of the circulating supply at once, this rapidly increases the supply, which can cause the price of the asset to plummet.
Rollup: a scaling solution that aims to improve transaction throughput and decrease fees by batching multiple transactions off-chain and then submitting them to the main chain as a single transaction.
Satoshis/Sats: the smallest denomination of BTC, equal to 0.00000001 bitcoin. Satoshis are named after Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto.
Scalability: a protocol’s capacity to handle higher demand and increase transaction throughput as the network grows.
Seed Phrase: a string of words used as a master password to access a crypto wallet. Because a single wallet can contain multiple accounts, all with their own private keys, a seed phrase makes it easy to access them all with the same password.
SHA-256: Secure Hashing Algorithm, a set of cryptographic hashing functions designed by the NSA. Essentially, SHA-256 takes an input of data and generates a long sequence of letters and numbers, called a hash. This hash is then used as a secure placeholder for the data it represents.
Sharding: a method of separating a network’s nodes out into smaller groups (shards) in an attempt to increase scalability. These shards are then able to reach consensus on behalf of the entire network, removing the need for every node to process every transaction.
Shill: the act of heavily promoting a cryptocurrency, stock, or other asset in an effort to increase adoption and, in turn, raise its price. This is usually done via spamming on social media, and generally carries a negative connotation. A person who performs the act of shilling may also be referred to as a shill.
Shitcoin: a cryptocurrency with weak fundamentals and little to no use case.
Sidechain: a parallel blockchain used to offload transactions from the main chain in order to increase scalability or add other functionality. Sidechains are connected to their main chain, or parent chain, via a two-way link which allows data and assets to be seamlessly transferred.
Slashing: the process of burning or redistributing a validator’s staked cryptocurrency as punishment for approving fraudulent charges or otherwise endangering the network.
Slippage: the price of a cryptocurrency may change between the time an order is placed and the time that order is ultimately filled. Slippage is the difference between a cryptocurrency’s quoted price and the price that a trade actually executes at.
Smart Contract: self-executing code deployed on a blockchain. Smart contracts allow transactions to be made without an intermediary figure and without the parties involved having to trust one another.
Soft Fork: a backwards compatible update to a blockchain. Unlike a hard fork, these changes do not require the creation of a separate chain.
Solidity: the native programming language of Ethereum, mainly used to write smart contracts.
Stablecoin: a token with its value pegged to another asset. Stablecoins are usually backed by a fiat currency, like the US dollar, but can also be pegged to physical assets like precious metals, or even other crypto-currencies.
Testnet: a software environment that mimics a mainnet blockchain, used to test network upgrades and smart contracts before deploying them to the mainnet.
TLD: Top Level Domain, the last segment of a domain name, or the part that follows immediately after the “dot” symbol.
Token: unlike a coin, a token is a digital asset created on an existing blockchain. Tokens can be used to represent digital and physical assets, or used to interact with dapps.
TPS: Transactions per second, the number of transactions that a blockchain can handle per second, used as a benchmark to measure its computational power.
Transaction: data written to a blockchain. New transactions are verified by nodes on the network and then broadcasted to other nodes. Once enough nodes have verified the transaction, it is considered valid and added to a block.
TVL: Total Value Locked, a measure of the assets locked into a dapp’s smart contract, usually expressed in USD.
Txn Hash: short for transaction hash, or transaction ID. This is a unique identifier used to represent a specific transaction, written as a long string of letters and numbers. By pasting a txn hash into a block explorer like Etherscan, you can find the details of the transaction it represents.
Ultrasound Money: a rebuttal against the argument that Bitcoin is “sound money” or the “hardest form of currency” by saying that Ethereum post-EIP 1559 and post-ETH2 merge will be more sound than Bitcoin.
Up Only: a tongue-in-cheek saying, implying that a cryptocurrency or other asset can only increase in value. This is used to voice one’s bullish stance on an asset, although it may also be used sarcastically.
Vaporware: a product or project that is announced and marketed but never actually materializes.
Virtual Real Estate: The latest frontier in property ownership, giving people access to digital domains within online spaces. As metaverses continue to grow, so does this unique opportunity for land-based investment opportunities.
Virtual Reality: The computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors.
Voxel: Using computer-based modeling and graphic simulation, a Voxel is an array of elements are used to create a virtual three-dimensional space. These perceptible discrete blocks allow for the digitization of complex 3D objects with striking accuracy. Can also be described as a building block of the metaverse.
WAGMI: “We’re All Gonna Make It,” a common saying in crypto and trading circles signaling camaraderie and a positive outlook.
Wallet: a software application or hardware device used to store the private keys to blockchain assets and accounts. Unlike a traditional wallet, a blockchain wallet does not actually store the coins or tokens themselves. Instead, they store the private key that proves ownership of a given digital asset.
Wallet Address: also known as a public key, this is an alphanumeric code that serves as the address for a blockchain wallet, similar to a bank account number. Other users can send digital assets to your wallet via your public key, but only you can access your wallet’s contents by using the corresponding private key.
Web1: the first iteration of the web, also known as the “read-only web,” characterized by static websites with little to no user interaction or user-generated content.
Web2: the “read-write web,” starting in the 90s, characterized by user-generated content and improved user interfaces. This led to the creation of blogs, social media platforms, and sites like Wikipedia and YouTube, and placed emphasis on user experience and interoperability between different applications and websites.
Web3: the next iteration of the web, leveraging blockchain technology, open-source applications, and the decentralization of data and information. Web3 aims to remove control from monopolistic tech companies and return ownership of data and content to users, also known as the “read-write-trust web.”
Web3 Domains: domain names minted on the blockchain which allow individuals to govern their own data, set their Web3 username, take control of their digital world, and harness the power of the internet.
Wei: the smallest denomination of ether, named after Wei Dai, a cypherpunk and cryptocurrency pioneer. 10^18 gwei is equal to 1 ether.
XR: Extended Reality (XR) is an umbrella term that refers to a range of technologies that enable digital content to be seamlessly integrated into the real world. XR includes a variety of technologies, including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and others.