The most ambiguous cryptocurrency phrases and how can we explain them better

The most ambiguous cryptocurrency phrases and how can we explain them better

Cryptos are abundant with jargon. ‘Blockchains,’ ‘full nodes,’ ‘miners,’ ‘nonces,’ ‘side-chains’: these are just a handful of the words in cryptocurrencies that are known to lead to volatility and disputes.

Not only does the complexity of vocabulary impair the capacity of those inside the crypto sphere to interact with one other, but it potentially disables outsiders, too, who would, in other cases, be interested in diving in more.

So here is what some of the most complicated crypto terms mean, and we wrote about what could possibly be done more to make the industry’s terminology simpler. Lots of people claim that much of the problem can be overcome by cryptos going more mainstream, while some say that the branch has to work vigorously to standardize definitions.

Crypto Terms Are Confusing

In July, a Twitter debate between developer Udi Wertheimer and FTX chief executive officer Sam Bankman-Fried underscored how deceptive those words could be.

The most ambiguous cryptocurrency terms and how can we explain them better

Wertheimer and Bankman-Fried disagreed on the definition of “sidechain,” which made it more difficult for them to address what they were really attempting to resolve. As Wertheimer mentions, “sidechain” is not the only perplexing word used in the cryptocurrency world.

CoinShare Head of Research Christopher Bendiksen admitted that the cryptocurrency vocabulary is not always that clear. Indeed, according to him, the terms in the crypto field are vague. It is a challenge that not just restricts our capacity to form relevant questions correctly but also stops us from examining and discussing significant tech problems.

Bendiksen notes that complexity can also restrict the virality of ideas and hence the community’s pace of dissemination. But he does not assume that this is the key thing that prevents cryptocurrencies from being spread and embraced more widely.

Confusion in the Cryptosphere

Although a complete list of vague or not entirely obvious words is beyond the reach of this blog post, Bendiksen listed a few of his most ambiguous terms.

“Full node”

This is the biggest offender in his mind. For him, this stands for a node that has verified the whole background of its blockchain from the start, not just one that verified block headers, and not one that verifies in progress transfers from a trustworthy start point. Total synchronization is needed.


One can ask themselves if this is a block-making node, a machine for hashing, a mining procedure, or someone that controls this procedure?

Let’s see how ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ are used when talking about distributed leverage – Bendiksen says that this may refer to having shorter block intervals, or it may be connected to how fast a distributed leverage can offer settlement assurance.

We often use the word ‘slow’ when referring to BTC, even though it is one of the quickest systems founded on settlement assurance. So the two terms need to be explained better. Possessing a five-second block interval has no meaning if such blocks can be created again with zero cost.

Bitcoin SV (BSV) developer Brendan Lee claims that many cryptocurrency jargons are really confusing and that simple words such as blockchain often mean various things. The miners decide what goes on the distributed ledger amongst each other. Their position requires them to make public transfer records. If a person tells you that their application writes to the distributed ledger does not totally understand the tech – they believe they are part of the verifying procedure and decide how the system operates.

He also has a problem with how we utilize the word ‘value,’ even though, in this instance, his problem deals with how much of the vagueness comes from a difference of opinions.

The marketplace cap metric used to measure cryptocurrency coins is quite deceptive. While Bitcoin has a speculative marketplace limit of hundreds of billions, it would be difficult to obtain even a small part of that whole sum without leading to complete marketplace disruption and crippling the network, possibly beyond repair.

Crypto terms are confusing to those not in the crypto sphere, too, as Luis Cuede, co-founder of the Swiss-based Aragon Decentralized Services Network, thinks. When he said the word ‘nonce’ to people not in the cryptocurrency community, they told him it also refers to a person accused of a sexual asset, so some of the jargon Cleary needs an update!

What should be done?

Ashish Singhal, the founder and CEO of Indian exchange CoinSwitch Kuber said that the jargon would become more standardized when it becomes more popular.

One way to standardize terms is to embrace industry-wide definitions and glossaries. This is the perspective held by Christopher Bendiksen, who claims that adoption alone would not be enough to overcome uncertainty.

That is why forums, workshops, lectures, etc., are really of use, Bendiksen thinks. Over time, however, he thinks that we will combine common meanings of terms with the mere fact that better meanings of words will make for a more useful convergence of ideas, analysis, and debates. Natural selection will be in their favor.