Web3 Terms

A Blockchain Glossary for Beginners: Definitions of Crypto and Web3 Terminology


AMM (Automated Market Maker)

An Automated Market Maker (AMM) is a decentralized exchange protocol using mathematical formulas and liquidity pools for asset pricing. Users supply tokens to pools, earning fees as liquidity providers. AMMs facilitate constant trading and improve market liquidity. Arbitrage opportunities arise when prices differ from other markets, prompting traders to balance prices across platforms. This mechanism ensures liquidity pool efficiency and market stability within the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem, benefiting all participants.

Asset Tokenization

Asset tokenization converts real-world assets into digital tokens on a blockchain, offering improved liquidity, accessibility, and efficiency in asset management. This process democratizes investment in high-value assets by enabling fractional ownership and easier transferability. However, a key challenge lies in establishing a reliable link between the digital token and its legal ownership in the real world. Ensuring the digital representation accurately reflects ownership rights and complies with regulatory frameworks is crucial for the credibility and legal recognition of tokenized assets.



Blockchain is a decentralized ledger technology that securely records transactions across many computers, ensuring transparency and immutability. This prevents any single entity from altering the data, fostering trust without a central authority. Initially developed for Bitcoin, its applications now span various sectors beyond cryptocurrencies. Blockchain’s key attributes—decentralization, security, and transparency—revolutionize peer-to-peer transactions and data management across finance, supply chain, and more, making it a foundational technology for creating tamper-proof and transparent systems in diverse industries.


CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency)

A Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) is a digital form of a country’s fiat currency, issued and regulated by its central bank. Designed to modernize the financial system, CBDCs aim to enhance payment efficiency, improve financial inclusion, and reduce transaction costs. Unlike decentralized cryptocurrencies, CBDCs are centralized and backed by the government, combining the convenience and security of digital currencies with the regulated, reserve-backed money circulation of traditional banking. They represent a significant step towards integrating digital technology into the foundational infrastructure of the global financial system.

CBDC Wallet

A CBDC Wallet is a digital wallet designed to hold and manage Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), enabling users to perform transactions with state-backed digital money. One of its primary goals is to simplify the use of CBDCs for citizens, abstracting the underlying complexities of blockchain technology. By providing an intuitive interface, CBDC wallets aim to facilitate widespread adoption of digital currencies, ensuring secure, efficient, and direct transactions between individuals and institutions. These wallets play a crucial role in the integration of digital currencies into everyday financial activities, bridging the gap between innovative blockchain solutions and user-friendly financial services.

Cold Wallet

Cold wallets are offline cryptocurrency storage solutions that enhance security by protecting funds from online threats, such as hacking. They store private keys on devices or physical mediums not connected to the internet, like hardware wallets or paper wallets, making them ideal for long-term asset storage. However, cold wallets offer less accessibility for frequent transactions and pose risks if the physical device is lost or damaged without a backup, potentially leading to irreversible asset loss.


In the distributed architecture of a blockchain network, where each participant, or node, can propose updates to the ledger representing transactions, establishing a reliable methodology to determine which updates are accepted or rejected by network members is crucial. This methodology, known as consensus algorithms, serves as the backbone for achieving trust and agreement within a decentralized system, eliminating the need for a central authority. At the core of blockchain technology, there are primarily three types of consensus algorithms: Proof of Work (PoW), Proof of Stake (PoS), and Proof of Authority (PoA). These mechanisms ensure the integrity, security, and continuity of the blockchain by enabling collective agreement on ledger updates among disparate nodes.

Cryptocurrency Exchange

A cryptocurrency exchange is a digital platform where users can buy, sell, and exchange cryptocurrencies and other digital assets. As pivotal components of the cryptocurrency economy, these exchanges facilitate liquidity and enable price discovery for a diverse array of assets. They range from centralized exchanges (CEXs), operated by a singular entity where control of assets is temporarily transferred to the exchange’s account, to decentralized exchanges (DEXs) that support direct peer-to-peer transactions, allowing users to retain control over their assets.


Cryptography in blockchain technology is the practice of secure communication, ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and authentication of data transactions. It employs two main types: symmetric cryptography, where the same key encrypts and decrypts data, and asymmetric cryptography, which uses pairs of public and private keys for secure data exchange. Additionally, cryptographic hashing functions transform input data into a fixed-size string of characters, which is unique to each set of data. This mechanism is crucial for creating blockchain’s immutable records, verifying the integrity of transaction data, and supporting the secure creation and management of digital identities.



A decentralized system is one where control and decision-making are spread across multiple points in the network rather than being centralized in a single authority. This characteristic of blockchain technology enhances security, reduces single points of failure, and promotes transparency and inclusivity in decision-making processes.

Dex (Decentralized Exchange)

A Decentralized Exchange (DEX) is a blockchain-based platform enabling peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and token trading without central intermediaries. Utilizing smart contracts for secure, transparent transactions, DEXs allow users full control over their private keys and assets. DEXs can use order books or often favor automated market makers (AMMs) to ensure consistent liquidity, mitigating traditional liquidity issues. This setup enhances privacy, security, and resilience against hacking and censorship, providing a trustless environment for direct wallet-to-wallet trading in the digital asset marketplace.

Decentralized Finance (DeFi)

Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is an innovative financial system built on blockchain technology, enabling finance without traditional central institutions like banks, brokers, or exchanges. By leveraging smart contracts on decentralized platforms, DeFi offers users direct control over their assets through peer-to-peer financial services, including lending, borrowing, trading, and insurance. This shift promotes open access, transparency, and inclusivity in financial operations. However, DeFi also faces challenges such as regulatory compliance, security vulnerabilities, and the need for enhanced user education to navigate complex platforms safely.


EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine)

The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is the runtime environment for smart contract deployment and execution on the Ethereum blockchain. It is a crucial component of the Ethereum ecosystem, enabling the execution of smart contracts and the development of decentralized applications (dApps). The EVM is Turing complete, allowing it to run a wide range of applications and scenarios, and it uses a stack-based architecture to process smart contract bytecode. However, the EVM has faced drawbacks, including scalability issues and high gas fees, which have been a challenge for the Ethereum network.



A fork in blockchain technology refers to a divergence in the blockchain network, resulting in two separate paths that can either be temporary or permanent. Forks occur when there’s a change in the network’s protocol or when disagreements arise within the community on the blockchain’s future direction. They are categorized into soft forks, which are backward-compatible changes, and hard forks, which create a new blockchain incompatible with the old version. Forks play a crucial role in the evolution and adaptation of blockchain networks, allowing for updates, improvements, and the resolution of disputes within the community.



In the context of blockchain, “gas” refers to the fee required to conduct a transaction or execute a contract on networks like Ethereum or XRPL EVM Sidechain. Gas fees are used to compensate miners or validators for the energy and computational power needed to process and validate transactions. The concept of gas ensures that users pay a fee proportional to the computational effort required, helping to prevent network spam and allocate resources efficiently.


Governance in blockchain refers to the processes and frameworks that guide decision-making within a network, allowing participants to propose, vote on, and implement changes to the protocol. It ensures that the network evolves in a way that reflects the community’s consensus, maintaining transparency and democratic participation. Effective governance models balance decentralization with the need for coordinated updates and policy changes, crucial for the network’s adaptability, security, and long-term sustainability.


Hot Wallet

A hot wallet is a cryptocurrency wallet that is connected to the internet. It offers convenience for frequent transactions but is considered less secure than cold wallets due to its vulnerability to online attacks. Hot wallets include software wallets, online wallets, and wallets on smartphones and computers.



Interoperability in blockchain refers to the ability of different blockchain networks to communicate and share information seamlessly, enabling the exchange of assets and data across diverse platforms. Bridges play a crucial role in achieving interoperability, acting as connectors that facilitate transactions and interactions between blockchains. This allows for more integrated and efficient systems, expanding the potential use cases and enhancing the overall utility of blockchain technology by creating a more connected and accessible digital ecosystem.



In blockchain terminology, a ledger is a digital record-keeping system that tracks transactions and balances across a network. It is maintained by multiple nodes, ensuring redundancy and resilience against data loss or manipulation. Ledgers can be public, allowing anyone to verify transactions, or private, restricting access to authorized entities.


Liquidity refers to the ability of an asset to be quickly bought or sold in the market without significantly affecting its price. In the context of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, liquidity is crucial for enabling efficient trading and price stability. Exchanges, liquidity pools, and market makers play key roles in providing liquidity by ensuring that buy and sell orders can be matched promptly.



A node in blockchain technology is a computer connected to the blockchain network, participating in the network’s activities by either storing a copy of the digital ledger, validating transactions, or contributing to the creation of new blocks. Nodes are fundamental to the decentralized nature of blockchain, ensuring transparency, security, and integrity by collectively maintaining, updating, and verifying the ledger. Their collaboration across the network enables the distributed consensus essential for the blockchain’s operation, making nodes critical for the blockchain’s resilience against tampering and centralization.



Oracles are third-party services that provide smart contracts with external data. They serve as bridges between blockchains and the real world, allowing smart contracts to react to external events and information. Oracles are crucial for many blockchain applications, including those in finance, insurance, and supply chains, where real-world data triggers contractual actions.


Private Network

Private networks are blockchain networks designed for specific participants, providing enhanced privacy and control over transactions and data. Access is invitation-only, controlled by a central authority or consortium, ensuring tailored governance and faster transactions. While they are ideal for businesses prioritizing secure, efficient internal processes, one drawback is their reduced decentralization compared to public blockchains. This centralization can impact trust among participants external to the network, making private networks less suitable for scenarios requiring absolute decentralization.



Ripple, formally known as Ripple Labs, Inc., is a technology company that not only develops payment solutions for real-time, cross-border transactions but also actively contributes to the core development of the XRP Ledger (XRPL). While Ripple Labs, Inc. plays a significant role in enhancing the XRPL’s functionality, the ledger remains an independent, open-source platform maintained by a broad community of developers and participants, as emphasized by both Ripple and the XRPL Foundation.

Ripple CBDC

Ripple’s CBDC platform offers a comprehensive solution for central banks to issue, manage, and transact with Central Bank Digital Currencies. It provides the tools necessary for central banks to leverage blockchain technology in creating a digital currency, aiming to enhance financial inclusion, streamline payment systems, and increase the efficiency of monetary transactions.

Ripple Payments

Ripple Payments, formerly known as RippleNet, is Ripple’s rebranded global payments network that streamlines international transactions between financial institutions. It leverages blockchain technology to offer instant, reliable, and low-cost cross-border payments. By optionally utilizing XRP for liquidity, Ripple Payments aims to reduce the reliance on pre-funded destination currency accounts, addressing inefficiencies in traditional banking. The rebranding to Ripple Payments reflects its commitment to enhancing the global financial infrastructure, promoting seamless integration with existing financial systems, and making international payments more accessible and efficient for all parties involved.


RippleNet, developed by Ripple, is a global payments network aimed at transforming international transactions between financial institutions to be instant, reliable, and cost-effective. Utilizing blockchain technology, it simplifies cross-border payments, with a notable feature being the optional use of XRP for liquidity. Currently undergoing rebranding to Ripple Payments, this initiative reflects its evolving role in modernizing global finance by addressing traditional banking inefficiencies and promoting interoperability with the existing financial infrastructure.


Rippling in the context of the XRPL is a sophisticated feature that facilitates transactions between two accounts that lack a direct trust line connection. This is achieved through the utilization of intermediary accounts that are linked via trust lines both to the payment originator and the destination account, as well as among themselves. Such a network of trust lines enables the XRPL to identify a path of connected trust lines through which the transaction can be routed. This pathfinding capability ensures that even without a direct financial relationship, accounts can engage in transactions, leveraging the liquidity provided by intermediaries.



Scalability refers to a blockchain network’s ability to handle a growing amount of transactions or operations efficiently. As blockchain adoption increases, scalability becomes a critical challenge, requiring innovations such as layer 2 solutions, sharding, and consensus mechanism improvements to support higher transaction throughput without compromising security or decentralization.

Smart Contracts

Smart contracts are computer programs that automatically execute predefined rules set by developers, operating on blockchain platforms like the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) without requiring intermediaries. These contracts trigger actions or transactions when conditions are met, ensuring the terms are carried out exactly as programmed. By eliminating the need for trusted third parties, smart contracts facilitate secure, transparent, and efficient transactions, laying the foundation for decentralized applications (DApps) and decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystems, thus broadening the scope of automation in contractual agreements across various sectors.


Token vs Currency

In the blockchain context, “cryptocurrency” typically refers to the native token of a blockchain, utilized for paying transaction fees and serving as the network’s primary medium of exchange. Conversely, “token” denotes a broader category of digital assets created on blockchain platforms, representing various assets, rights, or fulfilling particular roles within an ecosystem. Common examples include ERC-20 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain, which standardize the properties of these assets, and IOUs on the XRP Ledger (XRPL), which signify obligations or entitlements. This distinction underscores the functional diversity between cryptocurrencies, focused on financial transactions, and tokens, which extend the blockchain’s utility beyond mere currency.



XRP is a digital currency and the native asset of the XRP Ledger. Primarily, it serves to cover transaction fees within the XRP Ledger, ensuring the network’s efficiency and security. Beyond this, XRP acts as a pivotal bridge currency, streamlining transactions across currency pairs with limited liquidity. Initially issued with a total supply of 100 billion tokens, the current circulating supply stands at approximately 54 billion. This design facilitates both rapid and cost-effective cross-border payments, underscoring XRP’s utility in enhancing global financial transactions.

XRP Ledger

The XRP Ledger (XRPL) is a decentralized, open-source blockchain that enables swift, low-cost transactions. Its native token is XRP, but it also supports IOUs and NFTs. Created in 2012, XRPL allows community-driven development and achieves transaction settlements within 3-5 seconds, handling up to 3,400 transactions per second. Its unique consensus algorithm ensures sustainability with minimal energy use. While lacking native smart contract support, XRPL excels in native functionalities like escrow, a decentralized exchange, and cross-currency payments, making it ideal for efficient payment solutions, especially in cross-border transactions.