Skip to content

Glossary

Eric Voskuil edited this page Apr 11, 2019 · 130 revisions

Fundamentals

Person

A decision maker.

Machine

An instruction follower.

Agreement

Bitcoin

The set of principles that secure a Coin from the State.

The term and principles are defined by Satoshi in “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”.

Consensus

An agreement among People.

Also the set of people who participate in an agreement.

Coin

A Consensus regarding a mutually-acceptable medium for Trade.

BTC is a Coin.

Consensus Rules

The set of constraints that define a Coin.

Rule

A subset of Consensus Rules.

Validity

Conformance to Consensus Rules.

Validation

The process of determining Validity.

Enforcement

The act of discarding Invalid data.

Objects

Unit

The atomic transferable value of a Coin.

The Satoshi is the Bitcoin unit.

Transfer

The change of control over certain Units.

Transaction

A Valid record of Transfer.

Block

A Valid set of Transactions with Timestamp and Proof.

Chain

The Branch with the most cumulative Proof.

Transactions

Script

A set of Operations that authorizes Transfer.

Operation

An atomic declaration of intent.

Contract

A Script that expresses Transfer conditions.

Public Key Script is an anachronism for this.

Endorsement

A Script that satisfies a Contract.

Signature Script is an anachronism for this.

Point

A reference to an Output or Input.

Output

An explicit Transfer and a Contract.

Input

An Output Point and an Endorsement.

Previous Output

The Output to which an Input refers.

Locktime

An expression of earliest Transaction Validity.

Blocks

Timestamp

A declaration of the time of Block production.

Median Time Past

An average of preceding Block Timestamps.

Proof

Probabilistic evidence of the cost of Work performed.

Branch

A Valid sequence of Blocks.

Weak

A Branch with less cumulative Proof than another.

Orphan is a misnomer for this.

Strong

A Branch with more cumulative Proof than another.

Sequence

Confirmation

Inclusion of a Transaction in a Block.

Unconfirmed

A Transaction that does not exist in a Block.

Transaction Pool

The set of Unconfirmed Transactions.

Memory Pool is a misnomer for this.

Block Pool

The set of Weak Blocks.

Orphan Pool is a misnomer for this.

Genesis

The first Block of all Branches of a Coin.

Depth

One more than the count of Blocks after a Confirmation.

Height

The count of preceding Blocks in a Branch.

Segment

A contiguous subset of a Branch.

Organization

An Announcement adding a Block to the Chain.

Period

The average time between Organizations.

Layering

Trade using a sequence of Unconfirmed Transactions that can be Settled by either party.

Settlement

Confirmation of layered transactions.

Money

Spend

The initial publication of a Transaction.

Double Spend

The Endorsement of the same Output Contract by distinct Spends.

Subsidy

The issuance of new Units to a Miner.

Inflation

The increase in Supply resulting from Subsidy.

Also monetary inflation, not to be confused with price inflation.

Fee

An implicit Transfer to a Miner.

Reward

The sum of Subsidy and Fees for a Block.

Coinbase

A Transaction that Transfers a Reward.

Maturity

The Depth at which a Coinbase Output becomes Transferable.

Halving

A reduction in the Subsidy rate (by half).

Difficulty

The level of Proof required for Validity.

Adjustment

A change to Difficulty.

Cap

The limit to Supply over all time.

Price

A moving average of Exchange rates.

Capitalization

The product of Price and Supply.

Economics

Trade

A voluntary swap of property between two People.

Utility

The usefulness of certain property to a Person.

Value

The Utility of a number of Units to a Person.

Supply

The set of all issued Units.

Exchange

The Trade of Units for other property.

Price Inflation

The increase in average Exchange prices over time.

Hoard

To Own for future use.

This is neither speculation nor investment.

Speculate

To Own in expectation of Price increase.

Also to borrow in expectation of price decrease.

Lend

To Trade time without Units for property of greater Utility.

Invest is an alias for this.

Borrow

To Trade time with Units for property of greater Utility to the Lender.

Interest

The average rate of increase in Utility from Lending.

Profit

The return on Speculation.

This excludes interest.

Loss

Failure of Investment to earn Interest.

This is negative profit.

Volatility

Deviation in Price over time.

Market

The Trade in certain property.

Network

Communication

Conveyance of data between Machines.

Protocol

A set of Communication conventions.

Peer-to-Peer

A symmetrical Protocol.

Client-Server

An asymmetrical Protocol.

Latency

The delay inherent in Communication.

Partition

An inability of certain Nodes to Communicate.

Denial of Service

Using Communication to exploit Protocol or Implementation flaws that degrade performance.

DoS is an acronym for this.

Components

Mine

A Tool that performs Work.

Grind

A Tool that performs Hashing.

Relay

A Tool that disseminates new Blocks.

Node

A Tool that performs Validation.

Wallet

A Tool that creates Transactions.

Tool

A set of Machine instructions.

Implementation

A specific Tool set.

Actors

Miner

A Person operating a Mine.

Grinder

A Person operating a Grind.

Relayer

A Person operating a Relay.

Merchant

A Person accepting Units in Trade.

User is a common alias for this.

Owner

A Person controlling certain Units.

Holder is a common alias for this.

Developer

A Person creating an Implementation.

Claimant

A Person who holds a claim on property under the control of a Custodian.

Also a lien-holder, shareholder, lender, or depositor.

Custodian

A Person who controls the property of another

Mining

Work

The process of Block production.

Candidate

A potential Block with undetermined Proof.

Hash

An atomic computation to Prove Candidate Validity.

Hash Rate

The rate of Hashing.

Apparent Hash Power

A fraction of Blocks in a Chain Segment.

Public estimates of miner hash power are based on this.

Majority Hash Power

A subset of Miners with sufficient Hash Power to execute a sustained Attack.

51% is a common approximation of sufficient power.

Optimization

A Tool change that reduces the cost of Mining.

Announcement

The first communication of a Block to another Person.

Withholding

The purposeful delay of Announcement.

Honest

A Miner who builds on the Blocks of others.

Selfish

A Miner who is not always Honest.

Variance

The varying frequency of achieving a Reward.

Decouple

A Mine that shares Reward with another to reduce Variance.

Deviations

Fork

A divergence in Consensus Rules.

Hard Fork

A Fork that implies a Split.

Expansion of the set of potentially-valid blocks.

Soft Fork

A Fork that implies a Split unless Enforced by Majority Hash Power.

Contraction of the set of potentially-valid blocks.

Split

A Coin bifurcation.

Reorganization

An Announcement promoting a Weak Branch to the Chain.

Reorg is an abbreviation for this.

Stall

The lack of Height increase over time.

Activation

Starting to Enforce a new Rule.

Signal

A Miner indication via Block data of intent to Enforce a new Rule.

Privacy

Identity

The means to associate Communication with a Person.

Taint

Determination of Ownership.

Security

Power

The relative level of control of a Person over the Chain or Coin.

Economy

The set of all Merchants.

Economic Power

A fraction of all property offered in Exchange.

Hash Power

A fraction of the Hash Rate of all Mines.

Attack

Use of Hash Power to enable Double Spending.

Confirmation prevention is a case of double-spend enabling.

Co-option

Use of aggression to control Hash Power.

Coercion

Use of aggression to compel Activation.

Distortion

Market aggression that skews the cost of Mining.

Variation

Differences in the resource cost of Mining.

Censorship

Subjective Confirmation.

State

A set of People that uses aggression in place of Trade.

Typically operates with impunity within geographic limits.

Political

Pertaining to the actions of States.

Weakness

Aggregation

The tendency toward reduced participation in Mining or Validation.

Implies pooling or centralization.

Pooling

The tendency toward few Miners, including consolidation by Relays.

Collusion is a common alias for this.

Centralization

The tendency toward few Merchants.

Merchants directly control validation.

Delegation

The tendency toward few Owners.

Owners directly control spending.

Partitioning

The tendency toward persistent Partitions.

Identity implies exclusion.

Correlation

The ability to Taint using statistical Chain analysis.

Libbitcoin Menu

Clone this wiki locally
You can’t perform that action at this time.