These are the blockchain jargon you should know and understand.
With this reading, you will walk away with a better understanding to the daily usage words that often shown in the blockchain news and forum.
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Public Key & Private Key
Public key and private key are terms in Asymmetric Cryptography (Public Key Cryptography). They are being used to encrypt and decrypt data. They are paired together but are not identical (asymmetric). In a simple metaphor, it is like account and password. Public key is like your bank account number that how people locate you and reach you. Private key is like the password that used to access and control your bank account. You can share your public key to anyone but always keep the private key secret.
TPS, a.k.a. transaction per second, describes the number of transactions that a blockchain can handle. It is usually used as an indicator to show a blockchain’s scalability. The larger the TPS, the more scalable the blockchain is.
Mining in blockchain is a metaphor to gold-mining where computers (miners) will receive cryptocurrency as reward in exchange of the work they have contributed. Miners in blockchain are someone who responsible for verifying transactions and adding them to the blockchain by solving cryptographic problems.
Consensus is a mechanism that the majority in blockchain will maintain in order to keep the blockchain running in one chain. It makes sure the next block is the one and only one version that shared by everyone. Blockchain participants (especially miners) will follow the consensus to build new blocks and broadcast them to the blockchain network.
51% attack is an event when a group of attackers (usually miners) accounted for the majority (51%), controlling more than half of the mining power, and do hacking activity like ‘double-spending’ by reversing the completed transactions (those red blocks in the illustration).
A fork is an event when the blockchain splits and creates two parallel blockchains. This happen when there is enough amount of people initiate a change in the blockchain. The reason of doing the fork could be: 1) Developers want to have a upgrade in the blockchain and would like everyone else to follow the newly forked blockchain and forget the original blockchain. 2) there is a dispute in the blockchain between two group of people and each of them would like to have their own version of blockchain. e.g. Ethereum (ETH) vs Ethereum Classic (ETC).
A transaction is being confirmed when it has been verified by the network. This happen during the mining process. Once a transaction is confirmed, it cannot be reversed or double spent. The transaction will have more confirmations when more blocks are made and appended after it. The more confirmations a transaction has, the harder it becomes to perform a double spend attack.
Transaction hash (TxID) is a tracker or identifier for a particular transaction. You can trace the transaction details using the TxID in the blockchain explorer.
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I have made these blockchain terms simple enough to understand. If you still have anything that confused you, please feel free to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org