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Glossary

Altcoin

The word “altcoin” is an abbreviation of “Bitcoin alternative,” and thus describes every single cryptocurrency except for Bitcoin. Altcoins are referred to as Bitcoin alternatives because – at least to some extent – most altcoins hope to either replace or improve upon at least one Bitcoin component. Popular altcoins include Litecoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin etc.

Bitcoin Address

A bitcoin address is a unique cryptographic key that “owns” bitcoins and is associated with a public/private key pair. The private key is kept secret and is used to sign a transaction hash, which authorizes the spending of coins it controls, so that everyone on the Bitcoin network can verify that the person transferring the bitcoin actually owns them, at which point the transaction can be validated. The public key is used to receive funds, is broadcasted out to the network, and is visible to everyone after coins have been spent. In the payment portion of a bitcoin transaction, the recipient’s public key is represented by its digital fingerprint, called a bitcoin address, which is generated from and corresponds to a public key. The person(s) who know the corresponding private key can send those bitcoins to any other address. The cryptographic keys that control an address are typically stored on a user’s computer or mobile device in a bitcoin wallet software app.

Addresses can be looked up in the CipherTrace Search screen (for those having access to the tool), or alternatively can be looked up in any open, public blockchain.

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