Some Dash words you might hear
Dash provides a new approach to payments and, as such, there are some new words that might become a part of your vocabulary. Don't worry, even the humble television created new words!
Table of contents
A Dash address is similar to a physical address or an email. It is the only information you need to provide for someone to pay you with Dash. An important difference, however, is that each address should only be used for a single transaction.
Bit is a common unit used to designate a sub-unit of a bitcoin - 1,000,000 bits is equal to 1 bitcoin (BTC or B⃦). This unit is usually more convenient for pricing tips, goods and services.
Bitcoin - with capitalization, is used when describing the concept of Bitcoin, or the entire network itself. e.g. "I was learning about the Bitcoin protocol today."
bitcoin - without capitalization, is used to describe bitcoins as a unit of account. e.g. "I sent ten bitcoins today."; it is also often abbreviated BTC or XBT.
A block is a record in the block chain that contains and confirms many waiting transactions. Roughly every 2.5 minutes, on average, a new block including transactions is appended to the block chain through mining.
The block chain is a public record of Dash transactions in chronological order. The block chain is shared between all Dash users. It is used to verify the permanence of Dash transactions and to prevent double spending.
BTC is a common unit used to designate one bitcoin (B⃦).
Confirmation means that a transaction has been processed by the network and is highly unlikely to be reversed. Transactions receive a confirmation when they are included in a block and for each subsequent block. Even a single confirmation can be considered secure for low value transactions, although for larger amounts like 1000 US$, it makes sense to wait for 6 confirmations or more. Each confirmation exponentially decreases the risk of a reversed transaction.
Cryptography is the branch of mathematics that lets us create mathematical proofs that provide high levels of security. Online commerce and banking already uses cryptography. In the case of Dash, cryptography is used to make it impossible for anybody to spend funds from another user's wallet or to corrupt the block chain. It can also be used to encrypt a wallet, so that it cannot be used without a password.
Dash - with capitalization, is used when describing the concept of Dash, or the entire network itself. e.g. "I was learning about the Dash protocol today."
dash - without capitalization, is used to describe dash as a unit of account. e.g. "I sent ten dash today."; it is also often abbreviated ???>.
If a malicious user tries to spend their dash to two different recipients at the same time, this is double spending. Dash mining and the block chain are there to create a consensus on the network about which of the two transactions will confirm and be considered valid.
The hash rate is the measuring unit of the processing power of the Dash network. The Dash network must make intensive mathematical operations for security purposes. When the network reached a hash rate of 10 Th/s, it meant it could make 10 trillion calculations per second.
Dash mining is the process of making computer hardware do mathematical calculations for the Dash network to confirm transactions and increase security. As a reward for their services, Dash miners can collect transaction fees for the transactions they confirm, along with newly created dash. Mining is a specialized and competitive market where the rewards are divided up according to how much calculation is done. Not all Dash users do Dash mining, and it is not an easy way to make money.
Peer-to-peer refers to systems that work like an organized collective by allowing each individual to interact directly with the others. In the case of Dash, the network is built in such a way that each user is broadcasting the transactions of other users. And, crucially, no bank is required as a third party.
A private key is a secret piece of data that proves your right to spend dash from a specific wallet through a cryptographic signature. Your private key(s) are stored in your computer if you use a software wallet; they are stored on some remote servers if you use a web wallet. Private keys must never be revealed as they allow you to spend dash for their respective Dash wallet.
A cryptographic signature is a mathematical mechanism that allows someone to prove ownership. In the case of Dash, a Dash wallet and its private key(s) are linked by some mathematical magic. When your Dash software signs a transaction with the appropriate private key, the whole network can see that the signature matches the dash being spent. However, there is no way for the world to guess your private key to steal your hard-earned dash.
A Dash wallet is loosely the equivalent of a physical wallet on the Dash network. The wallet actually contains your private key(s) which allow you to spend the dash allocated to it in the block chain. Each Dash wallet can show you the total balance of all dash it controls and lets you pay a specific amount to a specific person, just like a real wallet. This is different to credit cards where you are charged by the merchant.