Definitions of blockchain and cryptocurrency terms are included here.


Blockchain is one type of distributed ledger. Using distributed ledger technology (DLT), groups of new transactions are added to the ledger in blocks. When a new block of consensual transactions is added to the ledger, no previous blocks’ data are overwritten or changed, creating a chain of linked blocks, hence the term, “blockchain.”


A cryptocurrency is a digital asset (e.g., Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin) whose cryptographically-secured information makes it ideal for protecting the contents of financial transactions.

Cryptocurrencies use blockchain so that transactional information is decentralized, public, immutable and consensually verified. They can be bought, sold, or traded between users on peer-to-peer networks without requiring intermediary or third-party approval.

Digital Currency

Digital currency functions and holds value as does any other currency. It is distinct, however, in that its decentralized nature allows for instantaneous transactions without intermediary or third-party involvement.

Cryptocurrency Exchange

A cryptocurrency exchange allows customers to trade cryptocurrencies for other assets, such as fiat or other digital currencies.

Fiat Currency

Fiat currency differs from both digital and commodity currencies because its value is guaranteed by the government that issued it. To understand what fiat currency is, it can be helpful to learn how it is different from Digital Currency and commodity currency, whose value stems from a physical good like gold or silver.

Cryptocurrency Mining

Cryptocurrency mining is a term that describes the process by which transactions involving cryptocurrencies are verified and added to the blockchain digital ledger. 

Because each block of transactions is cryptographically secured, significant computing power is required to solve each block’s hash and add it to the ledger. The first computer to solve the code earns the miner a coin reward, but the competitive nature and increasing popularity of mining has made it an activity practically available only to those with the resources to maintain the extensive mining infrastructure required to mine for cryptocurrency continuously.


Peer-to-Peer technology eliminates the need for third-party approval of transactions between two entities. Peer-to-Peer computer networks do away with central servers, thus enabling the public and decentralized sharing and storage of information.

Virtual Currency

Virtual currencies fall under the larger category of digital currencies, differing in nature because they are not regulated by a centralized banking authority. Virtual currencies, which are available only electronically, are transacted on the blockchain network, as are cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrency Wallet

A cryptocurrency wallet is a secure digital wallet used to buy, sell or hold digital currencies.

Monthly Custodial Fee

A monthly custodial fee equal to 0.083% (or 1% annually) is charged to your credit card at month-end based upon the 30-day trailing average of cash and currency held in your Alto CryptoIRA.

Trade Fee

A trade fee equal to 1.5% of the order size is billed at the time of the transaction to the fiat amount exchanged.