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Glossary
From A to Z, all the words on Aleph Zero that you will ever need.

Address

A unique identifier of a destination to which digital assets can be transferred. It is usually derived from the public key by adding checksums or network identifiers. In Aleph Zero, addresses are in SS58 format and always start with the number 5 (i.e. using 42 as a prefix).

AlephBFT

A hybrid consensus protocol that consists of a proprietary combination of Proof of Stake (PoS) and the use of an intermediary data structure known as a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) to provide key upgrades in efficiency.

Archivist

A node tasked with keeping the entire history of a blockchain.

Block

A basic unit of storage used by blockchain, a collection of data such as transactions, that together describe the state transition. Each block contains a reference (hash) to the previous block.

Block time

The average time it takes the network to generate a new block. The block time of Aleph Zero is set to 1 second.

Bonding

An act of locking the tokens so that they can not be transferred for a predefined period of time. In Aleph Zero, the basic form of bonding is staking, which is incentivized by paying periodic rewards to all the stakers.

Bridge

A system connecting two or more blockchains and allowing the transfer assets among the connected chains.

Byzantine Fault Tolerance

The property of a decentralized system that can withstand not only downtime of some of the participating nodes (as in case of classical fault tolerance), but also a coordinated attack performed by a fraction of them.

Consensus

A method for coming to agreement over a state of the database in a distributed network. In a blockchain scenario, it is a way of deciding which blocks are canonical and finalized.

Commission

A parameter, set by the validator, determining the split of rewards among a validator and its nominators. The rewards are initially split proportionally to the parties stake, and then a percentage of the nominators' reward corresponding to the validator's commission is assigned to the validator.

Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG)

A type of data structure that consists of nodes that are connected to each other with edges that will never complete a cycle. This means that no node will be encountered twice while traversing the graph. Aleph Zero uses DAGs as an intermediary data structure in its PoS consensus mechanism.

Era

A period after which rewards are distributed among validators and nominators. In the case of Aleph Zero, an era lasts approximately 24 hours and consists of 96 sessions.

Explorer

An application that allows for exploration of blockchain history and block contents. Depending on the specific implementation, it may provide information on transactions, accounts, and smart contracts on the network. The main Aleph Zero explorers are https://alephzero.subscan.io/ and https://azero.dev/#/explorer.

Finality

The property resulting from the outcome of the consensus process that attests to a block and its contents. A block and its contents that is finalized is considered canonical and irreversible.

Mainnet

Short for 'main network' - the main chain/network supported by a given project, which usually is a native environment for the project token.

Mnemonic

A sequence of words that can be used to generate cryptographic key pairs.

Multi-party Computation (MPC)

A cryptographic method that allows multiple parties to perform a computation and learn its result without any party learning the secret inputs of other parties or anything about the computation itself. This allows Aleph Zero to secure data through multiple computers which cannot access data without a supermajority or unanimous consensus. MPC is used in conjunction with Zero-knowledge Proofs in the implementation of Aleph Zero’s private smart contracts.

Nominator

A user that stakes tokens for a selected validator. Nominators receive part of the validators' rewards but are also subject to slashing if the selected validator misbehaves.

Proof of Stake (PoS)

A consensus mechanism that relies on users staking the appropriate number of a network’s native tokens to become validators. Once staked, validators take part in the governance process according to their staked amounts and decide along with other validators on the truthfulness of transactions conducted on-chain. PoS differs from PoW because it is not reliant on nodes conducting complex cryptographic puzzles.

Proof of Work (PoW)

A hardware-based consensus mechanism associated most strongly with legacy blockchains such as Bitcoin. Through this method, users who possess the appropriate hardware compete to validate transactions conducted on the network by solving cryptographic puzzles that, once completed, confirm the truthfulness of the transactions.

Rotating Committee

A solution for PoS protocols whereby the validating members change overtime, increasing the security of the network and allowing more network participants to take part in the consensus process.

Session

A period during which the committee doesn't change. In Aleph Zero it is set up to 15 minutes.

Slashing

Act of forceful removal of part of the assets bonded by validator and its nominators as a punishment for a malicious action performed by a validator.

Staking

Bonding tokens as collateral in the process of choosing validators. Tokens can be staked either by the validator itself, or by its nominator.

Substrate

A Rust framework for building blockchains developed by Parity Technologies.

Testnet

(Short for 'test network'); A testing environment where planned mainnet updates are first tested. In Aleph Zero, updates are usually introduced to the testnet 4 weeks before their planned deployment to mainnet.

Validator

A node that is actively taking part in committee election procedure. On Aleph Zero mainnet, each validator needs to stake at least 25,000 AZERO.

Zero-knowledge Proof

A cryptographic method that is able to prove the truthfulness of a statement without revealing any other information about the statement itself. This allows one party on Aleph Zero to prove that it is only performing correct computations on private data without revealing that data to the verifier. Zero-knowledge Proofs are used in conjunction with MPC in the implementation of Aleph Zero’s private smart contracts.
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Outline
Address
AlephBFT
Archivist
Block
Block time
Bonding
Bridge
Byzantine Fault Tolerance
Consensus
Commission
Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG)
Era
Explorer
Finality
Mainnet
Mnemonic
Multi-party Computation (MPC)
Nominator
Proof of Stake (PoS)
Proof of Work (PoW)
Rotating Committee
Session
Slashing
Staking
Substrate
Testnet
Validator
Zero-knowledge Proof