Renounce page asset Page Asset

Glossary of blockchain terms in supply chain traceability

Download the free guide
Watch the webinar
Thank you!

Talking about blockchain can feel like trying to speak a foreign language, so we’ve created this blockchain glossary to help you confidently talk about using blockchain technology to ensure supply chain traceability.


Blockchain: A digital ledger that stores and synchronises valid transactions (data composed of blocks) across a network of devices (referred to as nodes) rather than on a single server. Blockchains are either public or private.


Centralised: A system controlled from a single point of authority and control or a group of parties.

Computationally hiding: A form of cryptography that protects information but with the assumption that a hacker does not have unlimited computing power or time available. So with enough computing power e.g. with a quantum computer, something that is computationally hiding could be deciphered.

Cryptocurrency: A digital form of money designed to represent a tradable value within a network. These are usually decentralised and therefore operate independently of any central authority or bank.

Cryptography (crypto): The field of secure communication methods designed to ensure data is only revealed to those who are intended to see it.


Decentralised: A system where decisions are made from no single point, but as an aggregate result of the network. A decentralised network has no single owner of information and no central authority, meaning trust does not have to be placed in a single party when using the network.


Ethereum: A public blockchain that allows the production of decentralised applications that use smart contracts. The platform uses Ether as its local currency to incentivise use and maintenance.


Gas fees: A fee for work done in order to add information to a blockchain. The fee is paid to the operator who performs the calculation that validates new information being added to the blockchain.


Interoperable: The functional communication between different systems, even if they are not using the same application or software.


Mining: The act of performing complex mathematical calculations which validate information being added to the blockchain. This generates new cryptocurrency for the operator as a reward.

Minting: The creation of a new packet of information (token) on a blockchain. This is the virtual equivalent of minting a physical coin.


Peer-to-peer: The direct connection between two users of a system without a third party acting as an intermediary.

Perfectly hiding: A form of cryptography that protects information from being read by someone that should not, regardless of the computational power or time that they have available.

Private blockchain: A closed, normally centralised blockchain that is controlled and managed by a single entity or a group of parties.

Proof-of-Stake (PoS) : A way to achieve consensus when someone wishes to add new data (blocks) to a blockchain, where a cryptocurrency owner can stake their holdings to validate their authority to add data to the network and earn a reward in the process. This is the means by which transactions are verified on the Ethereum 2.0 network.

Proof-of-Work (PoW): A way to achieve consensus when someone wishes to add new data (blocks) to a blockchain, by using computer power to solve highly complex mathematical problems to validate the individual's authority to add data. A reward is also earned in the process (referred to as mining). This is the means by which transactions are verified on the original Ethereum network.

Public blockchain: An open, normally decentralised blockchain that can be read and written by anyone with internet access where data (blocks) cannot be amended or deleted.


Smart contracts: Programs that automatically conduct an action once certain conditions are met.

Smart Questioning: Circularise’s patent-pending method of using Zero-Knowledge Proofs (ZKP) to share essential and useful insights into product and material information throughout a supply chain over a public blockchain without sharing any specific data.


Token: A packet of data or a virtual asset that is owned by a user.

Transparency: One of the main characteristics of a public blockchain is that all information is public and can be viewed by anyone.

Trustless: Blockchain allows transactions to be performed between two parties that do not trust each other, the trust is placed in the cryptography to perform the action, not an individual.


Wallet: A personal storage area for tokens owned by an individual.


Zero-knowledge proofs (ZKP): a form of perfectly hiding encryption that allows sharing of useful insights into information without sharing any specific data. ZKPs can be used to share insight into the environmental impact of a product or material without sharing any specific data on the composition or manufacturing processes of a product.

arrow icon white
Download the free
New content directly in your mailbox
  • Sign up to stay up-to-date on regulations
  • Get invitations to events
  • Access to our newest content
IconLeft arrow
Back to top