You may find yourself in a universe you don’t recognise when suddenly everyone around you makes jokes about the latest “beta” and pays in ”ethereum”. But don’t worry, we got your back. Here’s a quick guide to what these trendy buzzwords really mean and how to make it seem like you know what you’re talking about.

Fintech

Financial Technology is currently the most popular word in the startup scene and the establish tech industry alike. Unlike other tech ideas, this industry tends to measure the value in cash, not users. Most financial institution now started FinTech division. This sector covers everything from coffee payment to car insurance based on your driving (although, the latter is InsurTech, a subdivision of FinTech). The main point is that this buzzword is important and that its significance had manifested itself in a $17,4 bn investment last year.

Blockchain

Based on the talks, you might think that this is the cure from everything and a solution to all problems. It is, indeed, quite a powerful piece of technology that aims to revolutionise the way we live. People can use blockchain for money transactions, deals and track items without having to depend on organisations, companies and governments. The record of these transaction is impossible to amend, so is logged and stored in the massive computer brain. The idea is that we, ultimately, become independent of any government and back and get completely accurate track record of our history.

Cryptocurrency

There are a few ‘cryptos’ kicking around the block, with the major ones being Bitcoin and Ethereum. Although none of these have, yet, made in into the mainsteam market, they tend to be worth quite a lot of money. Bitcoin is worth more than gold with approximately $2800 per coin following its huge growth last year. Ethereum has also massively gone up in price with the peak of over $260/Ether. All of these are traded without a bank and, some say, may be the money of the future.

Hackathon

A lot of people wonder what is going on when they see a massive room full of geeks staring at computers for 48 hours. Unlike the name may suggest, this is not a place where you hack into other people’s data, but rather the place where you execute ideas using the latest tech. Hackathons are, generally, held on a weekend and tend to be accompanied by pizza and beers. And there is money to be won. A lot of money. One of the most generous ‘hackathons’ I have attended was held in Shanghai’s most expensive hotel, where we were given a 10-course lunch, one of the dishes contained seahorses, and there was $10,000 to be won. One of the teams was funded with three million dollars only ten days after the event.

Disruption

Change the game, preferably forever. Often this means dinosaurs (incumbents) out and new players in. It is a word used by startups or by investors who are looking for ‘disruptive ideas’ and is often seen as the only way startups can compete with massive corporations. Disruption is not competition, it’s mostly replacing a certain status quo. Companies such as Uber and AirBnB are good examples of being disruptive as they have created completely new type of services, over a traditional way of traveling by a cab or booking a hotel.

Yelena Kensborn,

a journalist and blogger focused on New Tech,

IoT and innovation. Read more of her articles

on www.kanesalley.com