top of page

Glossary of Blockchains aka Virtual Currency Terms by UN (UN Office on Drugs and Crime)

1 Glossary of Terms

Please note that the definitions of terms provided in this glossary are for informational purposes only and are only applicable in the context of UN manuals.

Administrating Authority

See Centralized Virtual Currency


A decentralized, peer-to-peer payment network that is powered by its users with no central authority or middlemen.

Block Chain

A public ledger of transactions maintained by certain types of decentralised virtual currencies (e.g. Bitcoin)

Centralised Virtual Currency

Centralised virtual currencies have a single administrating authority (administrator) i.e. a third party that controls the system. An administrator issues the currency; establishes the rules for its use; maintains a central payment ledger; and has authority to redeem the currency (withdraw it from circulation). The exchange rate for a convertible virtual currency may either be floating - i.e. determined by market demand for the virtual currency - or pegged - i.e. fixed by the administrator at a set value, such as gold or a basket of currencies.

Closed Virtual Currency

See non-convertible virtual currency

Computer-related Fraud

An assimilative offence that tailors traditional fraud offences to the environment of information and communications technology.

Computer Security Incident Response Team

Computer Security Incident Response Teams are specialist groups that mostly focus on prevention, handling and mitigation of consequences of cyber-security incidents.

Consumer Protection

The set of rules protecting the rights of consumers entitling them to a reasonable standard of goods and services received, and protecting them from unfair and unjust business practices.

Convertible Virtual Currency

Convertible virtual currency has an equivalent value in real currency and can be exchanged back-and-forth for real currency.

Crypto Currencies

See decentralised virtual currencies


See Computer Security Incident Response Team

Currency Exchangers

See virtual currency exchange


A concept that denotes both offences against computer data and systems, namely, offences against confidentiality, integrity and availability of data and systems, as well as offences committed by means of computer data and systems.

Data Interference

The offence of data interference aims to protect integrity and proper functioning or use of stored computer data or computer programs against damaging, deletion, deterioration, alteration or suppression of computer data without right.

Decentralised Virtual Currencies

Decentralised virtual currencies are distributed, open-source, peer-to-peer digital currencies that have no central administrating authority and no central monitoring or oversight.

Digital Currency

Digital currency is a digital representation of either virtual currency (non-fiat) or e-money (fiat).


A virtual currency established in 1996 that allowed users to open an account with a value denominated in grams of gold (or other precious metals) and the ability to make instant transfers of value to other E-Gold accounts. Shut down by the US courts in 2007.


See electronic money

Electronic Evidence

Information generated, stored or transmitted using electronic devices that may be relied upon in court.

Electronic Money

A digital representation of fiat currency used to electronically transfer value denominated in fiat currency. Electronic money is a digital transfer mechanism for fiat currency - i.e. it electronically transfers value that has legal tender status.

Fiat Currency

The coin and paper money of a country that is designated as its legal tender, circulates and is customarily used and accepted as a medium of exchange in the issuing country.

Financial Intelligence Unit

Financial Intelligence Units are specialised supervision agencies that receive reports of suspicious transactions from financial institutions and other persons and entities, analyse them, and disseminate the resulting intelligence to local law enforcement agencies and foreign Financial Intelligence Units to combat money-laundering.


Temporarily prohibiting the transfer, conversion, disposition or movement of property. Contrast with seizure, which allows a competent authority or court to take control of the specified property.

Illegal Access

The basic offence of threats to and attacks against the security (i.e. confidentiality, integrity and availability) of computer systems and data.


The final stage of a money-laundering scheme which represents the return of the funds to the legal economy. See also money-laundering, placement and layering.

Linden Dollars

A convertible, centralised virtual currency for use in the online virtual world "Second Life"


The process by which criminals disguise the original ownership and control of the proceeds of criminal conduct by making such proceeds appear to have derived from a legitimate source.

Monitoring Order

An order issued by the competent authority, directed at a financial institution, requiring disclosure to an authorized person of information concerning transactions carried out through an account held with the institution by a person named in the order.

Non-convertible Virtual Currency

Non-convertible virtual currency is specific to a particular virtual domain or world, such as a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) or Amazon, and cannot be exchanged for fiat currency under the rules governing its use.

Virtual Currency

A virtual currency is a digital representation of value that can be traded on the Internet as (1) a medium of exchange; and/or (2) a unit of account; and/or (3) a store of value, but does not have legal tender status in any jurisdiction.

Virtual Currency Exchange

An organisation that offers to buy or sell, or facilitate the buying and selling, of virtual currency in exchange for either fiat currency or other virtual currencies.

* * * * * * *

This List is not completed. If you need a Consultation, please book here


bottom of page