This glossary is divided in two sections, the first one concerns Tezos, and the second one concerns the economic protocol. The definitions in the latter section may be different for other protocol versions.
The Tezos blockchain is a linked list of blocks (or actually, a tree when several competing branches exist). Blocks conceptually contain a header and a list of Operations, which are specific to the economic protocol.
The header itself decomposes into a shell header (common to all protocols) and a protocol-specific header. The shell header contains protocol-agnostic data such as the block predecessor’s hash and the block’s timestamp.
The state of the blockchain. The context is defined by the economic protocol and typically includes information such as “this account is credited with this many tez” and “this is the code for that smart contract.”
- Economic protocol
In Tezos, the economic protocol can be upgraded without interruption or forking of the blockchain. The procedure for an upgrade is defined within the economic protocol itself so it can be upgraded as well.
- Fitness (a.k.a. score, a.k.a. weight)
To each block, we associate a fitness which determines the quality of the chain leading to that block. This measure is computed by the consensus protocol. The shell changes the head of the chain to the valid block that has the highest fitness.
- Level (a.k.a. height)
The position of a block in the chain, that is, the number of blocks since the genesis block, where the genesis block is at level 0.
A metadata, or operation’s metadata, is a piece of data associated to an Operation. It is computed as a result of the application of the operation included in a block on its associated context. The metadata consists in many information such as the operation receipts, rewards updates, voting period, etc.
A block’s metadata is the collections of operations metadata for all the operations included in the block (if the validation was successful).
For a detailed metadata content check the RPCs - Reference under the prefix
A peer in the P2P network. It maintains a local state and propagates blocks and operations.
The shell is a software component of the node. It is parameterized by a specific economic protocol. It serves as the bridge between the P2P layer (handling communication between nodes) and the economic protocol layer (handling the context, operation application, scoring, etc.).
When a delegate attempts to inject several incompatible blocks (or when it tries to abuse the network in another similar way), another delegate can make an accusation: show evidence of attempted abuse. The delegate making the accusation is the accuser.
The accuser is awarded some funds from the security deposit of the accused.
When using Octez, accusations are handled by the accuser binary.
In the context, each account is associated with a balance (an amount of tez available).
When a delegate creates a new block, it is the baker of this block. Baking rights are distributed to different accounts based on their available balance. Only a delegate with baking rights is allowed to bake. The baker selects transactions from the mempool to be included in the block it bakes.
- Baking/endorsing rights
A delegate is allowed to bake/endorse a block if it holds the baking/endorsing right for that block. At the start of a cycle, baking and endorsing rights are computed for all the block levels in the cycle, based on the proportion of the stake owned by each account.
When a block is created and propagated on the network, delegates that have endorsing rights for the matching block level can emit an endorsement operation. Endorsement operations are included in the next block.
To ensure responsible use of the storage space on the public blockchain, there are some costs charged to users for consuming storage. These costs are burnt (i.e., the amount of tez is destroyed). For example, a per-byte storage cost is burnt for increasing the storage space of a smart contract; a fixed amount is burnt for allocating a new contract (which consumes space by storing its address on the blockchain).
See also fee.
Protocols are parameterized by several parameters called protocol constants, which may vary from one protocol to another or from one network to another.
Cycles are used as a unit of “time” in the block chain. For example, the different phases in the amendment voting procedures are defined based on cycles.
An implicit account to which an account has delegated their rights to participate in consensus (aka baking rights) and in governance. The delegate’s rights are calculated based on its own tokens plus the sum of tokens delegated to it.
- Double signing
When a baker signs two different blocks at the same level and same round, it is called double baking. Double baking is detrimental to the network and might be indicative of an attempt to double spend. The same goes for signing two different endorsements at the same level and the same round. As such, double signing is punished by the network: an accuser can provide proof of the double signing to be awarded part of the double signer’s deposit.
To ensure responsible use of computation resources of other nodes, and also to encourage active participation in the consensus protocol, there are some fees that users pay to bakers for including their operations in blocks. For example, fees are paid to a baker for operations such as a transaction or a revelation of a public key.
See also burn.
- Implicit account
The address of an implicit account always starts with the letters tz followed by 1, 2 or 3 (depending on the signature scheme) and finally the hash of the public key.
The built-in language used by a smart contract.
The main operations in the protocol are transactions (to transfer funds or to execute smart contracts), accusations, activations, delegations, endorsements and originations.
- Originated account
See smart contract.
An attempt to reach consensus on a block at a given level. A round is represented by an index, starting with 0. Each round corresponds to a time span. A baker with baking rights at a given round is only allowed to bake during the round’s corresponding time span. Baking outside of one’s designated round results in an invalid block.
An amount of tez (e.g., 6000ꜩ) serving as a minimal amount for a delegate to have baking and voting rights in a cycle. A roll also serves as a unit to determine delegates’ voting rights in a cycle. However, rolls are not used as a unit for baking rights, these are based on the actual, non-approximated stake.
- Smart contract
Account which is associated to a Michelson script. They are created with an explicit origination operation and are therefore sometimes called originated accounts. The address of a smart contract always starts with the letters
- Voting period
Any of the
adoptionstages in the voting procedure when amending the economic protocol.
- Voting listings
The list calculated at the beginning of each voting period that contains the staking balance of each delegate that owns more than one roll at that moment. For each delegate, the voting listings reflects the weight of the vote emitted by the delegate when amending the economic protocol.