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Welcome, Locksmith! Let’s start with getting the lay of the land with a few common terms you’ll see across the Unlock ecosystem.

Crypto Wallet
A digital wallet to hold your currencies, collectibles (eg, NTFs), and used to log into dApps (example: Metamask, Rainbow, Coinbase Wallet)
Acronym for Decentralized Autonomous Organization
Short for decentralized application.
A web app built by Unlock Labs for creating "Locks", managing "Keys", and more.
Short for decentralized finance.
Do your own research. Another way to say "don't take my word for it".
Factory Contract
A factory contract is a particular type of smart contract that creates other smart contracts.
In the Unlock ecosystem, a “Key” is an NFT (minted by a Lock) that has additional features added to it to facilitate the management of memberships, such as an expiration date.
Key Manager
An assigned title set on an Unlock key which gives a specific wallet address authorization to transfer, share or cancel.
In the Unlock ecosystem, a “Lock” is a smart contract that creates (or “mints”) NFTs. Locks also can be used to ensure “members-only” access to resources like online content, live events, online certifications, or other “members-only” experiences.
Lock Manager
An assigned role set on a Lock contract which gives the highest level of permissions to the wallet address set to that role.
The name of the API backend service built by the Unlock Labs team and which offers optional features such as metadata-hosting, credit card payments... It is also how we sometimes call community member or builder in the Unlock ecosystem.
A membership is a connection between a creator, brand or project and a fan or community member. A membership usual confers benefits or special access to those who hold it. Members can also connect directly with each other.
An NFT (or “non-fungible token”) is a specific kind of digital asset that is unique and can’t be duplicated or counterfeited. NFTs are uniquely suited to act as “digital membership cards.”
The Paywall is a web application which provides a user interface allowing people to purchase keys to given locks and easily lock or unlock content on a web page based on the ownership of those keys.
A protocol is an open-source collection of code that typically solves a specific problem (e.g. transferring information online or, in Unlock’s case, creating and managing memberships and subscriptions). Most notably, open-source protocols can be used by anyone without the need to ask for permission and can be combined with other protocols (in the same manner as LEGO bricks) to create more sophisticated systems.
A “platform” is a set of online services. In stark contrast to open protocols, a platform is often owned or managed by a corporation or other entity that can change its terms of use, functionality, or access at any time. Platforms can make changes without user consent or involvement.
An assigned role on an Unlock "Lock" contract which is a wallet address who will receive a portion of membership income. Can be used for many different monetization options such as affiliate or platform fees.
Smart Contract
A smart contract is a piece of code that is deployed and runs on a blockchain. Smart contracts are executable programs.
A subscription is a recurring or renewable membership that has a time component to it. After expiration, the subscription (and therefore the access to membership benefits) expires.
Unlock Discount Token which is granted as rewards upon key purchase to an address designated in the key purchase call. Currently used for
governance votes.
The next stage of the internet, following Web 2.0, which is more decentralized and built with blockchain and other decentralized networks.