Cryptocurrency can be complicated, especially for new users. The idea of virtual money is full of seemingly contradictory concepts and terms, and from an outsider’s point of view, it can all seem like gibberish.
The reality is that these terms reflect the evolution of this growing community. For a community that mostly exists on Reddit and chatrooms, terms like HODL and FUD have taken on a larger significance and show how this community opts to identify itself.
Here are some of the most popular crypt-slang and what they mean. Knowing this will not make you a crypto expert, but at least it will keep you from looking like a noob.
Example: “I’m going to HODL while the market takes a downturn.”
It is not uncommon for language to emerge from mistakes. With a community that largely exists in chatrooms and Reddit conversations, everything said matters.
In the early days of bitcoins, some random forum user on the Bitcoin Forum wrote a message where he/she misspelled the word “hold.” Not knowing if the misspelling is intentional or not, other forum users assumed that the spelling was intentional and went with it, creating a meme from it.
This is how “hold” became “HODL.” While there is some disagreement with “HODL” actually stands for, a safe bet id “Hold On for Dear Life.” To HODL is to take a position against selling despite the price collapsing. The idea of HODL is to preserve your market position, regardless of the current turbulence in the market.
HODLing was once considered to be wise advice, especially in the bitcoin market. Typically, every drop in the bitcoin market was met with a spike that saw the price of the coin multiply over the pre-dip price. However, since the “price correction” of early 2018, the price of bitcoin has yet to recover. It is unclear if it will ever recover (there are some that still believes a spike to $30,000 per coin is in the works), but HODLing current represents a calculated risk and a testament of faith.
Example: “It’s all FUD to say that bitcoin will not recover.”
Investing is an act of bravery. To be able to put your money into something as speculative as the crypto market sometimes makes as much sense as investing on the Mega Millions. Being able to play the market requires a sense of casual disregard.
The enemy of this is caution. FUD stands for “Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.” It represents having a moment of hesitation when it comes to the market. This can be hesitation in deciding to buy coins, hesitation in selling, hesitation in the future of the market, or hesitation in one’s capabilities in regards to crypto. The point is that fear, uncertainty, and doubt is somehow influencing your judgment, one way or another.
It is debatable if FUD is a good thing, a bad thing, or just a facet of decision-making. What can be bad is bad press from outside the crypto community influencing your decision. The way to deal with FUD is to take each decision seriously, take your time, and get all the information and research you need to make the right choice.
Example: “The price is dropping fast. There must be a whale selling.”
If you ever went whale watching, it is obvious when a whale is in the vicinity. The fish start to swim funny or just flee, there is an odd stillness in the air, and carrion-feasting birds are on patrol. Whales are not known for being discrete, and typically, they leave carnage and disturbance in their wake.
In investing, there are investors that move through the market like a whale at hunt. A whale is a major investor whose presence is significantly affecting the market. A whale on a buying spree can send the price rocketing, while a whale sending can crater the price. Whales are unpredictable and tend to exaggerate or redefine market trends by their presence.
Just like the fish in the ocean when a whale arrive, it is better to get out of the way. While chasing whales are a quick way to gain market position, doing so also exposes one to extreme risk. An important adage to remember is that if someone is making money, someone else must be losing that money.
Example: “How many sats are in your portfolio?”
When you buy bitcoin, it’s important to understand what is really going on. Just as the smallest unit of American currency is not the dollar, but the cent, the smallest unit of bitcoin is the satoshi, which is 0.00000001 bitcoin. Named after the anonymous founder of bitcoin, Nakamoto Satoshi, by Satoshi himself, satoshis or “sats” are typically how one buy bitcoins, as the price of bitcoin typically excludes the price of buying whole coins.
The bitcoin market typically track prices in satoshis versus dollars, so it is important to be familiar and comfortable with sats.
Pump and Dump
Example: “The market’s movement looks like a pump and dump.”
Bitcoin, within itself, is worthless. Its price is completely dependent on the demand that currently exist for the coin. If that demand can be artificially manipulated, one can – at least temporarily – raise the price. For a certain subset of investors, the name of the game is to make at much money as possible, even if it is illegal.
With the crypto community being virtual, that is shockingly easy. If you could, for example, get a group of people to hype an underperforming coin and build some momentum behind it, you can create a buying spree. If you knew when this will happen, you can buy the coin while it is cheap, let the buying spree happen, and sell at a profit right before the hype expires.
This is called a “pump and dump.” A savvy trader typically can predict when this is about to happen. When the price of a cheap coin jumps without some type of major news or without chatter from the forums, it is likely that someone is stocking up on the coin. It would make sense to watch the forums for talk of someone trying to create buzz. This small spike followed by a large spike is a typical pattern for “pump and dump.”
You can also pay analysts to clue you in to when a “pump and dump” will happen. Keep in mind this. Though: with allegations being laid that bitcoin was “pumped and dumped” by Binance, it is important to keep in mind that all of this affects everyone in the market and that everyone in the market can be a victim.
Mooning or To the Moon
Example: “Bitcoin is mooning!”
“Mooning” or “to the moon” means that a coin’s price is cresting, as with a temporary price spike. As the market is wildly turbulent, these spikes should be expected. However, some on social media tend to take small movements to be signs of larger patterns. Mooning is an example of this type of exaggeration.
Mooning can also be a part of the “hype machine” behind a “pump and dump.” If someone is crowing about a minor movement having significance, they are trying to encourage “fear of missing out” and are trying to create buyers’ panic.
It is important to recognize “mooning” from a real price spike. It is too dangerous and too exhausting to chase all of the minor motions in the market.
Example: “All of those bagholders after that pump and dump will be counting their sats for a while.”
While some terms require explanation, some are logical. Bagholders hold the bag, as in they are the investors left on the hook when the market takes a sudden downturn. This typically happens when someone “chases a spike,” which is to chase a price increase in the market. Due to the fact that the market moves so quickly, it is almost impossible to time your exit correctly, meaning that ne is likely to either miss the spike or overshoot it.
Sometimes, bagholders are “pump and dump” victims that bought into the hype of the “pump and dump,” but could not get out of the market fast enough to prevent loss. While a bagholder is unlikely to lose everything in one sitting, he/she will likely lose enough to learn it is better to develop an investment strategy than to invest on the spot.
Lambo or When Lambo
Example: “When are you going to Lambo off your portfolio?”
It’s embarrassing, actually, but many investors dream of being able to cash in big on crypto. In fact, it was this dream that fueled the crypto spike of 2017 that saw return-on-investments exceed 1,000 percent. The reality is that few people are in a position to actually get rich off of crypto – it requires being smart enough to create a world-class cryptocurrency, smart enough and patient enough to buy it when it is cheap and to hold on to it, or fortunate enough to come across it.
Despite this, the dream exist. “Lambo” or “when Lambo” is a question that translates into “when will you buy a Lamborghini?” To which, the answer to this for many is “never.”
Hyperbitcoinization or Bitcoin Maximalist
Example: “The bitcoin maximalist just spent five hours on how the world will be better once bitcoin has taken over.”
Blockchain or distributed ledgers – the technology behind bitcoin – is a marvelous invention. It basically allows for the decentralized storage and access of a database, without the need of a hosting server. The prospect for this technology is endless, from transparent voting systems to peer-to-peer lending and banking to assets management and recording. Imagine being able to set up a neighborhood car-sharing service from your phone – blockchains make this happen.
Blockchains, however, are in their infancy and have a lot to be ironed out before they can go mainstream. For example, every transaction that enters a blockchain must be recorded to every iteration of the blockchain. Similarly, every transaction must be verified by every version of the blockchain in a decentralized network. This takes time and a mindboggling amount of electricity. Strategies are in place to minimize this, but issues like consensus, management, and assurance of hashrate distribution will have to be solved before blockchains are ready for primetime.
This doesn’t stop some from seeing a world driven by blockchains. “Hyperbitcoinization” or “bitcoin maximalist” imagines a world where not only crypto has replaced national currencies, but where blockchains are a regular and integrated part of our lives.
Obsessive Cryptocurrency Disorder (OCD)
Example: “Put down the phone; you are totally OCD.”
It is easy to over-do something, especially when there is so much riding on it. Buying crypto is no different.
“Obsessive Cryptocurrency Disorder” is when an investor spends excessive amounts of time fretting over every market change affecting his coins. Spending hours watching the charts change, this is a progressive neurological compulsion that develops with time.
This can cause stress, illness, and even mental and emotional paralysis. It is important to maintain balance in your life and to not let worry about your portfolio drive you. A way to avoid this is to set up times where you can look at your portfolio in the day and stick with that schedule.
Example: “Stop bitshaming me for not being a millionaire.”
On May 22, 2010, Laslo Hanyecz, a Florida programmer, made history by paying 10,000 bitcoin for two Papa John’s pepperoni pizza. At the time, those 10,000 bitcoin were worth about $12. While that pizza purchase is remembered as being the most expensive in history at about $60 million in today’s dollars, one must remember that bitcoin really never $100 per coin until April 2013. Bitcoin’s growth was slow and tedious and only took off in light of runaway speculation in 2017.
For many of the old-timers that had large bitcoin stashes, being expected to be patient for something that had a likely chance of not happening was a big ask. Many of the large holders sold off their portfolios to invest in other coins, to take care of the flotsam of life, or just because they were bored. “Bitshaming” is the calling out of someone that should have been rich – have they held onto their coins or taken another path – that had the opportunity, in hindsight, to do so.
This is unfair as no one can predict the future and because everyone’s life is different. It I important to avoid bitshaming because it is possible that – in ten years’ time – someone may make you feel bad about your mistakes.
Example: “Did you see that nocoiner on the news badmouthing bitcoin?”
A “nocoiner” is a crypto community outsider that has no coins and no experience with coins. Typically, the name is used to mark cynics and skeptics that are believed to have no practical basis for their cynicism.
Example: “The altcoin market is healthy.”
This is an important and controversial term to understand. Altcoins technically means “bitcoin alternative coin.” When the term altcoin was minted, it was at a time that all crypto news surrounded bitcoin. As bitcoin was not the only coin around, “the rest” were collectively called “altcoins.” These originally were the bitcoin clones, but grew to include Ethereum, Ripple, and other protocol coins.
Today, altcoin is synonymous with cryptocurrency. This mean that bitcoin, by today’s definition, is an altcoin or a “bitcoin alternative coin.” This seems absurd, but as words tend to go in and out of fashion, this is the path this particular word took.
This is, however, open to discussion. Some will still say that there are bitcoins and altcoins, and a bitcoin is not an altcoin. But, this is a matter of debate.
Example: “That bagholder just got rekt.”
Derived from “wrecked,” “rekt” means that someone’s crypto portfolio has just been destroyed by a sudden downturn in the market or by a missed opportunity, such as selling off their coins before a price spike.
Example: “That bagholder wouldn’t be rekt if he DYOR.”
“DYOR” means “Do Your Own Research.” This is the first commandment in crypto investing. It is not acceptable to invest off of someone else’s research; it is expected that you would follow the forums, research the company, investigate the coin’s market trends and make a decision based on your own insight.
The rule of thumb is that you invest only what you can afford to lose. It is very likely that you will end up poorer for investing in the crypto market than richer. Given this, it is essential that you make the very best decision before committing your money, which means you will have to put in some work. Basically, being too lazy to DYOR will get you rekt.