If you’re confused about crypto lingo, you’re not alone. Crypto enthusiasts use a wide array of slang terms. These terms have become so popular that some mainstream media outlets have started using them. People in forums, Twitter, Reddit and other hubs of cryptocurrency conversation use so much slang that decrypting a crypto gabfest is hard when you’re new to the community.
As someone put it on Reddit:
“I remember the first time i came on here, i saw FUD, FOMO, ATH, and HODL all in almost one sentence… i was very thrown off. On top of that, i was overwhelmed by the amount of coin acronyms the sub used.”
If you can relate to that sentiment, you’ve found the right resource. Read on for definitions for all the main crypto slang and vocabulary.
Positive Crypto Slang Terms
Some pundits, bloggers and commentators go to the extremes when they discuss cryptocurrency. If prices are rising, utopia predictions abound. In bear markets, panic takes over. Here are some common terms you might run across when positive developments occur in the space.
- Example: Market conditions look good. I’m AFI on bitcoin right now.
This acronym stands for “All F’n In.” Purveyors of new crypto coins sometimes use this one when promoting their projects in cryptocurrency forums. Investors may use it when they are excited about a coin’s potential.
- Example: I heard that this new cryptocurrency project plans to airdrop 20 tokens to all of its Twitter followers.
An airdrop is when a new cryptocurrency project gives away tokens or coins for free. Airdrops drum up interest in new cryptocurrency projects. The goal is to reel in new users and get a new cryptocoin into circulation.
Though the concept of getting something for nothing may seem far-fetched, real opportunities are out there. Some full time airdrop collectors apparently make hundreds of dollars a month. On the other hand, the lack of rules and regulations around airdrops has created a virtual playground for scammers and hackers– so be sure to exercise due diligence if you attempt to collect an airdrop offer.
- Example: The price of bitcoin recently reached an ATH.
Like many slang terms that cryptocurrency traders use, ATH (short for All Time High) may have been originally conceived by stock brokers. The highest rated definition for ATH on Urban Dictionary contains the following usage example:
Phil: “Mo, I think my account reached an ATH today.”
Mo: “What’d you expect, brozay? Stick with me and you’ll be trading on the beaches of the Caribbean, being fed grapes by the most voluptuous women around.”
- Example: This new coin may cause hardcore bitcoin maximalists to reconsider.
Bitcoin maximalists believe that the cryptocurrency revolution will be led by the bitcoin development team. Those who follow this line of reasoning tend to look down on other crypto coins or view them with suspicion. Others, however, believe that alternative crypto coins also have a key role to play.
Ethereum mastermind Vitalik Buterin argued against bitcoin maximalism in a 2014 blog post:
“The idea that an environment of multiple competing cryptocurrencies is undesirable, that it is wrong to launch ‘yet another coin,’ and that it is both righteous and inevitable that the bitcoin currency comes to take a monopoly position in the cryptocurrency scene.”
- Example: Just because prices are low doesn’t mean that it’s time to sell out. Man up and BTFD!
BTFD stands for “buy the f’n dip.” When an asset takes a short-term price dive, those who invested during the downturn will wind up with even more money when prices go back up again. Garrett Hoffman– the Director of Data Science at StockTwits– wrote that the term originated in the “social finance-verse” in 2011. Some crypto traders also use the term.
- Example: Don’t worry about day-to-day price fluctuations– just buy and HODL.
HODL is an acronym that means “hold on for dear life.” Crypto bulls– investors that believe the price of bitcoin and other cryptos will eventually skyrocket– sometimes use the term HODL to encourage others to hang on to their assets during price dips.
Business Insider traced the origins of HODL to a December 2013 post from Bitcoin Forum user GameKyuubi. The subject of the post was: I AM HODLING.
“GF’s out at a lesbian bar, BTC crashing WHY AM I HOLDING? I’LL TELL YOU WHY. It’s because I’m a bad trader and I KNOW I’M A BAD TRADER.”
At the end of the post, GameKyuubi claimed to be drunk on whiskey. There’s no way to tell sure if the post was an authentic rant or just a satirical goof. Regardless, the post was attention-grabbing enough to spawn the HODL meme.
Lambo / When lambo?
- Example: Do you think bitcoin will lambo again next year?
“Lambo” can be used in a variety of different ways to suggest that the price of a coin will skyrocket.
The term (short for Lamborghini) came into fashion last year, after the soaring price of bitcoin created a slew of crypto millionaires. Many crypto investors that profited from the spike bought Lamborghinis– and some Lamborghini sellers even started accepting bitcoin payments.
Mooning / to the moon
- Example: All technical indicators suggest that bitcoin is about to moon again.
Proponents of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies often claim that the potential for cryptocurrency gains is exponential. If a cryptocoin is said to be “mooning” or going “to the moon,” that means that its price is going up.
- Example: Sudden hyperbitcoinization will cause the dollar to lose its monetary value overnight.
Crypto proponents that believe in hyperbitcoinization are like bitcoin maximalists, only they’re more extreme. They think that the shift away from alternative cryptocoins (and government-issued currencies, as well) will happen rapidly, rather than gradually.
A blog post from The Nakamoto Institute explains the hyperbitcoinization concept in detail:
“A hyperbitcoinization event will be much quicker than a hyperinflation event. I have two reasons for this. First, the government will have a much greater difficulty preventing bitcoins from entering the country due to the impotency of capital controls upon it. Second, hyperinflation is inherently an attempt to fool people, whereas hyperbitcoinization is quite regular and predictable (at least by comparison). Therefore people will more easily see that they had better switch over.”
- Example: After the Flippening happens, the price of bitcoin will plummet and a superior altcoin will take its place.
Crypto pundits that predict that a Flippening will occur take the opposite point of view of bitcoin maximalists. They believe that one or more alternative cryptos will eventually overtake bitcoin. The Flippening believers often point to the success of Ethereum to back up their point of view. There are now hundreds of tokens that run on the Ethereum network. The Ethereum market is now worth over $23,000,000,000, according to CoinMarketCap.
This is gentlemen
- Example: We’re all about to get rich, everyone. THIS IS GENTLEMEN.
Sometimes this meme is used when something truly remarkable is about to happen. Other times, it’s used a comical way to exaggerate some minor positive outcome. Whoever inspired the term likely made a typo when attempting to write “This is it, gentlemen” in a message board post.
Negative Crypto Slang Terms
These are some slang terms you might run into when crypto markets are tanking.
- Example: Don’t try to short bitcoin. You’ll get Ashdraked every time.
“There once was a trader who went by the handle Lord Ashdrake. He was a Romanian programmer, and was a prolific force during the nuclear Bitcoin winter in 2014 and 2015. His skill was shorting Bitcoin, and that strategy worked like a charm until it didn’t. When Bitcoin finally broke and held $300, Ashdrake performed his usual action of shorting Bitcoin. Unfortunately, this time the price continued through $300 to $500, and almost touched $600 in under two months. Ashdrake completely blew up his account to the point where he could no longer trade Bitcoin.”
- Example: “This coin is a scam. Everyone who buys it is at risk of becoming a bagholder.”
“Bagholder” is a twist on the old expression “left holding the bag.” In crypto and other financial markets, the victims of frauds are often referred to as bagholders.
- Example: After a bearwhale investor sold all of his bitcoin assets, all the crypto markets crashed.
A crypto whale is a big money crypto investor. A bearwhale, however, is a whale that causes a cryptocoin to take a nosedive. CNBC picked up on the term when the price of bitcoin dropped back in 2014.
- Example: If you write about bitcoin for a living but you’re not a millionaire, don’t tell anyone. You might get bitshamed.
Crypto experts that sold early and consequently aren’t multi-millionaires may be subject to “bitshaming.” The term seems to have originated when “Bitcoin Jesus” Roger Ver criticized well-known crypto developer Andreas Antonopoulos on Twitter.
- Example: My crypto portfolio took a beating yesterday. Thanks a lot, Choyna!
Choyna is an intentional misspelling of China. Many crypto traders resent the huge impact that China’s policy announcements often have on crypto markets.
stolen from @ToneVays
— #BrotoshiMoku (@CarpeNoctom) September 15, 2017
- Example: “That crypto project’s website looks like it was created in five minutes. It’s probably an exit scam.”
Purveyors of exit scams attempt to lure in as many investors as they can. Then, instead of delivering on their promises, they close down overnight and vanish. DeadCoins is a resource for learning more about exit scams and extinct coins.
- Example: Don’t let your FOMO cause you to make a bad crypto decision. Always do your homework before you invest.
FOMO stands for “fear of missing out.” Crypto investors sometimes invest in coins that seem promising but turn out to be scams. Their main motivation: they don’t want to miss out on the next huge crypto rally.
- Example: “After hackers broke into the exchange, FUD drove down crypto prices.”
FUD stands for Fear Uncertainty and Doubt. Events like publicized hacks and efforts by governmental authorities to crack down on crypto can trigger FUD in crypto markets. People or entities that intentionally or unintentionally spread FUD are sometimes referred to as FUDsters.
- Example: “Stubborn nocoiners are preventing bitcoin from realizing its full potential.”
The term nocoiner has two main meanings:
- Someone who doesn’t own any cryptos.
- Someone who has a negative view of the cryptocurrency industry.
This editorial from CoinDesk posits that nocoiners of the second variety should open their minds to crypto’s potential.
OCD (Obsessive Cryptocurrency Disorder)
- Example: Every time I get a crypto news alert I have to check it. I think I have OCD.
If you can’t stop thinking about your crypto assets, you might have Obsessive Cryptocurrency Disorder. Though the term is always used in a tongue-in-cheek way, JP Buntinx of NullTX claims that it’s a “real thing.”
Pump and Dump
Example: “This coin shows every indication of being a classic pump and dump.”
Pump and dump scams are perpetrated by groups of immoral crypto investors. They work behind the scenes to artificially raise the price of a coin. Then, once the coin has reached their target price level, they quickly sell all their assets. When the price drops, everyone who was lured into buying the coin on the rise is left holding the bag.
- Example: “Everyone who bought BitConnect ended up getting rekt.”
When a crypto trader says that they got rekt, that means that they made a bad move and lost a large amount of money. It’s an intentional misspelling of the word “wrecked.”
- Example: “This crypto exchange has lots of five-star reviews, but all the reviewers are probably shills.”
A shill is someone who helps or gives credibility to a crypto project without disclosing that they are on the project’s payroll. Actor Steven Seagal was accused of being a shill when he promoted a crypto project called Bitcoiin2Gen. Anonymous shills deliver their vague praise through anonymous “sock puppet” social media accounts.
- Example: “A new blockchain project claims that it will change the way the internet works, but so far all they’ve managed to deliver is vaporware.”
Projects that are great at marketing– and that’s pretty much all they’re great at– are only capable of producing empty promises, or vaporware.
Neutral Crypto Slang Terms
If you’ve ever visited the Bitcoin Talk forum, you may have noticed that some of the posts there are tagged with “ANN.” This means that the post is an announcement.
Since bitcoin’s inception, developers have been feuding about how the cryptocurrency should work. One of the major disagreements involves bitcoin’s block size.
Bitcoin blocks resemble pages of a traditional ledger. Every so often, a new block gets added to the blockchain. Some bitcoin developers favor large blocks, but others favor small blocks. Those that favor large blocks are sometimes called “Big Blockers.”
More information about the bitcoin block debate is available here.
Many of the developers that helped create bitcoin nicknamed themselves cypherpunks. The use of the term dates all the way back to 1992. The group’s Cyphernomicon manifesto contains a rationale for the name:
“The advantages of the name are clear. For one thing, many people are bored by staid names. For another, it gets us noticed by journalists and others. We are actually not very “punkish” at all.”
DYOR stands for Do Your Own Research. The wild and wooly nature of the cryptocurrency industry means that exercising due diligence is a must.
Sats refers to the smallest amount of bitcoin that can be transmitted– a Satoshi. The Satoshi is named after bitcoin’s anonymous creator (or possibly, group of creators)– Satoshi Nakamoto.
WTS, WTT & WTB
If you’ve ever visited a crypto-collectible forum, you have may have seen posts tagged with WTS, WTT or WTB. WTS means Want To Sell. WTT equates to Want To Trade. Finally, WTB is– you guessed it– Want To Buy. Learn more about crypto-collectibles at the link below.