What emerged with the appearance of Bitcoin in 2009 as an obscure, almost unnoticed tech novelty has since exploded into an entire world with its own rules, heroes, myths — and its own slang, of course. Some of these new terms are easy to understand, but others may seem cryptic to newcomers.
That’s why we’ve compiled this glossary with the most usable crypto slang terms that can help you fit in the crypto crowd in no time.
FOMO stands for ‘fear of missing out’, a common fear for many traders. When markets are on the rise, it’s pretty difficult not to jump into some random project just because you are afraid to miss the next big thing. Sometimes it works.
This acronym dates back to early Bitcoin forums. Basically, it’s the word ‘hold’ spelled wrong. Used ironically, HODL is a call to hold your tokens instead of selling them, no matter how volatile the market may be. It’s probably the most widely used word in crypto currency slang nowadays.
FUD stands for ‘fear, uncertainty, and doubt’ and is usually used as an answer to any criticism of a certain project. FUD is considered an enemy propaganda strategy that aims to sow discontent and lower the price.
Shills are basically the opposite of FUD-spreaders. They pretend to support the project and encourage people to invest in it, but they prefer not to mention that they’ve been paid by an interested party to do so.
A distortion of the word ‘wrecked’, describing a major loss or another unpleasant situation. When you fall victim of your FOMO and lose money, you’re rekt — simple as that.
Sats is short for satoshis, the smallest sub-units of Bitcoin that equal 0.00000001 BTC. This crypto slang is usually used to emphasize that true enthusiasts count in satoshis, not dollars (meaning they don’t think about cashing out into fiat).
A whale is a major player on the market who owns a significant portion of certain tokens. Whales can seriously influence supply: if they decide to sell their lot, the price will probably plummet.
Pump and Dump
‘Pump and dump’ is a common scam scheme where traders coordinate their efforts to inflate the price of some token. Small-cap altcoins are especially vulnerable. The traders use all kinds of available channels to promote the coin and convince people to buy it — it’s the Pump part. Once the price hits some certain level, they cash out, leaving unlucky scam victims with now-useless assets behind — that’s the Dump part.
Bagholders are unlucky investors who are left with depreciated tokens they don’t want. They refuse to sell these tokens for the current price (if anybody still wants to buy them at all), but they can’t hope for the value to rise either.
Important: A lot of bagholders are a frequent result of a successful Pump & Dump scheme.
Lambo is short for Lamborghini, a symbol of enormous wealth. Investors say ‘When Lambo?’ to ask when the value of a certain token will increase enough for them to buy a Lambo with their profits.
Flippening is a portmanteau of ‘flip’ and ‘happening’. It’s the anticipated event when the Ethereum market cap becomes larger than that of Bitcoin. This has not happened before.
No coiners are people who don’t have any coins, in other words any people outside the community, especially those who actively criticize cryptocurrencies.
Vaporwave is a project that exists only as a vague concept. If you are investing in a project that doesn’t have any actual implementation yet, that’s vaporwave.
BTD/BTFD means ‘buy the dip’ or ‘buy the f— dip’. These phrases are used to urge people to buy a token that has recently seen a serious decline in value but is expected to recover soon.
Important: While it may be a dip, it may be the beginning of the end as well.
Cryptosis is an unhealthy preoccupation with learning more and more about cryptocurrencies in general.
KYC stands for ‘know your customer’ and refers to different ID checks performed by exchanges for security reasons. While you can use decentralized protocols anonymously, you’ll still have to verify your identity when cashing out.
Airdrops are a form of token distribution. This way, tokens are given out for free to make the currency more popular and reward the community. Sometimes it’s done in exchange for sharing a piece of info about the project with others.
Altcoin is any other coin besides BTC, the first and the most popular modern cryptocurrency.
ATH stands for ‘all-time high’ and means the highest historical price level of a certain coin.
Cryptojacking is getting unauthorized access to someone’s computer to mine cryptocurrency. Hackers spreading viruses online that secretly mine BTC on infected computers can definitely be called cryptojackers.
Moon or Mooning
When the market price of a specific token steadily grows, especially for a long time, investors say it’s ‘mooning’ or ‘going to the moon’.
Scamcoins are basically fake coins created to steal money from unsuspecting investors.
Ardent proponents of a project say that traders who don’t believe in the token and sell at a loss have weak hands: they literally can’t HODL the asset.
Addy is short for ‘address’ and refers to the public address of a crypto wallet.
Bears are traders who expect the market to go down, usually to buy cheap. A market that declines for a prolonged time period is called bearish. It’s the one of the crypto slang terms that are common to all traders.
Market capitalization is the total value of a cryptocurrency in dollars. It includes all mined coins and shows the popularity or stability of a certain asset.
ICO stands for ‘initial coin offering’, an event when the first tokens of a new project are offered to be purchased. Think of it as a sort of IPO, but for cryptocurrencies.
NFTs are non-fungible tokens, unique digital assets that can be used to represent your right for the asset like a song or a painting. Some games are using NFTs as in-game items now. You can freely buy and sell them on marketplaces.
DeFi is short for ‘decentralized finance’ and refers to specialized cryptocurrency protocols applied to create a variety of financial services. Decentralization means that even the developers of such services can’t influence their work or access the funds staked within the protocol. Instead, built-in algorithms and common users decide how these funds are processed.
DEXes are decentralized exchanges that use smart contracts to process transactions. These exchanges are a common application of DeFi technologies. CEXes are centralized exchanges where transactions are processed by an intermediary that takes a portion of fees as its share.
DAO stands for ‘decentralized autonomous organization’. These blockchain entities are created to unite people sharing common goals without any central authority. All tokenholders can cast votes to determine how their DAO operates.
Gas is a fee required to process a transaction or make a smart contract work on the Ethereum blockchain. Measured in ETH, this fee is a way to compensate Ethereum miners for their efforts.
Diamond Hands & Paper Hands
One of the most popular terms in our crypto slang list, these refers to two types of investors. People with diamond hands are willing to hold onto an asset no matter how the price behaves. On the contrary, those with paper (weak) hands sell that asset as soon as it depreciates a little.
Laser eyes is a viral Twitter meme. In 2021, some Bitcoin enthusiasts started adding laser eyes to their profile pic. Many celebrities, including Paris Hilton and Elon Musk, have participated in the campaign. However, the genuine crypto slang meaning behind this meme is still unknown, but it has something to do with ‘seeing through’ the market.
Memecoins are basically cryptocurrencies based on memes. Created as a joke in 2013, Dogecoin (DOGE) was the first memecoin. It inspired a variety of others like AKITA, SHIB, and so on.
Why Use Crypto Slang?
The crypto universe is a brand-new world with its own unique features. These features need names, and crypto traders seem to be quite inventive: as you can see, our 2022 crypto slang glossary includes dozens of terms — yet it covers a tiny portion of them, only the most important ones.
Moreover, using crypto slang helps crypto investors build and support their identity as a group. In this digital world, much depends on trust and willpower, and this based crypto slang allows enthusiasts to feel more confident and recognize like-minded people.