The world of crypto today is filled with jargon and slang terms. If you’re not already familiar with these terms, they can make the digital currency world all but impossible to understand. Here are some of the top phrases in crypto slang you should know to navigate the digital currency market in 2022.
A bagholder is crypto slang for an investor who never sells their assets, even if those assets depreciate to the point of being completely worthless. Bagholders may refuse to sell due to a belief that future gains will outweigh current losses. In some cases, they are simply people who do not actively track their investments and lose money without even realizing it.
Bagholders can also realize large gains. Individuals who bought Bitcoin early on and neglected their holdings for years are also considered bagholders. The distinction between a bagholder and a HODLer can be somewhat murky when used in this sense.
As you can see, crypto slang can be nuanced and, in some cases, a bit confusing. Knowing these essential slang terms will help you make sense of most of the digital currency world and its colorful terminology.
Bears are characterized by prolonged price declines, sometimes to the point where there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. FUD sensationalists often feed on the bearish market, spreading mass hysteria with doom and gloom talks of ‘bursting the crypto bubble’ or ‘crypto winter’.
Some seasoned crypto investors firmly believe that the bear market is where life-changing money is made since investors have the chance to buy the dip and cash in big with a returning bull run. As legendary investor Warren Buffet once shared, ‘when there’s blood on the streets, you buy.’
The polar opposite of bear markets, a bull run in the crypto world works the same way as any other market, represented by a steady succession of green candles. Bull runs generally show an uptrend in coin value within a short period. The positive trend motivates crypto investors to buy in large quantities, as opposed to bear markets where many abandon their portfolios rather than HODL-ing on.
You will likely see more bull runs in the crypto space compared to traditional markets due to its smaller size and volatility. As a rule of thumb, bull runs usually involve a price spike of 20 percent or more from a crypto asset’s low point.
While investment gurus may link a traditional bull run with economic patterns (e.g., low unemployment), it’s less straightforward for crypto since prices usually shift based on speculation. As the saying goes, “buy the rumor, sell the news”.
“Diamond hands” is a phrase used to describe having a high tolerance for risk amid pressure to sell. The term often describes investors who refuse to sell their assets during highly volatile periods, even though selling would allow them to realize huge profits. Conversely, it can also describe those who refuse to cut their losses during downturns. Although it is widely used as crypto slang today, the term likely originated on the WallStreetBets Reddit forum.
In some cases, having diamond hands also indicates a personal attachment to an asset’s success. In the case of crypto, an investor with diamond hands might continue holding because they personally support crypto as an alternative to government fiat. In the case of stocks, investors sometimes hold assets to inflict losses on institutional investors with short positions. This was the case during the Gamestop stock frenzy.
Flippening in its loosest sense is when an underdog cryptocurrency or protocol overtakes a larger and more established competitor in the market. In its original form, flippening refers to the predicted moment when Ethereum replaces Bitcoin BTC as the daddy of all cryptocurrencies. The term ‘flippening’ was coined sometime in 2017 and still sees occasional use, usually in response to the on-off plunges of BTC’s market cap.
Some crypto pundits have gone so far as to theorize the possibilities of an imminent flippening, by promoting the design advantages of altcoins while discrediting BTC as a relic.
FOMO, or “fear of missing out,” describes a concern that a person might miss out on something others take advantage of. FOMO drives many behaviors in the crypto world. When digital currencies are at record highs, FOMO often drives new investors into the market in hopes of getting in on the profits.
FOMO can also cause investors to hold coins in the hope of higher future prices rather than sell to lock in large profits. FOMO is at play when crypto investors act irrationally for fear that more conservative decisions could cause them to miss potential gains.
FUD is an acronym that stands for “fear, uncertainty, and doubt.” In a broad sense, FUD is crypto slang for any criticism of the growth and effects of digital currencies. Worries about environmental impacts, concerns over usage associated with ransomware, and fears of eventual price collapse are all examples of FUD. Generally, FUD is a term used by crypto bulls to dismiss such concerns.
HODL is a misspelling of the word “hold,” but can also stand as an acronym for “hold on for dear life.” The term originated in a now-famous forum post made in 2013 in the midst of an extremely volatile period in the price of Bitcoin. Since then, it has become one of the best-known pieces of crypto slang.
HODLing is a widely used term for holding on to digital currency assets during large price swings. For some HODLers, it simply means holding onto the assets despite price declines. Others take the concept farther, insisting on keeping their coins until digital money eventually replaces government-issued fiat currency.
Laser eyes is a term that emerged from a crypto meme that sometimes accompanied the viral hashtag #LaserRayUntil (insert predicted crypto amount). The meme shows a character blasting laser beams from its eyes, often with an expression of intense concentration. It could be a passing reference to the classic term ‘laser focus’, referring to how a person obsesses over the bullish run of their crypto investment, refreshing their crypto app at every alternate minute.
Meme coins are alternative digital currencies that started as references to popular internet memes. The most prominent example, Dogecoin, was meant to reference the once-popular Doge meme format. Other examples include Loser Coin, Baguette Token, and Pepe Cash.
Initially, meme coins are largely meant to be seen as jokes. In some cases, though, investor enthusiasm can inflate their prices and produce massive gains for the buyers who got in early enough. For example, a $1,000 position in Dogecoin started on January 1, 2021, would have been worth over $121,000 by early May.
To The Moon (Mooning)
“Going to the moon” is a crypto slang phrase used to describe a digital currency whose price is rising exponentially. A related term, “mooning,” describes the point at which the currency’s price has peaked. Ideally, a crypto investor should sell their coins when an asset is mooning so as to get the highest possible price before a reversal. Like many crypto terms, the phrase was first applied to Bitcoin BTC but has since expanded to include any digital currency asset experiencing extremely rapid price growth.
“Paper hands” is a term that describes the precise opposite of diamond hands. Investors with paper hands have lower risk tolerances and typically follow more conservative, traditional approaches to investing. This may mean selling an asset due to concerns over losing money or simply taking a profit before the asset reaches its maximum price. Crypto investors often use the term in a derogatory manner.
Unlike investors with diamond hands, those said to have paper hands rarely or never have non-financial motives for their decisions. A diamond-handed investor may choose to hold out of personal belief in the asset, but a paper-handed investor almost always sells to take profits or avoid losses.
A pump-and-dump is a type of scam that has become prevalent in the crypto world in recent years. In a pump-and-dump scheme, scammers use popular forums or social media influencers to convince investors to buy a particular digital currency. The sudden influx of new investors naturally increases the price of the asset. Once the price reaches a certain level, the scammers sell their stakes, beginning a price rout that will ultimately cost many other investors money.
Rekt is what happens to people when they make superbly unwise crypto decisions, such as emptying their portfolio like a bona fide paper hand (usually just moments before a cryptocurrency goes to the moon) upon reading some FUD posts from a subreddit. Rekt is a modification of the word ‘wrecked’, referring to a state of utter ruin. It’s a term originating from the video game community where skillful players would gain immense pleasure from getting noobs rekt.
“Stonks” is an intentional misspelling of the word “stocks.” While the word has existed as a meme since at least 2017, it came into more widespread use during the explosion of retail investing driven by social media in late 2020 and 2021. Crypto investors sometimes use it to poke fun at the absurdities of the stock market. Alternatively, it can describe so-called meme stocks. These are securities that catch on with social media investors, usually due to heavy short-selling, and are bid up to abnormally high prices.
A whale is an individual or institution that holds enormous amounts of a given digital currency. Because of the size of their holdings, whales have disproportionate effects on the value of currencies. Whales can increase volatility by locking large amounts of a crypto asset in accounts for long periods of time. Currencies with fixed maximum numbers of coins, such as Bitcoin BTC, are particularly susceptible to the effects of whales in their markets.
In extreme cases, whales can even manipulate digital currency markets for their own purposes. When a whale offers to buy at a high price, for instance, the orders can artificially inflate the currency’s value and create a favorable environment for selling later on. Because of this capability, technical crypto investors devote large amounts of effort to on-chain analysis to better track the activity of the largest whales.
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