What the HODL? Your guide to cryptocurrency slang

29 Jun 2018

3D representation of a bitcoin and an Ethereum coin on top of a smartphone. Image: Stefan Malloch/Shutterstock

Cryptocurrency slang can seem a little bit mystifying to those on the outside, so here’s a useful guide to some of the words you might encounter.

Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and countless others have barely left the news cycle in the last year or so. Bitcoin, arguably the most popular cryptocurrency, hit an all-time high in December 2017 as more and more members of the public jumped on the bandwagon.

Digital dictionary

What many people don’t know is that there is a rich vocabulary in the world of digital currencies. Forums and subreddits are littered with terminology that can often seem bewildering to outsiders. What are ‘whales’ if not massive water-dwelling mammals? What does ‘HODL’ actually mean?

Cracking the code

What’s fascinating about the latter is that it is both a typo and a meme. Apparently, a user told another bitcoin forum member to ‘HOLD’, as in not panic and sell their coins, but misspelled it as ‘HODL’. It also turned out to be a useful acronym for ‘hold on for dear life’.

A whale is someone who owns more than 5pc of any cryptocurrency and they often take the blame when digital currency prices take a plunge. Meanwhile, a ‘BearWhale’ is a trader with a large quantity of cryptocurrency who believes prices will fall – if they sell off, the market can be temporarily flattened.

To find out what a ‘bag holder’ is or how to avoid ‘FUD’ on the cryptocurrency market, check out the infographic below.

infographic about cryptocurrency slang

Click to enlarge. Infographic: 99Bitcoins

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects