HODL & Other Popular Terms Used In The Cyrptocurrency World

Get in on HODL, whale and other cryptocurrency slangs.

Like any niche, the world of cryptocurrency trading has all sorts of in-jokes and phrases. These words may be intimidating to newbies. Plus, interest in crypto trading has grown exponentially since late 2017.

If you’re someone who wants to trade cryptocurrency, it’s important to know these terms to understand what people mean. That said, it can be intimidating.

With this list, we’re going to break down and discuss some of the most popular terms.

Hopefully, you’ll excel in the trading world after reading this.

Let’s start with the most common term: “HODL.”

What Does HODL Mean?

This infamous term, one born out of a typo, is used both seriously and jokingly by every crypto trading group. ‘HODL’ first appeared in a BitcoinTalk forum back in 2013[1].

In their post, a user was talking about holding their Bitcoin despite the price crash. It was sort of a joke post, but the commenters couldn’t stop laughing about the typo. It was with this the meme was born.

Hold Your Coin

Since then, the term has evolved a bit. If someone says ‘HODL,’ they mean to hold your coin overselling in hopes that the price will eventually rise. It’s generally used when a price has fallen, but investors won’t give in and sell.

Every time Bitcoin crashes, you’ll see groups of Telegram users spouting about ‘HODLing.’ The term has spawned the acronym: “Hold On For Dear Life.”

Example: “HODL. HODL no matter how low the price gets. It will go back up.”

What is FUD or FOMO in Cryptocurrency Lingo?

Another two common terms are ‘FUD’ or ‘FOMO.’ Each of these revolves around fear regarding investments. ‘FUD’ stands for “fear, uncertainty, and doubt.” It’s usually discussed when someone is trying to scare others regarding a coin investment.

Example: “Ignore that person. They’re just spreading FUD.”

Fud Or Fomo

FOMO is something you may have heard outside of cryptocurrency. Here, the acronym means the same thing: Fear Of Missing Out.

However, in cryptocurrency, FOMO refers to making an investment during a boom. This is usually seen as risky, as nobody knows if the rise will hold.

It’s never a good idea to invest because of FOMO. Instead, it’s smart to know the project you’re throwing money into beforehand. Always do your own research and believe in the ideas presented by the start-up.

To find out insider news, before-the-public, I advise you to bookmark www.blockchainwhispers.com

Example: “Don’t invest in that coin. It’s terrible. You’re just experiencing FOMO.”

With the most popular terms out of the way, there are still essential words to understand when investing in cryptocurrency. Here is an extensive list of them, filled with examples and everything:


A ‘whale’ refers to an investor with a huge share of coin. These holders can shift the entire market should they choose to sell, and often contribute to FOMO situations.

This isn’t just people who own a good amount of Bitcoin, however. It’s people who own more than hundreds of thousands of the digital asset.

Example: “Bitcoin’s price just dropped $700. A whale probably sold all their holdings.”


Mooning is an unpopular but relevant term. It refers to the price of a coin receiving a small bump upwards.

Inexperienced investors will get excited and shout “XXX coin’s price is headed to the moon!” Mooning may be used to manipulate others into investing, also contributing to FOMO situations.

Example: “I may invest in Ethereum. Don’t, the price is just mooning.”

Bearish and Bullish

The term ‘bearish’ comes from the world of traditional investing. It refers to a market that’s slowing down or dropping off completely.

It could also be described as a person’s perspective towards a cryptocurrency. If they are ‘bearish’ on a project, they don’t believe in its success.

Example: “Bitcoin’s price is going down. Seems to be heading into a bearish market.”

Bearish And Bullish

Contrary to bearish, bullish means that a price is rising. A crypto enthusiast who loves a coin may be described as ‘bullish’ towards it.

Example: “Bitcoin’s price is heading up! It’s heading into a bullish market!”


Always a nice thing to see, ATH stands for All-Time-High. It’s used when describing the price of a coin, if it hits, well, an all-time high.

Usually, you’ll see this when the market has been particularly bullish. Sometimes it happens in only a few days of rising.

Example: “Bitcoin just hit an ATH! We’re rich!”


A bagholder refers to someone who bought at an all-time high before the price came crashing down.

These people are now ‘bagged down,’ as they can’t sell unless they want a loss on investment. Usually, it’s smart for a bagholder to wait it out and sell once the price goes back up.

Example: “Darn. I shouldn’t have bought Bitcoin during its bullish run. The price dropped, and now I’m a bagholder.”


Altcoin refers to any cryptocurrency project that isn’t Bitcoin or Ethereum. Because those two are the most popular and well-established blockchain projects, anything else is an ‘alternative.’

Example: “Lisk (LSK) is my favorite Altcoin.”

Pump and Dump

A pump and dump group is a collective of users privately manipulating the price of a coin.

They will all buy a coin at the same exact time, encouraging random users to buy in due to FOMO. Then, once the price hits an ATH, they will all immediately sell, causing the market to crash.

This doesn’t really happen in big projects like Ethereum or Bitcoin, rather to smaller, valuable Altcoins. Usually, it costs thousands a month to be a part of pump and dump groups. However, the big spenders will likely get a ton of profit out of the deal.

Pump And Dump

Example: “I just joined up with a pump and dump group. We’re targeting that new WaBi coin!”


ICO stands for ‘Initial Coin Offering‘. The term comes from ‘IPO’ in the business world or Initial Public Offering. Both of them mean pretty much the same thing: opening up investments to the public.

Nearly every Altcoin is established by an ICO. These will go through a few stages of private investors before the public can get involved. A proper ICO will describe the team behind the project and token distribution among other aspects.

Example: ‘Are you going to invest in that new Bloom ICO? The project is putting credit on the blockchain.”


An airdrop refers to a free coin distribution. Usually, a recently launched coin will ask for users to share the project in exchange for tokens. The team will ‘airdrop’ the tokens into the user’s wallet and create value for the coin.

Example: “Were you a part of the Bitcoin Cash airdrop? I got some good value out of it.”


A little-known fact: exchanges may have variations in coin price. The act of arbitrage is to buy on one exchange and sell on another. If done correctly, the investor will make a near-instant profit by doing so.

Example: “I just did some arbitrage between Coinbase and Binance.”

Market Cap

Used in more than just the cryptocurrency world, but here the market cap refers to a coin’s total value. Generally, the coin with the highest market cap dominates most of the industry.

Example: “Bitcoin is the best project due to its high market cap.”

Long and Short

Similar to bullish and bearish, long and short refers to an investors stance on a coin. A ‘long’ positioned trader is expecting the value to rise in the long-term. Conversely, a ‘short’ positioned trader is doing the opposite. Short-term traders are looking for quick profit as opposed to a long-term looking for substantial profit over time.

Example: “He’s a long-term investor in that Altcoin.”

To find out insider news, before-the-public, I advise you to bookmark www.blockchainwhispers.com

Limit Order

Used on exchanges, a limit order is an order placed based on a future price. An investor will set a price they believe will hit soon, and the exchange will automatically buy it once done.

Limit Order

Example: “I set a limit order on Bitcoin hitting $6,000.”


Often referring to those who don’t pay much attention, do-your-own-research means quite literally that. Sometimes, potential investors will ask others’ opinion on a coin instead of forming their own.

It’s never a good idea to base your investment on the words of others. Always DYOR when it comes to investing in a project.

Example: “Stop asking us about Litecoin. DYOR before investing.”


The term shitcoin refers to a project that has absolutely no use case. Essentially, it’s a project looking for quick money and whose product won’t deliver. If it’s referred to as a shitcoin, it’s probably not a project worth checking out.

Example: “That project is a shitcoin. It adds no value whatsoever.”

While this isn’t all of them, it’s a fairly comprehensive list of most of the terms you’ll encounter in crypto. Trading is a rewarding, fun experience that you can profit off of. Just make sure you go into it with this list in mind. You’ll sound like a pro in no time.

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The writer’s views are expressed as a personal opinion and are for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.

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