Cryptocurrency Slang You Need To Know

8 September 2018

cryptocurrency slang

This guest post has been written by Matthew Hill, you can learn more about him in his bio at the bottom.

Getting into the cryptocurrency market can be an overwhelming experience. Not just because of the huge number of currencies being traded but also because of the crypto-jargon. Just like in every technical field and specialty there are always idioms and terminology which acquire a special meaning known only to those involved in that specific field.

This is normal and to be expected. Except that the crypto world has taken their jargon a little bit too far. You can say it’s because of millennials who were the driving force behind this new field in the world of finance. It’s a well-known fact that millennials really love their acronyms, abbreviations and jargons and cryptocurrency is no different.

Just get on a crypto forum, a crypto-exchange chatroom or even Twitter and you’ll see all kinds of weird words being thrown around. From hodl and fud to FOMO, whale, and bitshaming. Even known acronyms such as OCD get their own crypto meaning that describes a different behavioral disorder. The topic of crypto jargon has become so large, it warranted John Oliver to dedicate an episode of his weekly HBO show to discuss it.

So, if you feel lost and a lot of jargon just goes over your head, don’t let that put

you down. What you need is a glossary of the most common slang words to help you decipher the crypto parlance and uncover the hidden meaning in the everyday chatter on the internet.


This is the most popular word in the world of digital currency. Get on Twitter and you’ll see someone saying something like “Smart people HODL even when the market dips.” But you don’t need to scratch your head and look befuddled.

HODL came into existence as a typo. In the early days, some crypto enthusiast mistyped ‘hold’ on a forum post and the enthusiastic acolytes eating up each word the guru said “interpreted” that weird utterance as ‘hold on for dear life’.

These days HODL means don’t dump your holdings when the market is volatile. Rather, hold on to them and wait for the currency to become stable again.


Mooning or heading to the moon are often used by investors when a coin experiences a spike in value. It can also refer to a currency peaking. Which means it’s time to sell because after every peak there’s always a crash.

When you see the word mooning in the same sentence as a coin you’re HODLing, it’s time to evaluate your cryptocurrency investment strategy and consider your next move. Which explains this question used frequently on crypto forums: “When moon?” They’re actually asking about the best time to sell.


FUD is a straightforward acronym. It doesn’t originate from a typo or a mysterious uttering. It stands for ‘fear, uncertainty, and doubt’. It’s the kind of argot that fits better in a psychiatrist’s room than in the world of finance.

But because the crypto market is more volatile than the traditional stock market, one isn’t surprised to see these emotions prevailing among people watching that market.

Among crypto investors, the word usually is used to describe the naysayers who don’t have faith in the future prospects of cryptocurrency. So the next time you hear someone say “Don’t let FUD discourage you,” you know exactly what he means.


Whales are heavy-weight investors in the crypto market. They hold obscene amounts of currency and when they trade heavily in a coin they can drive its rates up or down.

If a whale decides to sell a big portion of their holdings of a certain currency the supply in the market exceeds the demand and the price of that currency goes down. Any serious investor will need to spot the whales and follow their trading trends closely.


Sats or Satoshis refer to the enigmatic programmer who created Bitcoin. His real identity has not been established to this day, but that hasn’t stopped his name from becoming a jargon in itself. An investor might say “I didn’t have a big budget, so I only got a few sats.” A Sat in this sense is the smallest part of a Bitcoin. A satoshi is worth one hundred millionths of the most valuable cryptocurrency in the market today. Many people use satoshis because of the high value of Bitcoin.


Another acronym that has strong psychological connotations. It stands for ‘fear of missing out’. It’s when you see a currency shooting up on the charts and you freak out. You want in too, so you dump your holdings in other coins and start investing in the trending coin. This emotional buying won’t usually pay out since the crypto market can be swung around wildly by FOMO rather than valuations.


Admittedly this one is borrowed from the stock market. When an investor keeps holding to stocks in a company for too long hoping the price will go up and they make huge profits, but what happens is he gets bypassed and the prices plummet.

That investor is left holding a bag full of worthless shares. In the world of cryptocurrency, this situation happens more frequently due to the sheer number of coins that enter the market every day. Being a bagholder is an unfortunate situation that happens to investors with little experience or those who don’t keep their finger on the pulsating vein in the market.


This one is more related to Bitcoin than other altcoins because of the incredible run that currency had at the end of 2017. A lot of people made huge fortunes investing in Bitcoin at the time. So when someone has been in the game for years and still failed to make a few millions, that person gets mocked or bitshamed, on social media.


This is an alternate spelling of ‘wrecked’ and means just what you would imagine it to mean. When an investor misses their ‘moon’ or makes an emotional trading move and loses a lot of money they’re rekt.


In a market with so many variables and uncertainties, FUDs are common. But instead of getting advice from the Twitter experts you should do your own research or DYOR. The crypto world is based on speculation and researching is part of the game.

Pump and Dump

This is a scheme practiced often in the crypto market. The idea is simple: a group of investors decides to buy a certain coin, the demand raises the value of the coin, then the investors sell and cash in.

If you’re not part of the trend you might buy in high only to lose when the price drops. This is another reason why you should DYOR. If you take someone else’s word you might become a victim to a pump and dump and get rekt.


A shill is promoting and advertising a crypto coin. The sole job of someone who’s shilling is to convince others to invest in that coin which is usually worthless. Be wary of those who talk about an obscure currency as if it was the next Bitcoin. There are thousands of altcoins out there and many of them have faded into obscurity.


For years Bitcoin has been the dominating cryptocurrency in the market. But at some point, investors predict that another coin’s market cap could surpass that of Bitcoin’s. The most probable contender to dethrone Bitcoin is Ethereum. When that will happen, if it happens at all, is not known. It’s just part of the online chatter.

Obsessive Cryptocurrency Disorder (OCD)

Like its counterpart in the psychotherapy field, OCD is about a compulsive disorder where Bitcoin HODLers become obsessed about the value of the coin that they can’t take their eyes off the market charts. They sleep in front of their laptops and wake up many times at night to check the latest rates.

All in all, stay aware of the whales’ moves, don’t let FUD and FOMO discourage you so that you’ll be well prepared for the next mooning and when it comes, you’ll make much more than only a couple of sats!

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About the author:

I have the Computer Science and Engineering background. Also, I have a deep interest in Bitcoin since 2009. I like to learn and write about cryptocurrencies, the most successful ways to apply them, and the tendencies on the cryptocurrency market. Currently I’m writing and consulting for and some other websites.