Cryptocurrencies are known for creating massive wealth for a small group of technologically inclined people. They have also recently been responsible for mesmerizing tens of millions as prices continue climbing unbelievably high. And of course cryptocurrencies are responsible for creating controversy and sometimes awe amongst the financial and technology elite of the world.
As more and more people become acquainted with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and most recently Bitcoin Cash, they are also finding that cryptocurrencies have also made contributions to the English language – in the form of cryptocurrency slang.
This is the group of words that have either seen their meanings changed for use in cryptocurrency circles, or have been created anew, sometimes as twists on existing words, and sometimes out of thin air.
Below you’ll find a sort of dictionary to the new cryptocurrency slang – feel free to add your own in the comments. Note that some of these commonly used words previously were used in equity and other markets and have simply been commandeered by cryptocurrency investors and traders.
ALTCOIN – Any cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin
ATH – Acronym for “All Time High”. Used to describe the highest historical price of a coin.
BAGS – Holdings of altcoins, with each altcoin being held in a different “bag”.
BEARISH – Used to describe market pessimism or the belief that prices will decline.
BLOCKCHAIN – The distributed ledgers used to create and store transactions with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. These distributed ledgers are public databases that can be read by anyone, and are stored/run on several, and up to thousands, of servers and computers across the world.
BULLISH – Used to describe market optimism or the belief that prices will go higher.
COLD STORAGE – A method of securing the private keys of a cryptocurrency in an offline manner to avoid hacking or theft.
DOLPHIN – Someone who has graduated from the ranks of minnows and has some influence over the price movement of a cryptocurrency, but hasn’t yet reached the status of whale.
FIAT – Despite the obsession with Italian cars by cryptocurrency enthusiasts, this is not the Fiat car brand. It is used to describe the centralized currencies issued by the world’s governments and central banks.
FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. Can cause “mooning” of cryptocurrencies as speculators move into coins in response to their Fear Of Missing Out.
FORK – A fork happens when a blockchain splits into two separate chains, both of which contain all the past history of the chain, with the future blocks being completely different and separate. One example of this is Bitcoin, which has split into Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Diamond, UnitedBitcoin, BitcoinX, and Super Bitcoin, with several more forks already in the works. Forks are undesirable because they often split the Bitcoin community as well, diluting its strength. They are also desirable because those holding Bitcoins at the split receive an equal number of the new coins, thus creating wealth from thin air.
FUD – Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt. Used to describe negative news regarding cryptocurrencies and often sends prices lower, on some cases significantly lower.
HODL – A misspelling of the word “hold” first seen on the Bitcointalk forum on December 18, 2013. Some say the misspelling was somewhat intentional and that HODL stands for “Hold on for Dear Life”.
ICO – Acronym for Initial Coin Offering. Similar to an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in equities.
LAMBO – Shortened form of Lamborghini (an Italian sports car) and the preferred transportation method of cryptocurrency enthusiasts once they’ve made their fortune.
MARKET CAP – The value of a cryptocurrency. The total circulating supply of coins x the value of the coin.
MINERS – Servers/computers which are used to solve the cryptographic problems attached to blockchain transactions. Miners receive a reward in the form of cryptocurrency for providing transactions on the blockchain.
MINNOW – Someone who has a small amount of cryptocurrency and is thus considered a “small fish”.
NODES – The servers or computers that run the software necessary to store the public databases known as the blockchain.
PRIVATE KEY – The encryption key associated with ones cryptocurrency, allowing them to be transferred or sold. Private keys are meant to be kept secret, and known only to the creator of the private key.
PUBLIC KEY – An encryption/decryption key that can be used by anyone to send cryptocurrencies to a given wallet address.
REKT – To have the value of one’s account go nearly to zero due to a collapse in the price of the altcoins in your bags.
ROI – Return on Investment. How much you’ve made (or lost) on your cryptocurrency since buying.
SHITCOIN – An altcoin which is considered worthless due to the lack of product or useful features in the development of its blockchain. While shitcoins are considered worthless, that doesn’t necessarily stop them from going “to the moon”.
TO THE MOON / MOONING – A sharp increase in the value of a cryptocurrency (generally in excess of 100%) in a short period of time.
WALLET – The software used to store the private keys associated with a given cryptocurrency. Wallets can be software based or hardware based, and even paper based.
WHALE – A person who holds a large amount of a given cryptocurrency, generally an amount considered to be enough to influence the price of the cryptocurrency if they were to sell their holdings all at once.