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Popular Crypto Slang Every Beginner Needs to Know

December 08, 2021 · 6 minute read

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Popular Crypto Slang Every Beginner Needs to Know

Cryptocurrency is an exciting new technology that has strongly impacted the financial sector in its short existence. Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, was launched in 2009.

Like any new technology, cryptocurrency has introduced a host of new terminology and phrases with subtle or clever meanings perhaps unbeknownst to the average person. For a crypto beginner, learning these nuanced phrases and acronyms might help to buy the dip and HODL through a wave of FUD. (By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what that means.)

Recommended: Crypto 101: A Beginner’s Guide

16 Crypto Slang Terms to Know

1. FOMO

FOMO stands for “fear of missing out.” FOMO happens across all parts of life. In this context, it’s a common investor psychological state in which an investor feels a combination of panic and envy for not having an active position in a powerful market move from which others are benefiting.

In crypto, this typically refers to when a sharp bullish breakout occurs and anxious investors debate whether or not to buy into an already high-priced market in hopes they will be along for the remainder of the move. FOMO can apply to any financial market but is commonly heard in crypto markets which are largely composed of amateur retail investors trying to navigate extremely volatile price action as they attempt to build a well-balanced crypto portfolio.

Used in a sentence: “I bought at an all time high yesterday and now it’s down 25% today. The FOMO got to me!”

Recommended: What is FOMO Trading and How to Avoid It

2. HODL

HODL stands for “hold on for dear life.” HODL is a popular crypto meme and misspelling of the word “hold” (which some people then misinterpreted as standing for “hold on for dear life”).

The term originated on a Bitcoin forum during a period of market turbulence in late 2013 in which an unsettled investor ranted about how investors are ill-suited to trade highs and lows, but rather simply buy and hold in their own crypto wallet.

Since then, HODL has exploded in popularity and is widely exclaimed during price rallies in which investors will instruct other investors to HODL through steep price volatility.

Used in a sentence: “The price of Bitcoin is dropping, but I plan to HODL through it!”

3. FUD

FUD stands for “fear, uncertainty, and doubt.” FUD, as it’s commonly exclaimed in crypto circles, is a psychological method of inspiring negative sentiment about a particular asset to prevent further buying or even instigate selling or short-selling.

The objective is to suppress an asset’s price so the FUDer can accumulate at a lower price, or can inflict financial pain onto others that are holding the token for what may be a competing crypto project.

There are many ways to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt, including proclaiming poor fundamentals, questionable project leadership, stagnant or bearish price movement, unclear roadmaps, lack of adoption, low network usage, and inability to be transacted in certain countries.

Used in a sentence: “He panic sold all his coins because he listened to the FUD.”

4. Shill

Shilling is the act of using propaganda, or false or exaggerated narratives to promote a service or investment, particularly of low quality, for a financial incentive.

Shilling has a negative connotation and is widely used in pump-and-dump schemes but can be used in other contexts as well. For example, an influencer might be paid to promote a cryptocurrency or service, a cryptocurrency project developer might shill their project to help it gain users and see it succeed, or a casual investor might shill an underperforming cryptocurrency in their portfolio to sell it for a profit at a higher price.

Used in a sentence: “It’s often frowned upon when people shill coins on social media for their own personal gain.”

5. Rekt

Rekt, an intentional misspelling of “wrecked,” is a slang term used in crypto to describe an investor’s portfolio or investment getting handily defeated. It’s used sensationally on social media to alert overleveraged positions being liquidated causing massive financial losses.

Used in a sentence: “After the price of XRP fell, my position was rekt.”

6. Sats

Satoshis, commonly abbreviated as “sats,” are the smallest unit of Bitcoin — 0.00000001 BTC, to be precise. Named after the credited creator of Bitcoin, a developer named Satoshi Nakamoto (which may actually be a pseudonym for a group of people), one satoshi is equivalent to 100 millionth of a Bitcoin.

Because Bitcoin is easily divisible and constantly transacted in fractional amounts, being able to denominate arbitrary fractions of a Bitcoin is essential. This is especially important since the Bitcoin price has risen precipitously over its decade-old existence, making it much more expensive for new investors to buy one whole Bitcoin.

A similar popular term, “stacking sats,” refers to an investing strategy in which an investor accumulates satoshis, fractions of a Bitcoin, to increase a Bitcoin position.

Used in a sentence: “I transfered three sats to my wallet.”

7. Whale

In crypto, a whale is an entity that has a massive position in regard to a specific cryptocurrency. For instance, a Bitcoin whale may be a company that owns 50,000 bitcoins, allowing it to move the markets with a single trade.

Used in a sentence: “A whale sold a big position this morning, and as a result, the price of Bitcoin is dropping.”

8. Pump and Dump

“Pump and dump” doesn’t merely apply to cryptocurrency; it’s seen in stocks, too. It is considered market manipulation and is illegal in regulated securities. Essentially, a pump-and-dump scenario unfolds when investors hype or inflate the price of an asset, like a cryptocurrency, and subsequently sell their holdings before the price falls again. They pump it up — and then dump it before it falls.

Used in a sentence: “I was caught up in a pump-and-dump scheme involving a new crypto, and now my position is underwater.”

9. Bagholder

You never want to get caught holding the bag, but that’s what a “bagholder” is in the crypto world. A bagholder is someone who bought into a position at an elevated price, and subsequently saw the value of their holdings fall.

Used in a sentence: “Sell your position now before the price drops, otherwise you’ll be the bagholder.”

10. When Lambo?

At some point, Lamborghinis — yes, the expensive sports cars — became associated with crypto culture. Mostly because people making a lot of money from crypto were able to buy them. As such, the term “when Lambo?” became synonymous with a crypto’s success. It’s essentially asking when the asset in question will gain enough value that its holder can buy a Lambo.

Used in a sentence: “I just bought into Coin X…. When Lambo?”

11. Flippening

“Flippening” refers to the hypothetical — and some say inevitable — moment in which the value of Ethereum overtakes the value of Bitcoin.

Used in a sentence: “I’m loading up on ETH in anticipation of the Flippening.”

12. No Coiner

A “no-coiner” is someone who’s pessimistic about crypto and doesn’t believe that there is a use case for it. As such, they have no holdings, no crypto tokens, and no coins. They’re a “no-coiner.”

Used in a sentence: “I just got an earful from some no-coiner about how Bitcoin is going down the tubes.”

13. Vaporware

“Vaporware” refers to a sexy, cool idea or concept that will, in all likelihood, never exist or come to fruition. It can also refer to prospective cryptocurrencies that have no apparent use.

Used in a sentence: “The idea sounds great, but it’s all vaporware — it’ll never get off the ground.”

14. BTD/BTFD

BTD stands for “buy the dip” and is a common term in financial markets meaning to enter a long position during a suspected brief decrease in an asset’s price. It is more commonly used in bull markets to support the bullish sentiment and rising prices but also used in crypto bear markets to buy at good historical value for a longer-term investment horizon.

BTFD, short for “Buy the [Expletive] Dip” is an exuberant exclamation of BTD, typically used during manic bullish rallies.

Used in a sentence: “When the market pulls back, some suggest to BTD.”

15. Cryptosis

“Cryptosis” is when someone is bitten by the crypto bug, and simply can’t shut up about it. The afflicted reads, writes, discusses, and otherwise consumes information about crypto all day, nonstop.

Used in a sentence: “I introduced my brother to Bitcoin, and now he has a serious case of Cryptosis.”

16. KYC

KYC, or “know your customer“, is a form of identity verification required by many crypto exchanges since being imposed by regulatory agencies in 2017.

The Security Exchange Commission (SEC)’s Rule 17a-3(17) requires that broker-dealers (exchanges) make a good-faith effort to obtain personal information and create a record for each account with each individual customer. KYC ensures that customers are relatively suited for their trades or investments, customers are who they say they are, and customers’ transaction histories are recorded for tax purposes. KYC is commonly hyphenated KYC-AML (Anti-Money Laundering) as the two guidelines closely complement each other.

KYC is a long-standing regulatory standard in traditional finance but has been met with some animosity in crypto. Some Bitcoin-maximalists and crypto enthusiasts emphatically oppose KYC as they claim it defeats the point of crypto’s decentralized philosophy .

Here are some other cryptocurrency rules and regulations to know.

Looking to get into crypto trading?
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The Takeaway

Crypto is a new space for a lot of investors but is quickly changing the way people think about and transact money. Crypto has some similarities to traditional finance as it’s both a standalone network and considered by some as a store of value.

As these crossovers enable opportunities for technical integrations and mainstream adoption, a new wave of specific terminology has sprouted up. It can be helpful to learn these terms and phrases unique to crypto before investing in this dynamic new asset class.

SoFi Invest® helps investors interested in crypto buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, regardless of experience level.

Find out more about SoFi’s cryptocurrency options.


Crypto: Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies aren’t endorsed or guaranteed by any government, are volatile, and involve a high degree of risk. Consumer protection and securities laws don’t regulate cryptocurrencies to the same degree as traditional brokerage and investment products. Research and knowledge are essential prerequisites before engaging with any cryptocurrency. US regulators, including FINRA , the SEC , and the CFPB , have issued public advisories concerning digital asset risk. Cryptocurrency purchases should not be made with funds drawn from financial products including student loans, personal loans, mortgage refinancing, savings, retirement funds or traditional investments. Limitations apply to trading certain crypto assets and may not be available to residents of all states.
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