Cryptocurrency Beginner’s Urban Dictionary
Entering the world of cryptocurrency is like entering an entirely new culture. Mostly nerdy, but also full of tons of passionate, interesting people – don’t worry, nerds are cool!
Anyway, to help with this transition into the world of crypto, I offer some helpful translations of expressions you may have read or heard, but didn’t want to ask for an explanation. I’ll start with some of the most common terms:
FOMO: Fear of missing out. Of course, this term has been around a while and applies to our social lives, as well. In the context of cryptocurrency, however, it more specifically has to do with being fearful of missing out on some huge gains from a particular coin increasing rapidly in value. This leads me to my next term.
Pump n Dump: This is what happens when some traders in the market pour large sums of money into a particular coin or token to bait others into buying more, enticing people who are experiencing FOMO. You might wonder how traders can make money by pouring money into something. It works because they simply get the ball rolling — they start the pump and then when the price peaks at a desired amount, the large volume traders sell off their large quantity of coins, causing the price to dump. This happened a while ago with Bitcoin Cash, but happens more frequently with smaller market cap coins, since their low liquidity enables massive pumps. Also called manipulation (although manipulation might also involve forms of trading such as “wash trading”, where you trade back and forth between a group of colluding traders to create an illusion of volume).
ICO: This stands for Initial Coin Offering. In traditional markets, new companies would launch an initial public offering at which time investors could purchase a share in the new venture. An ICO is similar in that it is used to distribute tokens, usually spawned from the Ethereum blockchain, and most often purchased with Ether, the currency of the Ethereum network. Some ICO’s have been tremendously successful and have raised billions of dollars before even launching a functional product.
FUD: Fear, uncertainty, and doubt. This happens whenever some bad news comes out and causes people to express FUD in despair. To be more clear, the term FUD usually implies an exaggerated response to some negative news that often turns out to be less bad than first reported. When China announced they were deciding to ban ICO’s and shut down exchanges back in September, there was a great deal of FUD. People rushed to sell off their cryptocurrency to take profits before prices plummeted further. Of course, this just caused prices to drop even more. When you see a lot of FUD, it’s probably a good time to buy.
HODL: One of the older terms used in the Bitcoin community to express the idea of holding on to a coin even during times of extreme FUD. It originates from a typo on Reddit that was repeated incessantly as a joke, to the point that it is now the accepted way to express that you prefer to “hodl” instead of, for example, day-trading. “In two weeks” is another meme that emerged around the same time for any time someone asks when a particular coin is going to pump.
Shill: A person can be accused of being a shill when being a little too certain or emphatic of a particular coin’s success. This shill will often include expressions such as “To the moon!”, “Rocket…” and “Lambos” in their post. Usually a coin will be predicted to 10X (go up in value by 10 times its current value) within “two weeks” so you should “buy and hodl!” A shill would be someone who has been paid to promote a particular coin, or is holding a large “bag” of the coin they are shilling, and is therefore motivated to promote the coin, even if it is garbage. They may tout the “superior technology” of the coin or its dedicated team as the reason it will be the next Bitcoin.
TA: Technical Analysis. There will be those in the community who follow every head, shoulder, and chin (wait, chin isn’t one) in the patterns of a coin’s value. Then they will make predictions like, “Well, I can see a head and shoulder pattern now forming a descending triangle that is indicating a break to the down side…” and then China announces a ban on Bitcoin and the price plummets, at which point they exclaim, “See? TA!”
Altcoins: Every coin except Bitcoin, technically speaking, is an altcoin. Bitcoin was the coin until other coins came along. Some would argue currencies like Ethereum, Litecoin, or Monero aren’t really altcoins since they are so widely available and well-established. But they are still technically altcoins in that they are not the original coin of cryptocurrency. This is, admittedly, debateable.
Fork: Not just a tool useful for eating, also a term that has caused FUD and FOMO in the crypto market for years. When Bitcoin experienced a fork (a number of times now), sometimes it was contentious – meaning people disagreed about which coin should be mined. So, the coin forked into two separate coins. When this happens, the owner of said coin then will have another coin which is a copy of the original coin, but usually of dubious value. You have to hodl a coin in order to get the forked coin, and the forked coin may or may not actually have any value. The most recent forks resulted in Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Private, and a bunch of lesser known forks.
Which leads me to my last term today: shitcoin. There are many, many shitcoins on the market. These are usually coins with little to no actual backing, research, or development behind them. Many, many ICO’s (initial coin offerings) are being released on a constant basis just trying to cash in on the current crypto craze in the market. Sometimes they are just a brief, intense pump and dump and then it collapses while the “developers” make off with the money. It’s kind of like the old dot.com bubble of the 90’s. Many of these shitcoins will disappear from existence in short order.
More terms could be added to this list in the future, like whales , bagholders, rekt, and so forth. Now, you’re prepared to go discuss Bitcoin on Reddit. Have at it!
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