These days, the word “crypto” is as comfortable in conversation as household terms like Wi-Fi and smartphones.
The month of October marks National Crypto Month, celebrating digital currencies that exist outside the governance of any one country’s economy or government.
Over the past few years, crypto has rapidly moved from being a largely unknown concept found in the enigmatic corners of the internet to the broad daylight of financial markets. And while the transformative potential of cryptocurrencies is certainly no laughing matter, the industry comes with more than its fair share of unique terminology and quirky acronyms.
“Crypto is as rich in terminology as it is in its diversity of assets,” says Hannes Wessels, GM of southern and Francophone Africa at Binance. “It’s a world where whales aren’t ocean-dwellers, and the moon is far more than a round celestial body. There’s an entire sea full of words and phrases, many of which sound silly, but have serious implications.
Wessels points to the acronym HODL as a prime example. Originating from a typo in an online forum, this term has evolved into a mantra for any long-term crypto investor. It means to “Hold On for Dear Life,” and emphasizes the importance these investors place on maintaining a long-term view despite highly volatile crypto markets. HODLers, as they are known, tend to cling to the digital assets they own, through bull or bear markets.
Then there’s FUD, which stands for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. It identifies a tactic that’s used to spread misinformation about a particular crypto asset. “FUD is the crypto world’s equivalent of whispering behind someone’s back,” Wessels explains, “and it’s a warning of the potential for unverified information to deliver dire financial consequences if you don’t DYOR (do your own research).”
Then there are the CryptoKitties, which are neither cats nor fluffy soft toys. They are unique, digital collectibles that exist in one of the world’s first blockchain games. Each has its own distinctive “cattributes”, and they can be bought and sold. You can even use them to breed entirely new digital kittens.
Sticking with the animal kingdom, whale is another term that has been plucked from nature to splash around in the crypto jargon pool. In this context, a whale is a holder of a significant number of tokens or coins, giving him, her or them the power to make market and pricing waves by buying or selling assets.
Many times, you’ll find that whales and HODLers are also WenLambos. This is an internet slang term that stands for “When will my investment pay off so I can buy a Lamborghini?” It’s a part-fun, part-serious way of highlighting the financial ambitions of many of the people you’ll find in the crypto community.
Of course, not everyone is a believer in the power of crypto, so in the world of HODLers, whales, and WenLambos, you also find the occasional no-coiner. Simply put, that’s someone without any cryptocurrency investments, and who is usually skeptical of its potential.
Then there’s halving, a term that could easily be mistaken for sharing your sandwich at lunchtime, but actually refers to the scheduled reduction of new cryptocurrency rewards for miners. It’s a built-in feature in some cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, and it’s designed to control the effects of inflation on the value of the currency by reducing the rate and number of coins that can be produced.
For some crypto stalwarts, a halving is the perfect springboard to send a currency to the moon. Far from a space expedition, this phrase describes a crypto asset’s price soaring to astronomical heights. It’s what all traders and investors dream of.
“While the crypto industry might be a world of complex algorithms and serious investment, it’s also full of jargon that’s sure to keep you entertained and intrigued,” Wessels says, “and irrespective of whether you’re a no-coiner or you have a bad case of cryptosis (crypto addiction), knowing these creative crypto terms is sure to make you the life of the party.”
From the respected corners of Wall Street to the casual discussions around the braai on a Saturday afternoon, the language of crypto continues to seamlessly integrate itself into everyday life. So, the next time grandma comes round for dinner, you’ll understand her when she looks over the top of her iPad to tell you that, even though the WenLambos are expecting the next Bitcoin halving to send Bitcoin to the moon, she’ll never fall for the pump ‘n dump because she’s a Dogecoin HODLer for life.
“If you’re still a no-coiner, this National Crypto Month may be the perfect time to follow gran’s lead,” Wessels enthuses, “and begin your own journey towards cryptosis, your own healthy crypto addiction.”