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Crypto Slang Terms: Your Guide to the Cryptoverse

October 27, 2021
by Leon Marshall,

Article Recap

Just as there is business lingo, there is crypto lingo. The Cryptoverse is open to anyone who knows the keywords. This guide, in addition to the common terms you will encounter, includes almost all the slang words you might face.

Language is essential to communicating one’s thoughts and in the crypto space, it is no less important. To explore the cryptoverse, you need proper navigation tools, and where better to start  than with common slang terms. Here are the terms you’ll likely encounter within the crypto space.

Common terms

  • Address – Cryptocurrencies come in blockchains, and every coin from a given block has a unique address, just like a house on the street. This is where the coin owner’s data is stored and where all changes are recorded. Most times, these addresses are more than 30 characters long and can look different depending on the digital currency. 
  • Bear/Bearish – The negative movement of an asset’s price.
  • Block – Blocks are the building unit of a crypto’s blockchain. Every single block stores data on transactions made through it until its capacity is reached. The record remains permanent.
  • Blockchain – The chain of blocks that are linked through a cryptographic signature. Together, individual blocks create the chain and store data. When one is filled, another is created. All of them are stored on computers around the world via copies of equal value. This makes the system balanced and therefore decentralized.
  • Bull/Bullish – The positive movement of an asset’s price.
  • Hot & Cold storage – Your wallet code (private key) can be stored digitally or on an offline physical storage device. Put simply, hot wallets are connected to the internet while cold wallets are not.
  • Crypto faucet – A website or app that provides you with small amounts of cryptocurrencies in exchange for completing tasks. 
  • Distributed ledger – Multiple nodes of a blockchain network that can be accessed simultaneously, just like a ledger in multiple locations.
  • Double spending – The fraudulent process of sending a cryptocurrency to two different locations/wallets simultaneously.
  • Crypto Exchange – The platform that allows the buy and sell of cryptocurrencies
  • Fiat – Currencies recognized as legal tender by governments. We know them as the USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, and so on.
  • Hash rate – The speed of the computing power being used to mine a coin on a network.
  • ICO – Initial coin offering. The initial batch of coins that a cryptocurrency creator puts up for purchase in order to raise funds.
  • IEO – Initial exchange offering. The conducting of an ICO not by the creators themselves but by an exchange. Considered to be more secure and exposure-friendly as the coin can reach a larger audience and ready to be traded.
  • KYC & AML – Know your customer & anti-money laundering. KYC is the obligation financial institutions have to verify customer identities and confirm they follow the AML laws.
  • Mining – The process of verifying blockchain transactions. At the cost of electricity and computer resources, miners earn fractions of the cryptocurrency.
  • OTC – Over-the-counter
  • Private key – A form of cryptography (essentially a password) that allows you to access and manage your crypto funds. It is your digital signature in the form of a string of numbers and letters.
  • Public key – A long string of letters and numbers representing your wallet address that allows you to receive cryptocurrencies.
  • Token – Basically, the coins of a cryptocurrency. Each token can be bought, owned, and sold and they are the essence of digital code that is at the foundation of a virtual currency.

Crypto slang

  • 51% attack – A single person or group with more than half of the computer power on a network. Such entities can affect a cryptocurrency by putting mining to a halt, preventing transactions from completing, or changing them entirely and even reusing the coins themselves.
  • Airdrop – Marketing has various forms, and airdrops are one of them. They are used to hasten the process of distribution of a cryptocurrency. Usually, the trader would drop a number of coins to a group of traders or an already existing community. This is entirely done to popularize the currency. The giveaway is frequently done for free or in exchange for sharing the content piece (article, post, etc.) with others who may be interested.
  • Altcoin – Every other coin besides Bitcoin. 
  • Apeing – The act of buying a new token without first conducting research. 
  • ATH & ATL – All-time high and all-time low. The highest and lowest historical prices of a crypto.
  • Atomic swap – The direct exchange of different cryptos without a centralized third-party platform that acts as an exchange. 
  • Bagholder – Traders with large amounts of a given crypto who tend to not sell it despite how it may perform.  
  • BTD – Buy the dip. An encouragement to buy while the market has dipped and the prices are low in order to potentially profit later on.
  • Cryptosis – Obsessiveness towards knowing more and more about cryptocurrencies and the market.
  • DeFi, Dapp, and Dex – Decentralized finance, decentralized applications, and decentralized exchange. Finances in the form of a blockchain and software or computing systems traded on a platform without a centralized third party.
  • Don’t chase green – We are psychologically predisposed to going on green and stopping at red. However, that is not always the best way to go, and it could even be a step in the direction of FOMO.

Even more crypto slang terms

  • DYOR – Do your own research. 
  • Exit scam – Creators who put their cryptos on an ICO and disappear with the money they’ve raised from investors.
  • Flippening – Bitcoin and Ether are the two currencies that spread the idea of crypto to the world. If ETH overtakes BTC in value, that moment in history will be referred to as ‘The Flippening’.
  • FOMO – Fear of missing out. Chasing pumps leads to dumps (check Pump and dump below)
  • Fork/Forking – The split of a blockchain, reminiscent of a fork. It’s an indication of change in protocol.
  • FUD – Fear, uncertainty, doubt. Disinformation strategies meant to confuse competitors and consumers. 
  • HODL – Hold on for dear life, or just a mistyped ‘hold’. It is used to instill patience in traders who would be best to wait it out through the valleys formed when prices dip, instead of just panicking and selling.
  • Lambo – Lamborghinis are most commonly bought by rich people. When you get rich by trading crypto, you become a lambo. 
  • Moon/Mooning – Crypto prices’ upward momentum, skyrocketing to astronomical levels.
  • Moonboy – Traders who are bullish and preach how they can accurately predict prices will change.
  • No coiner – A derogatory term used for people who are cynical about cryptocurrency or just people who do not own any.
  • Noob/Newb – Used in multiplayer games to represent those who are inexperienced/new.. Being a newb is a phase for some and a state for others. 
  • POS – Proof of stake. A way to validate transactions, or in other words, to mine coins. Blocks are chosen by the stake, wealth they carry. More energy-efficient than POW. 
  • POW – Proof of work. Another way to verify transactions. It performs complex calculations that prevent network attacks and fake requests in large quantities. More power-consuming than POS. 

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Honorable mentions

  • Pump & dump – Another kind of scam. A group of traders begin buying large quantities of a coin to increase its price while it’s still sitting low. When that happens, they all sell causing the price to go down.
  • Rekt – Wrecked. When you lose a lot of money, you’re rekt. Something that often occurs with traders who do not try to manage the risk or simply have no trading strategy.
  • Sats & Wei – Satoshi and Wei Dai, the creators of Bitcoin and Ether(eum) respectively. Sats and Wei are the smallest sub-units of each currency. At this time, that is 0.00000001 BTC and 10^-18, or one quintillionth ETH.
  • Shilling – Those who promote projects they prefer are shilling. They provide advice that is not objective but biased.
  • Shitcoin – A crypto considered a bad investment due to their potential of crashing. It’s also a cryptocurrency that does not provide any real technological innovation.
  • Weak hands/Diamond hands – Traders without full conviction in their strategy have weak hands and sell at a loss while traders who are willing to HODL, similarly to bag holders, plough through the troughs. 
  • WGMI/WAGMI – We’re/We are going to make it. Major good news articulator. 
  • Whale – Cryptocurrency owners with large quantities of it, much more than lambos, who are capable of influencing the market.

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Trading on margin is high risk.

All times are AEDT.