Crypto social media shorthand, slang and abbreviations are confusing – especially for beginners. Learn how to speak fluent crypto jargon in a flash with our guide!
Whether you’re a blockchain aficionado or crypto noob, it’s easy to feel like a total blockhead when you’re checking out what the in-the-knows are saying about the markets on Twitter, Reddit, Discord, Telegram, and the rest. Trying to work out what the members of online crypto communities are talking about can leave you feeling dizzy – particularly when the terminology and acronyms start flying.
But help is at hand: Fret no more, as FX Empire has prepared a survival guide to help you navigate the often-confusing jargon that gets bandied about on crypto social media. Master some of these terms and crypto Twitter will (hopefully) look less like Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs…and more like something approximating contemporary English!
Alt – This term is short for altcoin (alternative + coin), which basically refers to almost every cryptocurrency out there. If you’re asking “alternative to what?”, you’re on the right track. And the answer is Bitcoin (BTC) – although confusingly some also consider the number 2 market cap coin Ethereum (ETH) to be a non-alt!
Example: “I got drunk last night and bought a load of unknown alts! I should never trade when I’m near beer!”
Nocoiner – Being called a nocoiner is basically the equivalent of being called a “normie” in most other corners of the internet. For crypto folk, it’s something close to an insult, as it refers to people who typically reject crypto, refuse to buy coins, or like to lecture others about how BTC is a scam.
Example: “The nocoiners will have a field day crowing about the latest price dip!”
FUD – A dismissive term that is used as a stick to beat those who like to forecast imminent doom for the crypto ecosystem. Mainstream media outlets that predict imminent ruin for the crypto world are often accused of “spreading” FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt).
Example: “Check out the latest FUD from the Financial Times!”
**SLANG** GM = Good morning GN = Good night SER = Sir PFP = Profile picture Fren = Friend WAGMI = We All Gonna Make It WAGGA = We All Gonna Get Audited NGMI = Not Going To Make It Looks Rare = Rarity drives value FOMO = Fear of Missing Out IRL = In Real Life 5/9
Sh*tcoin – A (sadly) increasingly common phenomenon whereby a little-known and somewhat suspicious-looking alt (see above) turns out to be, well…a pile of sh*t.
Example: “Joe just bought a load of sh*tcoins – what a sucker!”
Whale – The owners of enormous quantities of high-cap coins (usually BTC). These individuals usually bought into Bitcoin when it was worth just a few dollars and have resisted the urge to trade their vast holdings for cash over the years. When these massive sea creatures start moving their coins around, the shrimps and crabs of the crypto world had better take notice!
Example: “The whales have started to liquidate – quick, sell everything you have!”
HODL is one of the most peculiar #cryptocurrency jargon terms. It was coined by a #Bitcoin enthusiast who responded to the so-called crypto experts who mocked him for not selling his coins. On the forum, he wrote: “I AM HODLING.”
Bear/bull – Continuing with the zoological theme, this comes from the world of traditional finance and refers to market sentiment, but also to individuals. Bears are cautious and think the market is headed downwards, and so is the bear market, while bulls think the opposite – and act accordingly. Those who remain optimistic about BTC regardless of volatility are often called “Bitcoin Bulls.”
Example: “Company X is hiring a bunch of crypto developers. Sounds bullish!”
Maxi – Usually short for “Bitcoin maximalist,” this term refers to people who think that only Bitcoin will make it in the future – and that a day may well come when all other coins fall by the wayside with BTC becoming the “native coin of the internet age.”
Example: “Why don’t you buy any alts? Are you a BTC maxi?”
BTFD – Another acronym, this one short for “buy the f***ing dip!” Not much to explain here – this is something of a rallying cry for people who are heavily invested in crypto and want to put a brave face on things when tokens hit periods of volatility.
Example: “ETH prices are crashing – it’s time to BTFD!”
PND – Short for “pump and dump,” this refers to a malicious move that stock traders might recognize. Using a range of tools such as social media, sponsored media content, and the like, the masterminds of a PND try to drive up the price of a coin before selling it at a high price, usually leaving it to crash down to the floor in their wake.
Example: “I think I’ll pass on this coin, looks like a PND!”
Quick PSA, if you note your project or coin as 'the shiba killer', then I expect your project is A PnD or just doomed to fail.
Cmon. Think. Be smarter than just that. Tell me what tokens have honestly come far under that guise.
Rug Pull – Another nasty phenomenon in crypto: This one usually involves the project’s core developers vanishing off into the sunset with armfuls of their investors’ funds!
Example: “Don’t buy into this rug pull project – you’ll lose everything you invest!”
Sats – Short for satoshis (from Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin), these are fractions of a Bitcoin and are often used with the verb “stack.” To be stacking sats means buying small amounts of BTC over a long period of time, rather than making big, lump-sum purchases. Unless you’re a whale (see above) or you have a few thousand dollars sitting around in the bank, chances are all most traders will ever do in the Bitcoin market is stack sats!
Example: “I sent a few sats to you for your birthday – have a great one!”
Multi sig – A security-related term that refers to a type of cryptocurrency wallet (multi-signature) that requires two or more private keys to sign and authorize a transaction. It can be complicated to comprehend or manage for newbies, but if safeguarding your coins is important to you, it may be worth looking into.
Example: “This new multi-sig wallet is sick!”
SHILL – unsolicited endorsing in public, promoting an NFT you're dropping or a coin you’ve invested in
SWEEP THE FLOOR – buying NFTs in bulk at the floor or base price
Bear Trap – A somewhat sneaky move orchestrated by groups of experienced traders who try to snare “bears” (see above) into going short on a coin as a response to falling prices. The trap operators might do this by selling high volumes of a coin to drive the market downward. The bear, expecting the market to continue trending in the same direction, can end up selling at a price that is still high – only for prices to bounce back again once the “trap” has been sprung!
Example: “Don’t sell those coins yet, this looks like a bear trap!”
Tim Alper is an IT writer with over a decade and a half of top-level journalism experience. He has written about tech, including crypto and blockchain, as well as other subjects for leading media outlets including the BBC, the Guardian, the Times of Israel, Chosun Ilbo, Maeil Kyungjae, Kyunghyang Shinmun, the Korea Times and the Jewish Chronicle. He has also worked with major bands in the IT space, including Microsoft, Samsung and Accenture.