Have you ever felt out of place in a cryptocurrency discussion? Did you come across numerous slang terms and jargon that made you feel like an outsider? As a newcomer to the world of cryptocurrencies, I realized early on I could not make sense of the conversations. There was no dictionary to look up to, and I was too embarrassed to ask.

Cryptocurrency is as much of a social evolution as it is a technological one. Early adopters are part of a somewhat peculiar online community with generally accepted norms, rules, and even language. This cultural movement has sprouted a cryptocurrency lexicon that seems like gibberish for newbies.

So here is a handy dictionary to help you make sense of a cryptocurrency conversation.

A guide to cryptocurrency lexicon

Lambo: slang for Lamborghini. You will find its use frequently amongst traders bragging about the incredible sums of money you stand to make trading cryptocurrencies.  Lambo refers to insane returns, enough to buy a $1 million Lamborghini. Cryptocurrency early adopters now turned millionaires give credence to the appropriateness of the term.

Shill: self-serving individuals who will promote any cryptocurrency for a quick buck. Broadly, shills will pitch a cryptocurrency project they are invested in and hope to profit from its adoption. You will come across them on forums, youtube, telegram, and slack channels talking up a project to rope in unknowing investors. Often, crucial details are left out in the pitch. Shills will defend their cause at all costs.

Pump and Dump: is a market activity of driving up a price to astronomical highs by any means. A massive sell-off follows after the peak price at the expense of ignorant buyers. You will find this term commonly used in cryptocurrency trading circles. Pumps and dumps are well-orchestrated events. The final execution is the sell-off when ‘pumpers' ‘dump' their holdings at a premium on unsuspecting buyers. Wealth is transferred from unsuspecting buyers to shrewd sellers.

FOMO: is an acronym for Fear Of Missing Out. It describes the hype preceding an exponential rise in market price of a cryptocurrency in 4 letters. Buyers get caught up in the heat of the moment watching the price go up. They act irrationally to buy at whatever price over fears of missing out on higher prices. The collective result is an extreme upside price fueled by holders and a stream of thrilled buyers. FOMO may arise out of pump and dumps or may be driven by sound fundamentals.

Shitcoins: is a derogatory term for cryptocurrencies that become worthless over time, have no utility or are pure scams. Cryptocurrency adopters are extremely loyal to one or several cryptocurrencies. Sometimes people within a particular community will deride other cryptocurrencies by labeling them shitcoins. 

HODL: is as an intentional mistype of the word ‘Hold' meaning to hold on to a cryptocurrency trading position. The word originated from a typo by a trader sharing his strategy in a furious price decline. The word was picked up by the community and quickly rose stuck to one of the most popular terms in the cryptocurrency market. When you HODL, you are committed irrespective of any price declines. Its frequently used by fundamentalists whose faith in their cryptocurrency holdings is unshakeable.

ANN: is an acronym for Announcement. You will see ANN next to a new cryptocurrency project publicizing an upcoming launch. ANNs are typically listed on dedicated forums threads on bitcointalk. Most recently it has been used by projects announcing crowdfunding using ICO. 

Fiat: is a derogatory term referring to traditional currencies issued by governments and central banks. Cryptocurrency communities generally despise the effects of fiat currency on the economic imbalance in the world. Fiat money is based on fractional reserve banking that is heavily tilted in favor banks at the expense of the populace. Cryptocurrencies are an alternative to the fiat banking system.

Moon: refers to an extremely high cryptocurrency price. Moon is when your cryptocurrencies are worth enough to quit your job and retire. It is an infinitely high target. You will find cryptocurrency traders use 'moon' to describe the anticipated high prices in a bullish market. Moon is both a noun and verb. For example "When will bitcoin moon?" "Fasten your seatbelts; we are about to go to the moon."

ATH: is an acronym for all-time high. It is the last highest price on any cryptocurrency price chart.

Whales: a wealthy individual or group of traders with significant control on cryptocurrency market prices due to their extraordinary large holdings. They can single-handedly force price declines by instantly selling off large amounts. Conversely, they can buy up orders and push prices higher.

Bearwhale: is a whale that use their influence to suppress prices.

The bear-whale of 2014 was the most memorable. A large $ 9 million sell order of 30,000 bitcoins on Bitstamp prevented price from rising any higher, forcing the market to flat line. The market, however, was intent on a bull run. Persistent buying activity chewed through the large order leading to the slaying of the bear whale.

FUD: is an acronym for Fear Uncertainty and Doubt. FUD is any intended claims to instill fear in the market to cause market sell-offs or spread misinformation to keep people away from certain opportunities.

Rekt: is slang for wrecked. It describes the state of running into losses after market prices move against your expectation. You are rekt if you made an excessive amount of loss on a bad call on a trade.

Bagholder: is someone holding a large amount of cryptocurrency.

The cryptocurrency language is evolving with the technology. New words come up and get added to the existing lexicon. With these 15 words, you will fit right in and keep up with conversations on r/bitcoin, bitcointalk forum or any one of the numerous cryptocurrency telegram and slack channels.

For more crypto related terms, Check out our extended Cryptocurrency Glossary.