HODL, FUD, SAFU, and other crypto slang terms you need to know in 2023

The crypto world has developed its own unique language. Find out how to use crypto slang to fully immerse in the space of coins and tokens.

Crypto slang terms

To become a successful investor, you need to know your way around the crypto industry. Technical analysis, complex calculations, and using the Fibonacci sequence to examine the inner dynamics of market prices are good for starters.

To jump to the next level, you must learn the secret code of the crypto vernacular. Only then will you be able to join the elite of cryptopreneurs and gain arcane knowledge of long-term value extraction from digital assets.

Leveraging crypto slang, you'll easily decode memes, partake in shitstorms on Twitter and Reddit, and engage in social interactions in the web3-verse. Below you can find our selection of the crypto slang terms we recommend you learn by heart.

Ape (also: apeing)

"Ape" in crypto slang denotes a person who follows the herd and quickly buys into a new crypto phenomenon, acquiring digital assets without performing their own research. Similarly, "apeing" refers to such behavior in the crypto space.

Both terms originated from the CryptoPunks project, launched in 2017 by the Larva Labs studio, and symbolize impulsive actions driven by FOMO. While potentially profitable, apeing carries risks. It's always better to stay informed in the dynamic crypto environment.


This sweetie is a shorthand for an address. That is, a cryptocurrency wallet public address – a unique identifier that you share with other crypto users so they can send coins to your wallet to make it thicker. Metaphorically, of course.

What you don't, shouldn't, and mustn't share is your private key – a 256-bit secret password protecting your wallet from the greedy hands of malicious actors. A private key is sometimes confused with a seed phrase. What they have in common is that a seed phrase is simply a mnemonic version of your private key.


An airdrop is a marketing strategy involving free or semi-free giveaways. Typically, a company performing an airdrop offers tokens or other crypto assets to reward their community members or attract new users.

The goal is to promote a new project, enhance loyalty, or both. Frequently, users are required to perform a certain action to become eligible for the reward, such as: retweeting a post, following a social media account, signing up to a platform, or signing up for a newsletter.


Bagholder is an unfortunate trader who has been HODL-ing for too long and missed an opportunity to sell. As a result, they got left holding a bag of worthless or plummeting coins. Picture it as being stuck with a sack of rocks while others escape to the moon.

The concept of a bagholder is also a reminder to do thorough research, dodge shady projects, and not get caught in FOMO traps. So, keep your finger on the pulse of the crypto market, always do your own research, and don't become a bagholder!

Bitcoin maximalist

This specimen of a crypto lingo denotes a follower of the Bitcoin maximalism religion, which posits that Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency that has and should have any meaningful value, while all other coins are impostors and garbage.

Softer forms of Bitcoin maximalism acknowledge the existence of some alternative coins (altcoins) as sub-standard (compared to Bitcoin) yet viable competitors to national currencies and traditional financial systems, which are even more garbage than any altcoin.


In the crypto jargon, "bullish" means "hold on tight, we're going up!" In other words, the term expresses an expectation that an asset will rise in value, and it's a perfect time to invest. When the market is bullish, prices are taking off, and crypto traders are filled with joy, ready to uncork the champagne.

Buy the dip (also: BTD, buy the fucking dip, BTFD)

A catchy crypto slang phrase that encourages traders to seize opportunities during market downturns. Just imagine yourself on a shopping spree on Black Friday in your local mall, believing you're getting great deals.

Well, it frequently works like that, and buying the dip, indeed, may mean tapping into opportunities. When prices dive, clever investors see it as a chance to scoop up assets at a bargain and wait til coins or tokens bounce back to sell them for a handsome profit. Or HODL them, for that matter.


A handy acronym denoting centralized exchanges as opposed to those decentralized. The former are online trading platforms owned and run by private companies, which are subject to the regulations of the jurisdictions they operate in.

A CEX enables users to buy, sell, or swap crypto assets. Centralized platforms offer users support and a better UX, but they're more susceptible to cyber attacks and charge higher transaction fees.

Last but the worst, to be able to use CEX platforms, users need to relinquish custody of their funds.


Cryptojacking occurs when someone uses your computer (or another electronic device) without your knowledge or consent to mine crypto. The more formal phrase to describe this activity is "malicious crypto mining."

The processing power thieves hack into your computer through malware which usually infects your gear through standard phishing methods. Cryptojacking can slow down your system and drain your resources. It's one of the most prevalent crypto threats.


A DAO means a decentralized autonomous organization, a type of bottom-up management structure based on the blockchain technology. You can think of it as a digital democracy, where power is shared among the people.

In DAOs, decisions are made collectively and transparently using smart contracts that allow automating voting and financial processes. Joining a DAO is like entering a club where everyone has a voice and votes count.

DAOs break down hierarchies and allow crypto community members to have an impact on how platforms are governed.

Dapps (or dApps)

One of the most common crypto slang terms referring to decentralized applications. Dapps are all the rage in the web3/crypto/NFT space.

They run on decentralized networks, where no central authority pulls the strings, and offer anything from games to finance tools, social platforms, and virtual worlds, all while keeping your data secure and private.

To be able to smoothly use dapps you need to have a crypto wallet and understand basic crypto concepts.


DeFi is a neat abbreviation for decentralized finance. The notion refers to non-custodial crypto protocols providing users with financial services without any supervision from the central authority. Think of it as a financial playground without traditional banks at the helm of the money business.

In practice, DeFi is a vibrant marketplace powered by smart contracts and blockchain technology, allowing you to lend, borrow, trade, and invest digital assets. It does away with the middleman and gives you the freedom to be your own banker.

Common DeFi apps include decentralized exchanges (DEX-es), lending protocols, and yield farms – platforms that allow users to lock their crypto funds for a certain period to earn rewards.


"Degen" is a crypto slang term derived from "degenerate." It refers to a crypto trader indulging in high-risk investments in the cryptocurrency market.

A degen is an adrenaline junkie who will dive headfirst into speculative trades without due diligence, attracted by high rewards, and not discouraged by the hazy possibility of losing money.


By now, it's easy to guess “DEX” stands for a decentralized exchange. Unlike centralized exchanges, DEX platforms have no central authority, and offer self-custody of funds, data protection, and privacy.

The price to pay is a less friendly UX experience due to the higher complexity of such services and the lack of support for on-ramp and off-ramp processes (fiat currencies). DEX-es only enable exchanging cryptocurrencies or tokens for other cryptocurrencies or tokens.


DYOR, or "do your own research," is a good practice extending far beyond the cryptocurrency space. Essentially, it's the antonym of apeing known for leaving crypto investors with their pockets (half-)empty. DYOR is always good and even better when you're considering buying a ticket to the moon from a little-known token peddler.

Exit scam

A sneaky vanishing act, also known as "take the money and run," that, unfortunately, contributes to the negative perception of the crypto community.

Exit scams happen when blockchain projects, such as exchange platforms, abruptly shut down and evacuate with investors' funds. It's like a magician conjuring your wallet out of your pocket straight into theirs.

Exit scams are a harsh reminder to DYOR, avoid shitcoins, and not indulge in apeing.


You've probably heard this one hundreds of times outside the cryptocurrency world. At some point in life, spacetime, or metaverse, the fear of missing out affects nearly everyone. In such a case, the best solution is to go YOLO or Zen while not giving up HODL-ing.


FUD is one of the drivers that keep the crypto Twitter and crypto Reddit running. Or, actually, three of them but all mergeable into one neurotic state of mind. The letters in the acronym stand for fear, uncertainty, and doubt, which are (black) PR tools used to attack a particular cryptocurrency, crypto exchange, or the crypto market in general.

Wrongdoers use FUD to persuade susceptible users into thinking badly about a specific brand, product, service, or reality as a whole. It's a common state of mind in the crypto community.


Gas is like the fuel that keeps the blockchain engine running. In the Ethereum environment, the term denotes the unit for measuring the computational effort necessary to process a transaction and execute a smart contract.

Ultimately, gas is the price you pay for speed and efficiency. When the network gets congested, gas prices rise, and you might feel like you're fueling up a truck rather than a compact Toyota. Also, more complex transactions consume more gas, requiring higher fees from users.


One of the most prominent crypto slang terms. The acronym stands for "hold on for dear life," where "dear life" essentially means crypto assets. In other words, HODL-ers hold on to Bitcoin or any other particular coin, irrespective of market cap fluctuations.

The rationale behind the HODL attitude is that, ultimately, Bitcoin makes it to the moon no matter what, with the rest of the crypto industry coming right after. HODL-ers are hard-core optimists and don't get affected by swings in market capitalization, economic turbulences, or political earthquakes.


Lambo is a short for Lamborghini, no less a status symbol than a car. It was absorbed into the crypto vernacular in the early days of Bitcoin to point out that swapping fiat currency for the blockchain gold is a straight path to riches.

When someone asks you "w(h)en Lambo?" they're either sincerely interested in the development of your trading strategy or envious of your well-informed investment decisions that are elevating you to the Lambo level.


It's what you say when things don't go as planned in the crypto business. NGMI translates to "Not Gonna Make It" and is used to express a sense of acceptance or resignation when an investment or trade doesn't yield expected results. It's also a reminder to stay calm and not get caught up in the frenzy – there's always another opportunity around the corner.


Even if you're a crypto veteran who paid for pizza with bitcoins, you too were a normie once. This semi-derogatory term refers to casual spectators who undoubtedly wish they were better versed in the crypto esotericism but are too caught up in their nine-to-fives.

Normies can't grasp the technicalities or understand the market dynamics. Nevertheless, they read about Bitcoin and several other cryptocurrencies in the CNN headlines, so they're aware that decentralized digital assets will dethrone the US dollar sooner or later.


Pump-and-dump is a form of crypto fraud. Its aim is to artificially inflate the coin's price, creating a frenzy of buying, only to sell the assets at the peak, causing a sudden crash. These schemes are not rare in the crypto business, and they can leave investors with empty pockets.

If you ever come across copy-pasted messages on crypto social media or discussion groups trying to shill a new super asset and generate hype, just go the opposite direction – it's most probably a pump-and-dump game.

Rug pull

A rug pull, which got its name from pulling the rug (from under one's feet, obviously), is a type of an exit scam. It happens when a coin or token developer attracts investors but abandons the project before it's complete leaving all others with worthless assets, in other words: rugged.

Unlike pump-and-dump schemes, which entail manipulating the price of an asset, rug pulls are about removing the liquidity of a coin on an exchange making it impossible to sell.


SAFU means what we all want our assets to be: safe. Literally, the acronym stands for Secure Asset Fund for Users. It's an initiative developed by Binance in which a portion of trading fees is transferred to an emergency fund.

The idea is to put aside some money to be able to compensate users in the case of a hack or other type of exploit.


The name says it all: a worthless coin. To a Bitcoin maximalist – a non-Bircoin coin.


WGMI is precisely the opposite of NGMI and one of the most enthusiastic crypto slang terms. It stands for "We're Gonna Make It!" and expresses a HODL-er's unwavering joy of flying to the moon – the place where Bitcoin is a legal tender, and 1 BTC is equivalent to at least $1 million).


A crypto whale is an individual or organization holding substantial amounts of digital currency. Whales have the power to influence the market with massive transactions.

They're like heavyweight champions of crypto, making waves with their moves. With an estimated 40% stored in less than 2,000 crypto wallets, whales control large swathes of the industry.

If you haven't started off early enough in the crypto business, you probably have zero chances of becoming a whale. Still, if you invest wisely, some day you may evolve into an orca.

Know any other crypto slang terms? Let us know!

If you know about any notable crypto slang terms that we’ve omitted, just drop us a line – we’ll be happy to include them in our list.