23 Cryptocurrency Slang Terms to Know Before You Invest

bitcoin symbol in yellow gold

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts are building new, alternative financial assets and systems. At the same time, they're creating new words, acronyms and phrases for their community. If you're interested in investing in crypto or want to learn more about the space, breaking down these language barriers can be a good place to start.


Airdrop is a method for distributing cryptocurrencies to many people at the same time. New projects may airdrop and give away their tokens to raise awareness and interest. Some might require you to complete certain tasks, such as talking about the project on social media, before they send the token to your crypto wallet.


Altcoins—alternative coins—generally refers to cryptocurrency coins and tokens that aren't Bitcoin. Some of these coins have become popular, such as Ethereum and Tether, but Bitcoin remains the largest crypto based on total market cap (the total value of the circulating supply).


Investors may want to know when their coins' prices will hit a new all-time high (ATH). All-time highs are often referenced in other types of investing as well.

Bag and Bag Holder

A bag is when someone has a lot of a specific cryptocurrency. A bag holder is someone who continues holding on to that large quantity as the value of the crypto drops toward $0.


Crypto enthusiasts might encourage you to buy the dip (BTD) when a cryptocurrency's price drops. It reflects the all-in mentality that some investors hold.


When someone installs cryptojacking malware on your computer, they may be able to use your computer to mine cryptos without you realizing it. They can earn money from mining without having to buy equipment of their own or pay for the electricity to keep it running.


Decentralized finance (DeFi) is the name for alternative types of financial products and services that are being created within the crypto world, such as crypto lending platforms and savings accounts.


A small amount of cryptocurrency that effectively gets stuck in a wallet. This happens if you don't have enough to meet minimum requirements to trade it on a crypto exchange. Or, the dust might be worth less than you'd have to pay in fees to transfer or use it.


Before investing in cryptocurrency, you should do your own research (DYOR) and make sure you understand where you're sending your money. Someone might tell you about a new coin they like, but then warn you to DYOR.


Cryptocurrencies are often ranked based on their current market cap. When one crypto's market cap pushes it higher in the ranks, it "flips" the next coin. The "flippening" refers to when Ethereum, the second most popular coin, might flip the top-ranking Bitcoin and become the biggest cryptocurrency by market cap.


Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) refers to skepticism or uncertainty about a cryptocurrency, project or the overall crypto market. FUD can be used in different ways, such as when a negative event "creates FUD" about a coin or when someone "has FUD" and isn't investing. A FUDster can be someone who is spreading FUD.


"Hold on for dear life"—in other words, keep holding on to your crypto as the price fluctuates. Someone might say they are a HODLer or are HODLing if they're passively investing in a crypto (buying and holding) rather than actively trading.


A Lamborghini (lambo) is a high-end car that you might be able to afford if your cryptocurrency goes up in value. Someone who's investing in a coin might ask, "When lambo?" Meaning, when is the price going to go up?

Moon or Mooning

Moon and mooning refer to when crypto's price is rapidly increasing, or skyrocketing. An investor might want to know when their coins are going "to the moon."

Not Your Keys, Not Your Coins

An expression that refers to the fact that whoever has the private key for a crypto wallet can control the wallet. Crypto enthusiasts may prefer creating and using their own wallets so they can keep the private key secret. But if you use a public exchange, like Coinbase or Gemini, the company generally holds onto the private key and stores your coins.


You don't want to get wrecked—or rekt—as that would mean you've lost a lot of money.


Sats are a unit of currency, and sat is worth one hundred millionth of a Bitcoin—0.00000001 Bitcoin. It's short for Satoshi, a reference to the moniker Satoshi Nakamoto, which has been applied to the pseudonymous inventor (or inventors) of Bitcoin.


A cryptocurrency coin that was specifically created to scam investors out of money.

Seed Phrase

A way to represent a crypto wallet's private key. If you create a crypto wallet, you want to keep the seed phrase or private key very secure. The private key is what gives you the ability to send the crypto that's in the wallet. If you lose it, you could lose all the coins.


A shill is someone who promotes a coin and tries to drive its price up. Someone who is shilling for a coin—sometimes called pumping—might be an investor or could be getting paid to promote the coin, which is why shilling has a negative connotation.

Rug Pull

A type of crypto scam that starts with the scammers creating and promoting a new scamcoin. Once they've collected investors' money, they pull the rug and walk away—leaving investors with little or nothing (in other words, the people getting scammed are bag holders).

Weak Hands

Crypto investors who sell their coins if the price drops, even if it only drops a little. Someone with strong hands might hold on to their coins during the downs and ups (potentially to their detriment).


A person or group that owns a large portion of a cryptocurrency. Crypto transactions are public, so you can figure out how much cryptocurrency is in a wallet, even if you don't know who owns that wallet. A whale may be able to affect a crypto's price by quickly buying or selling their coins.