Cryptocurrency Jargon: A Guide for the Crypto-Curious


Ljubljana, Slovenia - May 14 Bitcoin and alt cryptocurrency coins close up shoot.

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Personal finance can be confusing and investing in stocks can be intimidating for the uninitiated. Trying to understand buying points, dollar cost averaging, stock price cup and handle patterns, and other elements of stock marketing investing, not to mention the various indices that reveal market trends. often requires a lot of study or guidance from an expert.

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And then cryptocurrency investing bursts onto the scene with a language of its own, driven largely by retail stock investors, millennials, and social media. Some of the lingo applies to stocks as well, as it was borrowed from meme stock investors and was enthusiastically spread on the Reddit/WallStreetBets secondary thread during the GameStop trading frenzy.

Here’s your guide to crypto lingo, so whether you choose to invest or not, you’ll know what Elon Musk means when he raises his fist skyward on “Saturday Night Live” and declares, “To the moon!”

diamond hands – When a cryptocurrency or stock investor has “diamond hands”, it means that they will hold onto their coins or stocks even when the value falls. On March 19, amid Bitcoin’s plunge from over $45,500 per coin to under $40,000, Tesla TechnoKing Elon Musk tweeted “Tesla has” with emoji for “diamond” and “hands.” He credited the statement to Tesla’s “Coin Master”.

quires – On the other hand, someone with paper hands can sell shares or coins too soon, losing unrealized profits. The analogy comes from poker, where someone can “fold” or get out of the game if he thinks he is not going to win.

HODL – Pronounced Ha-dill (rhymes with model), HODL means someone who has no intention of selling their crypto or stock. The term originated on a Bitcoin forum in 2013 when someone misspelled the word “hold”, declaring “I’M HODLING”. The word is also applied to meme stocks.

Whale — A whale describes someone who owns a large percentage of a specific crypto. Investopedia writes that the top 20% of bitcoin holders own more than 80% of bitcoin. When these companies choose to sell coins, it can affect the market more than the single actions of most investors. Surprisingly, Tesla is about to be considered a whale, and the electric vehicle maker doesn’t even own a majority of the shares in any public company, according to Fortune. It seems that only Musk’s tweets move the value of cryptocurrencies.

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To the moon – It is difficult to trace the origins of the phrase “to the moon”, but the meaning is self-explanatory. Just as landing astronauts on the moon in 1969 (and even today…) was a questionable proposition with a lot at stake for success, a stock or crypto going “to the moon” only means that its price will rise to generate incalculable profits for investors.

when i lamb – Similar to “To the Moon”, Lambo (short for Lambhorghini luxury car) comes about when investors ask when a cryptocurrency will be highly profitable for investors, allowing them to trade it in for the car of their dreams.

mooning – When a stock or crypto is declared to be “over the moon”, experts believe that it has peaked. Of course, those who HODL could be caught losing money if they decide to sell in the future, but those who sell at the top could “land a Lambo on the moon.”

bag holder – However, if crypto or meme stocks go in the opposite direction, anyone left behind after the point of sale is considered a “bag holder”, who stands to lose money if they sell their assets.

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pump and pull – Pump and dump refers to investors trying to illegally increase the value of a stock or crypto only to sell when it hits a high point. Previously relegated to small-cap stocks, which are easy to manipulate, investors have started to do so with crypto as well.

buy the dip – When a stock is expected to go up, the price suddenly drops, some investors advise people to “buy the dip”. Wednesday’s crypto crash sparked a flurry of “buy the dip” memes.

the musky effect – This newly coined phrase describes billionaire Elon Musk’s ability to move the market with a single tweetas it did on Wednesday, implying that Tesla would not sell its Bitcoin holding, which helped the cryptocurrency recover some earlier losses.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketer with an interest in finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her long list of publishing credits includes Bankrate, Lending Tree and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York with a veritable menagerie of wildlife that includes 2 cats, a naughty kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities, as well as her two sons and her husband. She finds her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.