Crypto slang 101

This article is for those who wish to understand the different terminologies or acronyms used in the world of crypto.

Letterset characters for old typography printing systems.
Photo by Raphael Schaller / Unsplash

Some may use crypto slang so frequently that you don’t even think of it as slang. On the other hand, if you’re a no-coiner or a noob, knowing some slang will help you slide under the radar.

And you may not know what that is yet, but we’ll explain it. Once you get the lingo down, then you can have more conversations with people in crypto.


W-E-N, “wen” comes from the Dogecoin community. Wen moon? Much good. Such how.

Perhaps the most famous applications are “wen moon” and “wen lambo”.

Wen lambo comes from the idea of getting crypto rich. Wen lambo is a symbol of getting rich in such a way that you can afford to buy a Lamborghini. Some people are into crypto for ideological reasons, they want to make the world a better place, others just want to make money.

Wen moon comes from the idea that the cryptocurrency or token price is going to increase in value. Its references the moon, such as going to the moon, that something is skyrocketing, so that there will be a high price in the future.

The term is also used in Discord channels when users ask “wen token” (referring to a token sale) or “when mint” (referring to NFT mint, or sale date).

Orange coin

Orange coin is another term for Bitcoin, because its logo is orange. The term is likely to come from a user posting a sequence of basic sentences to imply a childlike understanding of Bitcoin.

Short sentences in a row, such as “Orange Coin Good”. So Orange Coin, Orange Coin Good, Orange Coin is Bitcoin and Orange Coin Go Up, which is a way to desire bitcoin to increase in value.


Sats comes from “Satoshi Nakamoto”, the creator of Bitcoin. Sats is short for “satoshi”. It’s the smallest unit of bitcoin, the eight decimal place out. Imagine bitcoin as a metre and satoshis as centimetres.

Note that Bitcoin and bitcoin mean different things:

  • When referencing it as a protocol and payment network, it’s written with an uppercase “B”, Bitcoin. For example, “I explained to a friend that Bitcoin is a cheap and effective way to send payments abroad”.
  • When referencing it as a currency and means of payment, it’s written with a lowercase “b”, bitcoin. For example, “I donated 1 bitcoin to the Rainforest Alliance”.


HODL, spoken “hawdle” or “hohdle” is another way to say “hold”.

The word comes from an internet user who was drunk and wrote a post with the misspell. Others believe it’s the acronym for “Hold on for dear life”, because the crypto markets are so volatile.

If you believe in a coin, you’re a HODLer. If you don’t believe in a coin, then you would call that coin a shitcoin.


You call something a shitcoin if you think that the cryptocurrency or token you’re referring to is not worth investing in. It’s trash, it doesn’t contribute value to the industry.

It’s meant to be used when there is no fundamental merit to the coin, it doesn’t exist for any specific purpose. Some Bitcoin proponents believe that everything other than Bitcoin is a shitcoin and treat it as such. “There is no second best”, as Bitcoin advocate Michael Saylor famously said.

Bears, bulls, whales, sharks

Bears and bulls

While not specific to crypto, some terms have been adopted from traditional financial markets.

  • A bear market is a market where most stocks are declining in value.
  • A bull market is a market where most stocks are climbing in value.

The terms bear and bull are used to describe the sentiment of an individual asset or the market as a whole. Traders may use the terms “bearish” or “bullish” to describe their market sentiment regarding a specific asset or market.

Both terms are thought to derive from the way each animal attacks its opponents. A bear swipes down in its attack, while a bull thrusts its horns up in the air.

Whales and sharks

A “whale” in the crypto industry is a really big crypto trader. And then fish are people who buy and sell in small quantities. For a healthy market, you have both fish and whales.

A “shark” is a less known term. It’s meant to describe a danger to investors. An individual or group of individuals tries to lure investors with promises of high returns on obscure trades. They may conspire among themselves  to push the price of an asset up, and then dump it on unsuspecting investors.


“Rekt” in crypto means something bad happened, usually the user lost a lot of money, such as “You got rekt” or “You’re gonna get rekt”. You don’t become a whale if you get rekt too often.

“Getting rekt” makes you appreciate the times when you’re “mooning”, the latter means that a certain cryptocurrency or token increases in value.



FOMO stands for fear of missing out. It’s one of the most commonly used slang crypto terms. It’s hard not to have some level of FOMO in the crypto space. There is so much happening and it’s hard to keep up with everything.

It’s like a cool party that everyone wants to be a part of, and you don't want to miss out.


JOMO is the joy of missing out. It’s the opposite of FOMO.

People relish in the fact that they don’t have to pay attention to what’s going on, that they’re just holding for the long term. Some people just buy and HODL, because they don’t want to be controlled by hype cycles.


FUD means fear, uncertainty and doubt. It’s what someone says or writes when someone else is spreading negative things about crypto or that they believe they’re misinformed.

It may be a member of the press, an influencer or a “normie” giving reasons why a certain asset (or the whole crypto market) is bad, ignoring that those reasons may also exist for traditional currencies and markets.

Pump and dump


Pump means increasing the popularity and/or the price of a specific asset. When a price pumps to a level that the individual or group of individuals believes it hits their sell target, they then “dump” it.


Dump means selling an asset. It has a negative connotation and is sometimes associated with the term “shark”. The shark is an individual or group of individuals that directly or indirectly conspired to increase the price of an asset (pump it) in order to sell it (dump it) when the price is right.

Laser eyes, diamond hands and paper hands

Laser eyes

Around 2020-21, Bitcoin fans began adding “laser eyes” to their profile pictures on social media, in particular Twitter. This was a signal to imply they support Bitcoin.

Celebrities around the world have shown their support by adding laser eyes to their Twitter photos, such as Elon Musk, Paris Hilton and Elon Musk. It’s sometimes associated with the #LaserRayUntil100K hashtag, to indicate support for Bitcoin to break the $100,000 mark.

Diamond hands

Diamond hands, often expressed with 💎🙌, the diamond and raised hands emojis, respectively, is a meme popularised by crypto traders on social media, in particular Reddit.

It’s used when someone wants to show their hardcore adherence to the HODL phylosophy. It was originally used in relation to Bitcoin, but it’s now often used by individuals that band together and try to drive up the price of a “memecoin” or other asset.

Paper hands

The opposite of diamond hands, paper hands is expressed with 🧻🤲s, the toilet paper and open hands emojis, respectively.

It’s meant to be a derogatory term for what some individuals may consider another as a skittish trader, one who has “weak hands” and has sold the particular asset they belong to.

The flippening

Sometimes also referred to as “triple halving”, the flippening is an event where Ethereum proponents believe that Ethereum’s market cap will at some point surpass Bitcoin’s.

It may also be used in a similar situation where a less well known cryptocurrency, token, or protocol might overtake a better known rival.



DEX stands for Decentralised Exchange.

A decentralised exchange (DEX) is a peer-to-peer platform that allows individuals to trade cryptocurrencies or tokens among themselves without an intermediary. The platform is decentralised because it’s managed and controlled by code, “smart contracts” and not humans.


CEX stands for Centralised Exchange.

A centralised exchange (CEX) offers the same services as their decentralised counterpart, but is managed and controlled by a centralised authority, where the individual usually needs to provide KYC (know your client), such as showing their national identification and proof of residence.


  • A “no-coiner” is someone who doesn’t have any crypto. Some compare it to a “noob” or a “normie”.
  • Bears, bulls, whales, sharks, but also rabbits, tortoises, snails, chickens, pigs, ostriches and sheep.
  • “Shilling” is giving high praise to a particular asset for self-benefit to increase its price so that the individual may “dump” (sell) the asset into the market to unaware investors who bought into it.
  • Know-your-customer, “KYC”, is the term used to describe centralised exchanges that require their users a proof of identity before they are allowed to use some, or any, of the exchange’s services.
  • A “smart contract” is code that runs on blockchains and is able to call and execute a variety of applications, including DeFi protocols.
  • For specific DeFi terminologies.


If you’ve been in crypto for some time, you probably already know the way people speak and write in this space. But maybe you found a few terms you didn’t know previously.

Share this with people you think need an understanding of the type of slang and jargon used in this space.