Cryptocurrency terms for beginners

crypto Feb 4, 2021
Cryptocurrency terms for beginners

[UPDATED July 2021]

There are a couple of terms that are only used in the crypto space and will seem alien to anyone who doesn’t understand what they stand for. Let's take a look at some cryptocurrency terms that beginners should get acquainted with.


is a common cryptocurrency term which basically means any other cryptocurrency that isn’t Bitcoin, and it is worth noting that there are over 2000 cryptocurrencies. It’s also worth noting that you might need to keep an eye on the Altcoins to be a good trader.


an acronym for all time high, and it means the highest price value a crypto asset has ever reached. The ATH of a coin is not the current value of the coin. For example, the ATH of BTC is about $63,000 and this happened in April 2021.

Bitcoin Maximalists

Bitcoin maximalists are bitcoin enthusiasts who believe that most (read every) altcoin is a shitcoin. They believe the other coins are unnecessary and put all their faith in Bitcoin.


basically means going long. It’s when a trader, based on their analysis, believes that an asset will see an increase in its value. The market is usually referred to as a Bull Market.


This is the direct opposite of bullish and it is when a trader based on their analysis, believes an asset will see a downward trajectory. The market is usually referred to as a bear market.


This basically means a decentralized application, i.e. an app that was built on the Blockchain technology.


At some point you must have heard the word exchange but what is an exchange? In the cryptocurrency space, an exchange is wherever you can buy, sell or swap cryptocurrencies. A good example is Obiex where you can easily swap your volatile coins for stable ones for free with no confirmation required.


This is one word that you cannot escape in the crypto space, and it just means physical currencies that are backed by a central bank. Whether it’s USD, Naira, Yen, etc., they are all FIATS.

FOMO — Fear of missing out

This one is not exactly strictly a crypto term - I mean we use it in our everyday lives but it’s so important in the crypto space, and it is as the meaning reads out, fear of missing out.

For example, a coin’s value is going up and everyone seems to be about it, telling you to buy or sell depending on the narrative, so you take an action because you do not want to be one of those that had the opportunity to maybe buy a coin when it was low or sell a coin when it was really high. There’s a direct opposite of FOMO and it’s JOMO.


is an acronym for Fear, uncertainty, and doubt. It is associated with bad news being spread about crypto or a particular coin in the hope that it leads to panic sell at lower prices.


This one has a very funny origin — There’s a bitcoin forum where someone went on a rant in 2013 and he meant to type HOLD but typed HODL instead. That singular act changed the crypto space and invented the term which is one of the most popular crypto terms, HODL.

Apparently, he was drunk while typing, (so don’t let anyone tell you alcohol isn’t good🌚). Some have coined it to mean “Holding on for dear life”. It basically just means holding your coins, say for example you buy a coin today and the next week the value doubles but you refuse to sell with the hope that the value will still increase further along the line, you’re HODLING.

Some people HODL forever, in the hope that someday the world will totally get rid of Fiat and they’ll strictly be using the crypto they HODL.


is an acronym for initial coin offering. You’re probably thinking what does that even mean? Think of it as a new startup seeking funding. You know how a private company that intends to go public will have to sell shares? That’s similar to what an ICO is. The difference here is that you do not have equity in the company, what you have are the exact amount of tokens you purchased that would increase in value if it flourishes or become useless if it doesn’t.

There are so many ICO’s being created every day and a lot of them can be a scam and “take your money for vanishing” so you want to do your due diligence as you would every investment.

Interesting fact: Ethereum (ETH) started out as an ICO. So imagine someone that invested in ETH tokens and kept it while it rose in value through the years.


is an acronym for initial exchange offering. It is quite similar to an ICO in that it is a fundraising event, the difference is that while an ICO is conducted by the project team themselves, in an IEO, the fundraising will be conducted on a well-known exchange’s fundraising platform like Binance Launchpad.

JOMO — Joy of missing out

JOMO is also quite self-explanatory — you’ve been seeing great reviews about a coin but you do not take any action and then things go south, so it turns out you not doing anything has served you well, hence the joy of missing out.

Moon or Mooning

is used to describe a coin that is growing significantly. For example, if Bitcoin is worth $11k today, tomorrow, $12k, Wednesday $15k etc. you can say Bitcoin is mooning.

Pump and Dump

is artificially inflating the price of an asset by mass buying it over a short period of time (this is the pump) and then mass-selling it quickly before the value drops (this is the dump) to the price it was at before the pump. This is considered illegal in several regions and frowned upon in the crypto space. It is also easier to pump and dump coins with low trade volume unlike more established crypto assets like Bitcoin.


is used when you’re experiencing a totally bad crypto investment.


A shitcoin is an altcoin that is considered to have no actual value. This term is mostly used by Bitcoin maximalists.

A Whale

is someone who owns a lot of crypto, most likely Bitcoin. A whale can sometimes influence the price of the open market by mass buying or mass-selling a crypto.


Cryptocurrency terms are very important in the space. If you’ve ever been in a trading class or a forum where they give tips and discuss, you’ll see that they rarely ever speak in layman’s terms and you’ll be so confused. It’s best to get familiar with the terms just to help understand what’s happening around you. Can’t go wrong with knowing what they are and what they stand for.

Know other terms that you have heard but are not here? do share with us in the comments below.

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Paolo Abamwa

When Arsenal isn't stressing me, you can find me working on growth solutions or enjoying my life.

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