Web3 lingo for beginners
A short glossary of crypto terminology.
By Geoffrey Lyons
Corey Barchat also contributed to this article.
The difficulty people have coming to grips with Web3 is often exacerbated by the fact that there’s quite a lot of jargon. To “normies” (definition below), this may seem like a way to keep people out—a means of exclusion. But really it’s just a reflection of the fact that Web3 has its own culture, and that culture is partly expressed through its vocabulary.
Rather than shy from terms like “WAGMI” and “flippening”, newcomers can embrace them as a fun way to learn. These words exist for a reason, and they provide a glimpse into the way this new and fast-changing landscape is developing.
Here are some of the most common terms used in Web3:
Altcoin - Any cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin. Popular altcoins include Ethereum, Binance Coin, and Solana.
ATH - “All time high”. A milestone in a token’s trajectory when it reaches its highest price yet. Curiously, there is no such abbreviation for all time low.
Bagholder - An investor who is holding an asset that has significantly depreciated in value.
BTD - “Buy the dip”. To purchase a cryptocurrency when its price drops.
DeFi - Abbreviation for decentralized finance. DeFi uses distributed blockchain technology for banking services accessible to anyone with an internet connection.
Dev(s) - Short for developer(s), the individual or team behind a specific cryptocurrency or NFT project.
Diamond hands - Someone who staunchly holds onto their cryptocurrency, despite market conditions and the temptation to sell.
Dust - The small amount of crypto leftover in a wallet after a completed transaction.
DYOR - “Do your own research”. Used to warn fellow community members that they should always do their due diligence before investing in a cryptocurrency or NFT collection. DYOR is usually employed as a caveat to commentary that shouldn't be construed as financial advice.
Flip - A strategy employed by short-term holders to buy an asset and sell it quickly for profit.
Flippening - The moment Ethereum potentially surpasses Bitcoin as the world’s largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization.
FOMO - “Fear of missing out”. FOMO is the uncomfortable sensation of sitting on the sidelines while everyone else is seeing big returns. The danger with FOMO is that it can cause well-intentioned users to make ill-advised investments.
FUD - “Fear, uncertainty, and doubt”. Used by market "bears" to dissuade others from investing.
GM - “Good morning”. The universal greeting of Web3, whether it’s morning or not. GN is still catching on. GA not so much.
HODL - A misspelling of the word “hold”. The term originated in the Bitcoin Talk forum, where a user wrote adamantly about their refusal to sell their BTC.
KYC - “Know your customer”. A set of compliance guidelines used in both Web3 and traditional finance that require businesses to verify the identity of their users.
Lambo - Short for Lamborghini, which symbolizes the dream of many cryptocurrency traders to get rich off their investments.
Maxi - Maximalist, or someone who doesn’t compromise on their views. A Bitcoin maxi believes every cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin is inferior.
Memecoin - A cryptocurrency that originates from a meme. Prominent examples include Dogecoin and Shiba Inu.
Moon (n) - The symbolic destination of a project or asset that has attained success or reached a high price point. Used most often in the phrase “to the moon” (e.g. “ApeCoin is going to the moon”), and occasionally adopted for the name of companies that are onboarding the world into Web3.
Moon (v) - When a cryptocurrency peaks in value. If a cryptocurrency is on its way to the moon, it’s “mooning”. If it has reached the moon, it has “mooned”.
Normie - A sometimes derogatory term used to describe people who have no experience with Web3.
NGMI - “Not gonna make it”. NGMI is frequently used to call out or shame people for their actions, e.g. if someone sells an asset instead of hodling.
No coiner - Someone who does not own any cryptocurrency.
Paper hands - A pejorative used to describe someone who sells at the slightest hint of a price downturn.
Pump and dump - A scam in which a cryptocurrency is purchased in large quantities by an individual or group, only to be sold for profit when it reaches a peak. The purchase “pumps” the price up, and the sale “dumps” the asset so its price plummets.
Rekt - “Wrecked.” If someone is liquidated or loses a significant portion of their portfolio’s value, they’re “rekt.”
Sats - Satoshis, the smallest unit of Bitcoin. A Sat is equivalent to 0.00000001 BTC. Bitcoin enthusiasts often talk of “stacking” their Sats.
Shill(n) - A social media influencer, celebrity, or other prominent user that attempts to get others to invest in a specific cryptocurrency or NFT project.
Shill (v) - To hype a certain crypto or NFT project on social media in the hopes of getting investors to buy in.
Sh*tcoin - A disparaging word for a cryptocurrency that has no fundamental value or purpose. For Bitcoin maxis, all coins other than Bitcoin are sh*tcoins.
TradFi - Traditional finance. Encompasses all of the financial sector that predates and doesn’t intersect with Web3.
WAGMI - “We're all gonna make it.” A rallying cry used to encourage others that their investments will inevitably pay off in the long-run.
Wen - An alternative spelling of "when" used by community members to ask about release dates and project updates.
Whale - Someone who holds an amount of cryptocurrency large enough to influence the market. E.g., a Shiba Inu whale caused the price of SHIB to tumble by 11% when they moved more than $2.3 billion from a dormant wallet.