Cryptocurrency terms for beginners

A comprehensive glossary of key cryptocurrency terms every beginner should know

The cryptocurrency sphere has seen rapid acceleration in growth since Bitcoin’s inception in 2009 . The cryptocurrency community has also grown exponentially, creating a tight-knit sub-culture that shares similar ideas on self sovereignty and the historical dominance of banking institutions. They often use their own cryptocurrency terms that could be confusing for a beginner.

As the space continues to expand, members of that community have taken it upon themselves to create a cryptic set of vocabulary and jargon in relation to crypto trading and investing. Below is a comprehensive guide to the key words and phrases used throughout the cryptocurrency community.


Rekt – When a trader gets liquidated on a margin exchange like BitMEX or Deribit, or if they lose a substantial amount of funds on a specific trade. An example of this would be when a trader says: “I got rekt by placing a long order when Bitcoin was at $20,000.”

FOMO – The ‘fear of missing out’ is widespread in the crypto community. Traders will often buy a digital asset when it makes a substantial move to the upside, instead of waiting for the perfect setup. This is driven by the notion of ‘FOMO’ and typically will end up as a losing trade.

Hodl – The ‘Hodl’ meme originated from the Bitcointalk forum, where an enraged, and slightly worse for wear, trader left a rant about why he was holding his Bitcoin instead of selling. The alcohol-induced rant misspelt ‘Holding’ as ‘Hodling’, giving birth to a meme that is still prevalent five years later. When a trader now says they are ‘Hodling’ their coins/tokens, they mean they are holding without the intention of selling.

TATA is technical analysis and this can be applied to not only cryptocurrency markets but also legacy and major currency markets. Technical analysis is the analysis of a particular asset’s price-chart. Common methods of technical analysis are support, resistance and charting patterns.

FAFundamental analysis is a method of research into a business or ICO. For example, fundamental analysis would assess if a company’s team are reputable, if the company’s product is fit for the market and if there is a use-case in the real world.

Satoshi (sats) – Not only is Satoshi considered to be the ‘creator’ of Bitcoin, ‘Satoshi’ is also the term used for the smallest possible denomination of Bitcoin (0.00000001BTC). Instead of reading out each individual decimal point it has become easier to describe the price in Satoshi, or ‘sats’.

Bitcoin market dominance – This is calculated the % share of the overall crypto market cap taken up by Bitcoin. For example, if the total crypto market cap was $217 million and Bitcoin’s market cap was $113 million, Bitcoin’s market dominance would be at 52.3%. This is usually a good indicator to assess whether Bitcoin or Altcoins are looking potentially bullish or bearish.

Long/short – On margin exchanges like BitMEX and Deribit users have the choice of ‘going long’ or ‘going short’ on a particular asset. Going long is effectively betting that the asset will increase in price, while shorting is betting on the asset will move to the downside.

MoonWhen the crypto community describe a coin or token as ‘mooning’, it means the price is moving to the upside.

Shill – When someone ‘shills’ a project it means they are promoting it for their personal gain. For example, if a user had 10,000 EOS tokens they might share a message saying: “EOS is going to be a top 5 coin in 2019.” This would be a ‘shill’.

ATH ATH means all-time-high. For example Bitcoin’s all-time-high is $20,000.

We hope these cryptocurrency terms will help you to navigate the industry more easily. If you’re a beginner and still need a bit of help, or even if you’re a seasoned trader looking for new information, our definitive cryptocurrency guides have been created especially for you.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.


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