Learn all about crypto pop culture and get up to speed on your jargon today!

What started off as the butt of all jokes - associated with get-rich-quick schemes, condescending teenagers in fake high rise apartments promoting luxury living, sweaty characters watching their savings disappear, "HODL" Game of Thrones memes - and Leonardo Di Caprio's sneering face?

Crypto. Crypto began as a pudgy-faced kid punching numbers in a keyboard in his mom's basement, and emerged into a 3 trillion dollar industry that sent the financial world reeling in shock.

Thanks to a relentless community of Redditors and online trolls, the internet is now flooded with crypto memes and confusing jargon thrown about on forums that is difficult to decipher for all but the most seasoned cryptoheads. LFG!!!

Who are some of the hottest figures in crypto today?

  • Satoshi Nakomoto was the pseudonym used for the person or group of persons responsible for the creation of Bitcoin in 2007. He (?) was assumed to be Japanese in origin, although a detailed analysis of the timestamps from when he posted online revealed that this was unlikely to be true. Many individuals have tried to reveal themselves as Nakomoto, but the veracity of their claims remains unfounded.
  • Vitalik Buterin is a Russian-Canadian programmer who is one of the co-founders of Ethereum, and the author of the first Ethereum whitepaper. Although surprisingly young at 28 years old and a huge World of Warcraft nerd - Buterin manages to be gawky, highly-intelligent, and sometimes childlike when it comes to expressing his views on crypto and politics.
  • No mention of crypto would be complete without recognizing the utterly bizarre influence Elon Musk has over the price of Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and other cryptocurrencies. With a simple tweet, the self-proclaimed "Technoking" can send the market skyrocketing - or plummeting to the ground. Indeed, Elon is the striking image of a smug, exuberant crypto lord who can deal just as much damage as he can do good.
  • When Gary's name gets dropped, a collective symphony of sighs and groans can be heard from around the room. Gary Gensler is the 33rd chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and one of crypto's stiffest opponents despite giving mixed praise and criticism to it - and also teaching a course on blockchain at MIT. Some of Gary's favorite hobbies include dancing and beating up unregulated exchanges and ICOs. Still, Gary is the villain we deserve, and without his respectable experience in both crypto and traditional finance - we could be facing alot worse.
  • Changpeng Zhao is the founder of the world's largest and most infamous exchange Binance, and could be described as the mellowed-out Confucius of crypto. Each of Zhao's tweets is a mysterious 3-5 words, and always ends his sentences with a period while rarely expressing excitement. When Zhao is not wearing a black Binance hoodie, he likes to travel by frequently crossing regulatory borders.
  • If you gave an excitable Gen Z-er several billion dollars and the curly hair of Seth Rogan - you might imagine the face of Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX Exchange. Sam's habits can only be described as ultramodern and laidback, being an avid vegan who loves to sleep in beanbag chairs and still stays in the same apartment with his flatmates in the Bahamas despite being a billionaire. But don't be fooled by his easygoingness - Sam is a true practitioner of utilitarianism and effective altruism, having pledged 1% of FTX's revenue to charity.

These are but a few of the personalities that made crypto what it is today! For a more extensive list, we recommend you check out this article here.

Cryptopunk gallery
Just a few of the 10,000 cryptopunks available!

There's no shortage of dogs when it comes to crypto, and it all started when a Shiba Inu meme was popularized in 2013. You can read about it in our previous article, but when two engineers decided to create Dogecoin - they never thought it would reach critical acclaim with an explosive 140285% return! A few years later, Shiba Inu was released and blew the record out of the water with a whopping 46,000,000% return in less than a year.

Since then, hundreds of doge-like spinoff tokens have emerged to pique the interest of speculators from time to time.

NFTs have been around since 2014, but didn't really break into mainstream culture until 2021. An NFT is short for "non-fungible token," which basically means it's a token with a unique digital signature that can never be copied again. This made it useful for making counterfeit-proof digital art and instantly drew the attention of the most modern art snobs in the world.

Matt Hall and John Watkinson were the creators of one of the first NFT collections "Crypto Punks" - featuring badly-pixelated graphics of hooligans that sold for an average of 300 to 500 thousand dollars - and in some cases, an eye-watering amount of over 2 million!

Bored Ape Yacht Club quickly jumped onboard soon after, delivering similar success. Their trademark apes all have signature, unamused faces - sometimes smoking marijuana and growing oddly-patched stubble, or wearing outlandish headgear. Tons of prominent celebrities such as Steph Curry, Jay-Z, Logan Paul, Post Malone, and Snoop Dogg have purchased crypto punks and bored apes as a symbol of pride and acceptance of the crypto community.

The concept of the metaverse might have been inspired by kids watching too many TRON and Blade Runner movies - but the term has actually been around since 1992 when Neal Stephenson described his vision of the future in "Snow Crash." Since then, open-universe games like Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox began to give us a glimpse of what virtual world interactions might actually look like. And when blockchain projects like Decentraland and The Sandbox rose to fame - millions of futuristic fans lined up to open their pockets. Many major corporations such as Atari, Adidas, PwC, and Samsung have already purchased virtual plots of land, showing that institutional interest in crypto is increasing.

Web3 is the latest buzzword in crypto, coined in 2014 by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood. The vision for Web3 is hazy and varies depending on who you ask, but promotes the decentralization of the internet - which until now has been largely controlled by a handful of tech companies wielding enormous influence. Censorship-resistance, filtering of harmful content, data security, privacy, and scalability are some of the core principles of Web3.

Hodor joke holding door Bitcoin
Poor Hodlor doing his best not to cave in...

What are some crypto slangs I should know?

  • Ape-ing is a hilarious term that was originally derived from the gaming world, and describes an investor who instantly bought as much of a newly-launched crypto as possible without doing any research. Apes are associated with being unnaturally strong, and perhaps this was a reference to a "power move" by going all-in. Or, perhaps it could reference the primate's stupidity for not doing enough research.
  • Astroturfing is the deceptive practice of talking to yourself on public crypto forums or Telegram groups - under the disguise of two or more people having a discussion. The goal is to use fake accounts to make it seem like there is "buzz" about a project, when in reality it's really easy to spot a sad loser.
  • "Bags" are slang for the coins that someone holds in their portfolio.
  • BTFD means "buy the f*cking dip," and is often used as a battlecry by zealous cryptoheads who want to seem indifferent to a recent price plunge. They want others to believe that this is a good buying opportunity before the price goes up again - even though they're still secretly sh*tting their pants.
  • "Diamond hands" refers to hands that are as strong as diamonds - the hardest substance in the world. It can be used as a noun or verb to tell others to keep holding onto their crypto even in the face of uncertainty, because letting go would be a foolish move.
  • Dolphins are individual investors who hold a moderate amount of crypto.
  • DYOR means "do your own research," and the acronym is repeatedly abused by both crypto elitists who don't want to share their knowledge and prudent investors alike.
  • Fishes are individual investors who hold very small amounts of crypto.
  • "Flippening" is a term used to describe the moment that Ethereum will overtake Bitcoin in market capitalization, though it is far off in the distance.
  • FOMO means "fear of missing out," and is often used with anxiety as the reason why someone decided to buy into a crypto - because they did not want to miss the potential gains.
  • FUD stands for "fear, uncertainty, and doubt," and ranges from a scornful remark in response to media and government crackdowns on crypto - or to define a broader market fear that poses a serious threat.
  • Gm (good morning) has sort of become the courteous greeting between all fellow crypto enthusiasts. While it signifies the start of a new day, it also subtly means "we are early" as a nod of respect, because let's face it - we are woke AF.
  • "HODL" started off as a drunken typo on Bitcointalk by author GameKyuubi, and quickly spiraled out of control. He originally believed that selling in a bear market meant you were either a great day-trader or a noob, and everyone in between should "hold" their assets because "traders can only take your money if you sell." Later, the typo even developed an acronym of its own - hold on for dear life.
  • Lambo is a half-sarcastic, half-tearful reference used by those who hope to be able to afford luxury cars in the future with their crypto profits. "When Lambo?" is the most common usage by far.
  • LFG stands for "let's f*cking go!" as an encouraging way of rallying spirits, although it could just as easily stand for "looking for girlfriend."
  • "Pump-and-dump" is slang for when one party of scheming investors fools another much larger party of investors to "pump" their money into an asset by creating a false sense of enthusiasm. Later, the smaller party of investors "dumps" the asset, intentionally taking all of the profits and causing the asset to crash for everyone else.
  • REKT is just a shorthand way of spelling "wrecked" - a common gaming term to describe someone who just got owned (or in this case, wiped of their savings)
  • "Sats" is slang for a Satoshi - the smallest unit of Bitcoin that one can buy. One Satoshi equals 0.00000001 BTC.
  • Shilling can be considered the spammy advertising of the crypto world. It typically involves joining different forums and Telegram groups to shamelessly promote a certain project.
  • Shitcoins are cryptos that are deemed to be rubbish, or have absolutely no practical value. Memecoins usually fall under this category.
  • "To the moon" was a phrase that started appearing around 2017, in reference to Bitcoin's price going astronomically high. Since then, it has been used to express enthusiasm for a project's performance.
  • TVL stands for total value locked, and represents the total amount of cryptocurrency deposited on a DeFi protocol. It is an important measure versus market capitalization to determine if a crypto is undervalued, or overvalued.
  • Vaporware is a term used to describe crypto projects that may seem sexy or appealing, but are nothing but "vapor" - that is, they have no real practical application or desired use by consumers yet.
  • WAGMI means "we're all gonna make it!" and is the starry-eyed, feel-good expression used by cryptoheads to inspire hope.
  • "Weak hands" or "paper hands" is the opposite of diamond hands. It is a phrase used to express contempt for investors in a project who have succumbed to the pressure to sell, when they should have held.
  • Whales are individual investors that hold gigantic amounts of cryptocurrency. They are rightfully called that because every single one of their moves can cause a "splash" in the market - for better or worse.
  • WSB is shorthand for Wallstreetbets, the popular Reddit channel where both traditional finance and crypto investors gather to discuss highly-speculative and trending assets.

The Takeaway:

Whether you like it or not, crypto is here to stay. The proliferation of crypto into internet memes, entertainment, and all aspects of society has forever etched its mark into the hearts and minds of future generations to come. On a more powerful note, we are witnessing the grudging acceptance of crypto by major corporations and institutions that could foreshadow an explosive adoption period to come. Don't miss the wave - WAGMI!

Thanks for reading! Please subscribe if you haven't already - and stay tuned for our next article on NFTs!

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. Charts, graphs and references to any digital assets are for informational and illustrative purposes only.

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