You’re scrolling through social media, and you encounter someone saying that they’re “HODLING” or telling someone else to “HODL.” Confused? Here’s what the word means in the world of cryptocurrency and finance—and why it’s not misspelled.
HODL = HOLD
“HODL” is a cryptocurrency-related slang that stands for the word “hold” misspelled. It often refers to retaining crypto assets that you own for an extended period, even throughout a highly volatile market movement. “Hodl” is meant to encourage people to not impulsively sell when a cryptocurrency drops dramatically or rises to become highly profitable to sell.
“HODL” also acts as an acronym for “Hold on for dear life.” You will often see the term in various cryptocurrency forums and social media circles. Some influencers even encourage their followers to “hodl” various crypto tokens as part of their long-term strategy.
The Origin of Hodl
The word “hold” has been used in finance for a very long time as part of the buy-and-hold strategy. This investing method involves buying a financial asset and holding it for an indefinite period of time. This is related to the view that an investor should not be swayed by short-term market movements and look to the long-term view.
The term “HODL” originates from a post made in 2013 on cryptocurrency forum Bitcointalk shortly after a move by the Chinese government caused the price of Bitcoin to fall drastically within a day. An intoxicated member typed out a post entitled “I AM HODLING” in response, detailing his general lousy luck with investing and his desire to keep holding onto his assets in the future.
Soon after that incident, the term “hodling” became commonplace in the cryptocurrency enthusiast community. It made its way into memes and onto social media and became a way of signaling a token owner’s desire to hang onto their assets.
“Hodl” and Cryptocurrencies
The biggest reason why “hodl” has become such a popular term is the general volatility of the prices of cryptocurrencies. Many cryptocurrency tokens, even relatively stable ones such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, frequently have very volatile market swings. The cost of these tokens can fall 100% one month and then rise 300% within the next few months.
Cryptocurrency prices are also prone to the movements of whales (a term for people or organizations that hold a very large amount of a particular token). If even one whale decides to sell a particular token, they could tank the price entirely.
“HODL” is viewed as a way to combat these swings in price. An asset-holder who follows the strategy does not sell, even as the market changes. Many people who “HODL” do not even pay close attention to the day-to-day market movement of cryptos, instead preferring to take a long-term view of their tokens.
Why Do People “Hodl?”
One of the biggest reasons why people view “hodl” as a viable strategy is their belief in the underlying technology and the use case behind it. Bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies are based on a technology called blockchain, which has many uses, including a way to safely and anonymously make payments over the internet. Some people believe that Bitcoin is the future of all financial transactions rather than fiat currencies like Dollars and Euros.
For many cryptocurrency owners, “hodling” is an intriguing prospect. The value of a single Bitcoin has gone from under a dollar when it first came out more than a decade ago to five-digit figures in recent years. Despite high market volatility, many cryptocurrency owners believe in the long-term financial prospects of Bitcoin and other tokens. At the same time, many other people believe that buying cryptocurrency is equivalent to gambling.
Many people also believe that the values of cryptocurrencies are better when people buy and do not sell off their tokens. That is why “hodl” is such a well-used term in the community—it’s often said to beginners who might have fears about holding such a volatile asset. “HODL” combats what crypto users call “FUD,” which stands for “fear, uncertainty, and doubt.” FUD can include anything from naysayers to governments to negative presses on the issue of cryptocurrency.
“HODL” is generally only used to refer to cryptocurrencies and not other assets. If you want to use the term “hodl,” reserve it for conversations about these tokens or you could be misinterpreted.
If you run into people telling you to “hodl,” there’s a good chance that you’ve encountered cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Be sure to use good judgment in making critical financial decisions, such as purchasing a cryptocurrency. Never invest more than you can afford to lose.
If you want to learn more about cryptocurrencies, start with our guide on Bitcoin.