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Understanding the Meaning of ‘HODL’ in Cryptocurrency

6 mins
Updated by Artyom G.
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In crypto, memes mean something. You might have encountered communities speaking about HODLing, and perhaps you assumed it was just a misspelling of “holding.” If so, you thought wrong.

So what does HODL mean? This guide explores everything you need to know about the term, from its origin, the benefits and risks of adopting this strategy, and its relevance to crypto culture.

HODL meaning in cryptocurrency: What to know

HODL stands for “hold on to dear life”. This is a common acronym in meme culture alongside others like FUD, BFTD, BIP, FOMO, and YOLO.

For crypto investors, it is an encouragement to weather the crypto storm and not sell assets when prices fall. Hence, the HODL approach encourages new investors to retain their assets as a long-term strategy.

The origin of HODL

The term was coined accidentally. HODL originated from a rant by a member named GameKyuubi on the popular forum Bitcointalk. This happened when, in 2013, bitcoin prices fell 39%, down from $716 to $438 in 24 hours. The price drop came after a long bull run in the market when many investors assumed they would continue to make gains. 

GameKyuubi expressed frustrations with the now well-known quote, “I AM HODLING,” illustrating a decision not to sell assets despite the sudden price drop. Of course, the member did not mean to write “HODL.” The user made a typo; instead of writing “holding,” they wrote “HODL.” The HODL meaning and misspelling quickly became a meme. 

Original HODL post: Bitcointalk
Original HODL post: Bitcointalk

Notably, GameKyuubi admitted to lacking trading skills but decided to hold on to his bitcoin investment regardless of the incoming bear market and uncertain future of the price of the asset.

The misspelling that became a meme

The misspelled word HOLD for HODL stood out from the rest of the user’s post. The crypto community jumped on the HODL bandwagon, making it an internet meme after noting HODL could be an acronym: “hold on for dear life.” The term then began to represent a long-term investment strategy.

The main essence of a HODLer is focusing on the long-term benefits of its digital assets instead of the short-term profits from selling or trading. For many, HODLing demonstrates belief in the future of digital currency investment. 


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Understanding the philosophy of HODLing

The concept behind HODLing is buying and holding digital assets for an extended period regardless of short-time price fluctuations or market volatility.

Hence, a HODLer has a long-term perspective on their investment with a notion that the investment’s value will increase significantly over time. Instead of chasing short-term profits based on market performance, these HODLers will wait longer to realize substantial gains. 

The main philosophy that informs a HODLer is the limited supply of digital assets or the existence of fixed supply caps. Hence HODLers anticipate increased demand for these assets, thus raising the prices. 

HODLing vs. trading: a long-term mindset

HODLing and trading represent two distinct approaches to investment decisions. A HODLer believes in the long-term future of their investment. Hence, they are less concerned about short-term price fluctuations or volatility in the crypto market.

Long-term BTC price graph: CoinMarketCap
Long-term BTC price graph: CoinMarketCap

On the other hand, a trader takes advantage of short-term price movements in the market. These traders tend to take advantage of price fluctuations in the market by buying low and selling high. 

Are you a HODLer or trader? Why HODL your investment when you can make short-term profits with day trading? Most beginners tend to be HODLers, not because it is a bad strategy but because it is easier than trading. These investors leave their assets in wallets or in cold storage (the best option for security) while anticipating appreciation in the value of their assets. 

On the other hand, traders are active in their portfolio management and employ technical analysis of the price movements before making informed decisions. 

Embracing volatility and overcoming emotional decisions

The cryptocurrency market is uncertain and highly volatile. The faster investors accept this, the more they can reap from it. The true steps to reaping benefits from crypto investments are embracing the concept of volatility and overcoming emotional decision-making.

Price movements in the crypto market might prompt investors to change their portfolios drastically. Experts highly advise against making financial decisions based on emotional responses. Most investors end up losing due to the vacillation that exists between panic and excitement. 

Bear and bull runs are a normal part of the cryptocurrency market. Therefore, educating yourself is your best defense against emotional decision-making. 

The power of community and HODLer support

The volatility in the market is bound to affect most investors at several points in their investment shelf life. Like-minded individuals who share a common long-term goal with their investment should be part of a crypto community and HODLer support group.

These HODLer communities can offer emotional support for members. Moreover, members can gain insights and tips from other investors.

Looking to join a crypto community full of like minded individuals? Want to share HODLing strategies, trading tips and get tips from professionals? Join our FREE BeInCrypto Telegram community here.

The benefits of HODLing 

As an investor, it is recommended to analyze an investment’s long-term potential and risk averseness. The HODL strategy suggests that digital assets will increase in value over time.

However, there are still certain risks attached to holding digital assets. For example, a government or international body announcing changes to how crypto is regulated may cause an asset’s value to soar; it may also trigger the opposite. Investors should always stay updated with industry developments and keep an eye on wider market trends and forces.

Avoiding FOMO and resisting FUD

During the long-term investment period for your digital assets, it’s common to experience fear of missing out (FOMO) and fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) with your holdings. 

Remember that short-term FUD tends to be transient, and market sentiments can change over time. Investing due to FOMO should be avoided, as it can expose eager buyers to rug pulls and scams

HODLing as a symbol of belief in cryptocurrency

Many are still skeptical about whether cryptocurrency can survive market instability, security, and scalability issues. However, many HODLers believe that there is a future where crypto will finally emerge as a reserve currency for all digital assets. 

Hence, HODLers also believe that holding their assets for the long term will stabilize the crypto market. Afterward, there will be demand for digital assets, which will raise their assets’ value and lead to substantial gains.

Risks of HODL

However, there are still certain risks attached to holding digital assets. For example, a government or international body announcing changes to how crypto is regulated may cause an asset’s value to soar; it may also trigger the opposite. Investors should always stay updated with industry developments and keep an eye on wider market trends and forces.

Is HODLing the future of crypto investment?

Amid the bear market, the HODL meaning and culture are growing exponentially, demonstrating investors’ belief in the long-term impact of cryptocurrencies on the global financial system. Others view the HODL meme as a ‘cult’ that blinds the HODL community, leaving them exposed to issues around legitimacy and the challenges cryptocurrencies face. 

Regardless, many investors will continue to HODL. Others will choose to HODL some assets and trade others. Essentially, investment strategies depend on risk appetite and the level of belief in a project/coin. If you plan to buy crypto and HODL, ensure to research a project thoroughly. Never invest any more than you are prepared to lose.

Frequently asked questions

What does HODL mean in slang?

Why is it spelled HODL?

What is FUD in crypto?

What is a BTC HODLer?

Is HODL and FUD the same? 

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Chris Adede
Chris Adede is a versatile professional with five years of experience in content creation, IT, and project management. He has expertise in cryptocurrencies, fintech, and blockchain and has published author work with BeInCrypto, Hanshow, and NFT Monday. A project manager at Smart Prop Trader, Chris holds a number of professional qualifications and a BSC in Information Science from Moi University. Previously, Chris worked as a Digital Marketing Manager at Webnavs, where he honed his skills in...