What is HODL?

HODL is a term derived from a misspelling of “hold” which refers to buying and holding strategies in the context of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Understanding HODL

The term HODL (or hodl) was born in 2020 with a message on the bitcointalk forum. The price of bitcoin had gone from less than $ 15 in January 2020 to a peak of more than $ 1,100 in early December 2020. Within 24 hours at 10:00 am UTC, December 18 – possibly in response to reports that State of a Chinese crackdown – Bitcoin price fell 39% from $ 716 to $ 438, according to CoinDesk’s bitcoin price index.


At 10:03 UTC on December 18, GameKyuubi released “I AM HODLING”, a drunken, semi-coherent and typo-rant about his weak trading skills and his determination to just keep his bitcoin from this moment. “I type this title twice because I knew it was wrong the first time. Always wrong. W / e,” he wrote of the now misspelled “hold.” “WHY I’M HELD? I WILL TELL YOU WHY,” he continued. “It is because I am a bad trader and I KNOW I AM A BAD TRADER.

He concluded that the best solution was to hold on because “You only sell in a bear market if you are a good day trader or an illusory noob. The people in between hold on. In a zero sum game like this , traders can’t get your money if you sell. “He then admitted to drinking whiskey and briefly thought about the spelling of the whip there.

In less than an hour, HODL had entered the memes: the films 300 and Brave Heart provided the original source material, but there are now countless floating HODL memes on the Internet (Game of Thrones’ Hodor is a favorite subject).

(In the photo: the original HODL meme, based on a still image from the Spartan disaster film “300.”)

HODL as strategy and philosophy

HODL has quickly become synonymous with a cryptocurrency investment approach that avoids transactions based on short-term price movements. This approach reflects the logic of GameKyuubi: novice traders are likely to fail their attempts to time the market and lose money or earn less than they simply would.

Aside from short-term fluctuations, the long-term volatility of bitcoin defies colloquial logic. The price jumped 52,000% from 2020 to 2020, then fell more than 80% in the following year. Since then, it has reached more than 17 times its previous high, to come down by half. Throughout the history of the cryptocurrency, credible voices have advanced logical arguments that it would “go to the moon” or crash to zero.

The Hodlers wash their hands of all this volatility and prognosis. They simply hodl, which helps them counter two common destructive trends: FOMO (fear of running out), which can lead to buying high, and FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt), which can lead to selling low. The latter is sometimes called SODLing.

For followers of the cryptocurrency hard core, known as maximalists, HODL is more than a strategy to rule FOMO, FUD and other emotions that erode profit. These true believers hodl because they believe that cryptocurrencies will eventually replace fiat currencies and form the basis of all future economic structures. They therefore consider the fiduciary exchange rate of cryptocurrencies as irrelevant.

As you would expect, a meme best captures this maximalist philosophy. Neo (from The matrix) asks Orpheus: “What are you trying to tell me, that I can trade my bitcoin for millions one day?” Morpheus responds, “No Neo, I’m trying to tell you that when you’re ready … you won’t have to do it.”

Popular etymologies

HODL is sometimes explained as an acronym meaning “to hold on for life” or a variant. Although these etymologies sometimes succeed in capturing the meaning of the sentence, it is not the way it was born. HODL comes from a chance typo in 2020.

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