Do you speak bitcoin?

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Bitcoin is a whole ecosystem of its own, filled with enthusiasts of many different kinds. Bitcoiners are a motley bunch of libertarians, traders, visionaries, anarchists, nerds, hackers, entrepreneurs, experimenters… Not only that, but bitcoin and wider crypto culture has meshed with a series of other web subcultures, each with their own melting pots of memes, jargon and linguistic curiosities.

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So perhaps it’s not surprising that, like so many other subcultures, bitcoin has its own language - words and phrases that have arisen through accident or necessity to communicate particular ideas for which there wasn’t previously a term. Many of these reflect bitcoin’s status as a trader’s favourite, a libertarian’s dream or a conspiracy theorist’s playground.

Want to talk bitcoin like a native? Here are 10 terms you should know.

1. Goxxed. From Gox (verb, intransitive): To be robbed, literally or figuratively, with no recourse, through the idiocy or dishonesty of one who to all intents and purposes gives the impression of being unable to find his own buttocks with both hands, two opposing mirrors and a copy of Gray’s Anatomy. ‘I got Goxxed’, ‘Don’t trust them, you’ll get Goxxed.’ Inherent to a true Goxxing is a kind of existential anguish that such a thing should be able to happen, as well as the obliteration of trust placed in a centralised institution, such as a cryptocurrency exchange. Particularly Mt Gox.

2. Zhou Tonged. Getting financially destroyed through a margin call (forced liquidation of leveraged position when the market goes against you). After Zhou Tong, an early bitcoiner and owner of Bitcoinica, an exchange that offered 10:1 leverage and short selling.

3. HODL. ‘Hold’, that is, not sell. Misspelled by the man who coined the term, a trader who was publicly and drunkenly lamenting his inability to call the market correctly, and also the fact that his girlfriend had gone to a lesbian bar for the evening without him.

4. Fiat. Aka ‘dirty fiat’. The worthless government-backed, created-from-nothing money circulating in the dysfunctional financial system that operates - for the time being, until its long-overdue crash - in the unenlightened world outside of bitcoin. Fiat is widely recognised, in bitcoin circles, as being a ponzi scam. Come the revolution, fiat will not be worth the paper it’s written on and will be downgraded to a variety of domestic purposes, including heating and personal hygiene.

5. USSA. A totalitarian state located in North America. The USSA specialises in mass surveillance of its citizens, all of whom are suspected of being terrorists, and placates them by periodically printing lots more dirty fiat to prop up its ponzi-system economy.

Moon

6. Moon. Where bitcoin is going, i.e. sharply upwards in value, so get your fiat to Stamp before you miss the train.

7. Stamp. Bitstamp, one of the most popular exchanges. Removing the superfluous syllable saves valuable time and lends it a certain Saxon brevity characteristic of swear words, such as ‘Gox’. See also Finex (Bitfinex).

8. FUD. ‘Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt’. A term commonly used for anti-bitcoin propaganda disseminated by the Powers That Be and their minions to dissuade the impressionable from their interest in crypto. More widely used as an accusation for other bitcoiners, roughly synonymous with ‘You’re saying something I don’t want to hear’.

9. Whale. Someone with an inordinately large number of bitcoins, typically worth hundreds of thousands or millions of US dollars equivalent. Whales are feared for their love of manipulating the market for their own ends, to strike fear into the hearts of little fishies and accumulate their coins. Or it could be regular market activity, it’s often hard to tell.

10. Bankster. A portmanteau of ‘banker’ and ‘gangster’, reflecting the belief that the whales and of the dirty fiat system are only out to Gox you. Anyone who says otherwise is FUDding.

Got any other favourites? Leave a comment and let us know!


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