Non-Fungible Terms: NFT Lingo Every Collector Should Know

Before you "ape" into NFT trading, brush up on your vocabulary with our beginner-friendly glossary.

AccessTimeIconJan 9, 2023 at 3:27 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 10, 2024 at 2:53 a.m. UTC

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have grown in popularity over the past few years, creating subcultures and pockets of passionate collectors. As these communities have expanded, so too has the terminology used to describe different people, projects and trading behaviors within the NFT space.

Those who are new to NFTs may come across colloquialisms popularized by NFT traders on social media. If you're just starting your "sniping" journey, here are the terms you should know to better understand the NFT market.

The ultimate beginner-friendly NFT glossary

Airdrop: Cryptocurrencies or NFTs deposited into a person's private crypto wallet for free. NFT projects often give airdrops to pre-existing community members or those who complete various tasks on social media.

Alpha: Refers to exclusive information on an NFT project that could give traders a competitive advantage. Alpha groups are typically created to share exclusive information amongst themselves.

Allowlist: A list of wallet addresses compiled by an NFT project before minting that guarantees certain people a spot. This is sometimes also referred to as a “whitelist,” though that term has been largely phased out.

AMA: Short for "Ask Me Anything." NFT creators usually host these question-and-answer sessions on social media platforms such as Twitter, Discord or Reddit.

Ape: To "ape” into an NFT project means to buy a token shortly after launch without doing thorough research. Alternatively, "APE" could refer to the Ethereum-based ApeCoin token that powers the Bored Ape Yacht Club ecosystem.

Axie: A playable NFT character in Sky Mavis' popular blockchain-based game "Axie Infinity."

BAYC: Shorthand for the popular NFT collection "Bored Ape Yacht Club" created by Yuga Labs in 2021. Other projects in the BAYC ecosystem feature similar abbreviations, including Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) and Bored Ape Kennel Club (BAKC).

Blue chip: A term used to describe top-tier NFT projects that are expected to be stable and profitable in the long term.

Burn: To "burn" an NFT means to take that particular token out of circulation by placing it in a wallet that no one can access. NFTs might be burned in exchange for a physical good or as an upgrade to an existing NFT.

CryptoKitties: Released in 2017 by Dapper Labs, CryptoKitties was one of the first successful NFT games on the Ethereum blockchain. Demand for CryptoKitties was so high at one time that it caused significant congestion on the underlying Ethereum blockchain.

Curated NFT marketplace: A platform that sells NFTs that have been selected by the platform and have undergone extensive screening. A few examples of curated NFT markets include SuperRare and Nifty Gateway.

Degen: Slang for “degenerate.” Refers to an NFT trader that jumps into buying tokens out of speculation.

Diamond hands: Refers to holding on to a digital asset such as an NFT no matter how strong the pressure is to sell, with the hope that it will be worth more later on.

Drop: An NFT "drop” refers to the date when an NFT collection becomes available for minting on a blockchain.

ENS: Short for "Ethereum Name Service." These are NFT domain names that help create simplified and personalized Ethereum wallet addresses ending in ".eth" which replace long strings of random numbers and letters.

ERC-20: The token standard for fungible tokens on the Ethereum blockchain.

ERC-721: A token standard on the Ethereum blockchain for NFTs that allows for basic functionality to track and transfer NFTs.

ERC-1155: Sometimes called the multi-token standard, ERC-1155 is an updated version of the code for ERC-721. It allows for batch transfers and can include a combination of fungible, non-fungible and semi-fungible tokens.

Flip: A term to describe buying or minting an NFT for a low price and quickly selling for a profit on the secondary market.

Floor price: The lowest price a buyer is willing to pay for an NFT in a given collection. It is often used as an indicator of a collection’s popularity, though the floor price can be manipulated by holders of a project to make it seem more valuable.

Fractional NFTs: Taking an NFT and dividing it into smaller pieces, allowing multiple people to invest in a given digital asset. The process involves creating fungible (ERC-20) tokens that are tied to the underlying non-fungible (ERC-721) tokens.

Fungible: Refers to the ability for a token to be interchanged with another token. Non-fungible, on the other hand, refers to a token that cannot be replicated.

Gas fees: A blockchain transaction fee paid to network validators when an NFT is traded.

Generative art: An art style that uses autonomous systems or algorithms to randomly generate content. More recently, it has gained popularity among collectors and creators of NFTs through platforms like Art Blocks.

Gm/gn: Short for “good morning” and “good night,” the terms are frequently used as a greeting between NFT traders on social media.

HODL: The origin of HODL came from a typo of "hold" but has also become an acronym for “Hold on for Dear Life.” It's a term of encouragement used among traders to promote holding on to NFTs no matter the market conditions.

JPEG: Short for "joint photographic experts group." It’s a standard format for digital images that is often used for art NFTs.

Liquidity: Refers to the ability to trade your NFT for cash.

Metaverse: Immersive, virtual worlds that often utilize NFTs.

Metadata: A set of data that describes the characteristics of an NFT. It often includes the description, total supply, traits and creation date of an NFT.

Mint: Turning a digital file into an NFT by publishing it on the public ledger of a blockchain. This process helps convert art, video or audio files into verifiable NFT collectibles.

Mooning: A slang term for when an NFT or crypto asset is quickly rising in value.

Music NFTs: A type of NFT linked to an audio file.

Non-curated NFT marketplace: Also called "open NFT marketplaces," these are sites where anyone can buy, bid and mint NFTs. A few examples of open NFT marketplaces include OpenSea, Rarible and LooksRare.

One-of-one (1:1): Refers to an NFT that is unique and only offered as a single edition.

Open Edition: Refers to an NFT that can be minted in unlimited quantities within a set timeframe.

OpenSea: Launched in 2017, it is one of the largest NFT marketplaces.

PFP: Shorthand for both "profile picture" and “picture for proof.” The term refers to the use of NFT avatars as one’s profile picture on social media. Many collections, including CryptoPunks, were created in this style, and often come in batches of 10,000 NFTs with different rarity traits.

Play-to-earn: A category of blockchain games that uses NFTs to represent in-game assets. Also sometimes called "GameFi."

RTFKT: Pronounced "artifact," RTFKT is a London-based studio that gained mainstream attention after the sports apparel brand Nike bought it in 2021. RTFKT is best known for its sneaker NFTs and its PFP collection CloneX.

Rug Pull: Refers to a common scam in the crypto space where the creators of a project will heavily promote it and then disappear with investor money.

Royalties: Fees denominated as a percentage paid to the creator of an NFT project every time an NFT is sold.

Sniping: A term used to describe methods for finding an NFT that is listed below its actual value.

Sweeping: Also called "sweeping the floor." Refers to buying numerous NFTs in a collection, often at the project’s floor price, in the hope that it will raise the project's value.

Smart contract: A program stored on the blockchain that automatically executes when certain conditions are met without the need for an intermediary. NFTs are minted through smart contracts, which can assign ownership and transfer ownership when the NFT is sold.

Soulbound tokens: A non-transferable NFT linked to an individual’s identity.

Traits: The various features that distinguish NFTs within a collection. NFT collectors often sort NFTs by attributes to determine their rarity and value. For example, only nine CryptoPunks are aliens – therefore, CryptoPunks with alien traits tend to be more expensive than CryptoPunks with human traits.

Tokenize: Taking a real-world, tangible asset and converting it into digital form for trading. Things such as land deeds and physical goods can be tokenized via NFTs.

Utility NFTs: Refers to NFTs that offer real-world perks or experiences. For example, some NFTs double as tickets to music events or access to private social media channels.

WAGMI: Short for “We All Gonna Make It," an optimistic term used in the NFT space. Conversely, NGMI is short for “Not Going to Make It” and refers to a pessimistic outlook on an NFT project.

Wash trading: Refers to the buying and selling of an NFT between two buyers who are the same or are colluding together in order to manipulate trading data.

Wearable NFTs: Refers to clothing or accessories sold as NFTs that can be worn by playable avatars in blockchain-based games.

Web3: A term coined by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood in 2014, it refers to the next iteration of the internet that focuses on decentralization, blockchain technology, tokenized economies and user-owned data.

This article was originally published on Jan 9, 2023 at 3:27 p.m. UTC


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Eric Esposito

Eric Esposito is a freelance writer with an interest in crypto and NFTs.

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