“HODL,” one of the most frequently used terms in the cryptocurrency world, originated years ago from a typo.
On a December morning in 2013, user GameKyuubi posted an entry titled “I AM HODLING” in a bitcoin forum. “I type d that tyitle twice because I knew it was wrong the first time,” he wrote in the first sentence of a drunken post loaded with typos and phrases in all caps. In the thread, he ranted about his poor trading skills and his intention to simply hold his bitcoin as its price was plummeting at the time. “You only sell in a bear market if you are a good day trader or an illusioned noob,” he added. “In a zero-sum game such as this, traders can only take your money if you sell.”
The misspelled “HODL” quickly circulated among the crypto community, and soon after turned into an internet slang to indicate when a person holds bitcoin rather than selling it. Use of the term was later extended to include other cryptocurrencies.
Not only has “hodling” turned into one of the most popular cryptocurrency terms, it’s also served as a strategy for traders, albeit a basic one, given the volatile nature of the crypto market. This refers to a buy-and-hold situation where hodlers stay invested and refrain from trading when the asset price decreases. As a result, hodlers are theoretically safe from some trading tendencies, be it buying at a high price or selling at a low price (the latter is also known as “SODL” – a less commonly used term derived from “HODL”).
In 2019, ten years after the birth of bitcoin and seven years since “HODL” became part of crypto lingo, CoinDesk tracked down Mike, the man who coined this term, to find out whether his views on trading have changed since his fortuitous fame.