As has been discussed many times previously, different groups and industries often have their own distinctive terminology, and, when aspects of that terminology come into contact with enough people, the term sometimes bleeds into mainstream usage.
Thanks to frustration on the Internet, the number 404 has become associated with any type of error, and, due to the growth of online investing, jokes about Chuck Norris and stop-loss orders make sense to more people. Unsurprisingly, as more people take an interest in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency investing in general, a whole new class of terms stands ready to invade the English language and today’s term, HODL, is a testament of this.
Unlike many of the words in the English language, today’s term is the result of a typing mistake. HODL originated in the midst of a tumultuous period in Bitcoin’s history – from October 2013 to early January 2014 – which saw Bitcoin prices rise from USD 99.81 to USD 1,147.25 (October to December) and then, during a two-week span in December, crash (USD 694.47), rise (USD 990.00), and crash again (USD 522.23), before moving back into the mid-900s in early January. On the worst of these crashes, December 18, 2013, when there was understandable panic and discussion in Internet forums over whether investors should sell or hold their Bitcoin investment, a poster named GameKyuubi posted a comment about good traders being able to understand bear markets. Thanks to a typing error, his post’s title, “I AM HOLDING”, became “I AM HODLING”.
To clarify, in investment terminology, holding implies that you are maintaining an investment position (not buying more or selling it), so, essentially, this term can be defined as “staying invested in Bitcoin (or any cryptocurrency) regardless of (typically negative) price fluctuations. Still, Bitcoin isn’t like traditional markets with traditional investors: quick to exploit something serious for a laugh during a stressful time, the forum post’s spelling error soon acquired its own backronym (an acronym made to support a word, instead of words forming an acronym) to complement the post and the ideology itself: Hold On for Dear Life. Considering that, from March of 2016 to date, the price has gone from USD 397.83 to USD 19,343.04 and back down to around USD 10,000, HODL seems appropriate for Bitcoin; however, as stated before, with cryptocurrency becoming a bigger and more inclusive industry, expect to see this word used more often and in more situations.