Origins of the Word "HODL"

By  Noah Washington October 19, 2023

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  • HODL, a misspelling of "hold," emerged in 2013 during the early days of cryptocurrency when Bitcoin was gaining mainstream attention and reached a price of over $1,000
  • The term "HODL" is from an inebriated typo-riddled post by a user named GameKyuubi, advocating for holding onto bitcoin investments during market downturns
  • HODLers are cryptocurrency enthusiasts who believe in holding their coins through market volatility, resisting panic selling, and maintaining faith in the long-term potential
  • HODLing offers advantages such as minimizing trading fees, avoiding emotional reactions to daily fluctuations and benefiting from tax incentives in some jurisdictions

The crypto world moves fast. New coins, blockchains and trends appear almost daily. But one oddity has stuck around since the early days: HODL. This misspelling of "hold" took on a life of its own back in 2013. Now it's deeply rooted in crypto culture as a rallying cry.

A Drunken Typo That Started It All

The story behind "HODL" begins in December 2013, when a user named GameKyuubi unwittingly birthed a legend during a late-night, typo-riddled diatribe on a forum called BitcoinTalk.

This tale unfolds with a post titled "I AM HODLING," characterized by its author's numerous typos and excessive use of capital letters. GameKyuubi, in his inebriated state, inadvertently created a viral sensation. The post was laden with spelling errors and capital letters, which only added to its quirky charm.

The famous "I AM HODLING" forum post. Source: BitcoinTalk

The essence of the post was GameKyuubi's frustration with his trading abilities, which prompted him to adopt the strategy of holding onto bitcoin investments. What set GameKyuubi apart was his decision to "HODL" bitcoin rather than succumb to the panic selling that often occurs during market downturns.

GameKyuubi offered perspective on cryptocurrency trading during bear markets. He suggested that selling could be a risky move for less experienced traders as the zero-sum nature of trading means profits come from those who sell at inopportune times out of fear. While humorous at points, the core message was cautionary against overreacting to downward price trends, which can lock in losses.

The Spread of "HODL"

GameKyuubi's post struck a chord with the crypto community, and the term "HODL" quickly spread like wildfire. As the cryptocurrency ecosystem expanded beyond Bitcoin, "HODL" broadened its scope to encompass holding strategies for various digital assets. "Hodling" refers to the simple yet sometimes effective strategy of buying cryptocurrencies and holding onto them for the long term, irrespective of market volatility.

For many cryptocurrency enthusiasts, "HODLing" represents more than just a trading strategy - it reflects a deep faith in the transformative potential of blockchain technology. They see crypto as far more than speculative assets; in their eyes, these digital currencies represent the future of finance.

The crypto markets are notorious for volatility, with prices often fluctuating wildly day-to-day. Yet HODLers remain steadfast, finding calm in the simple act of holding assets for the long haul rather than reacting to each market swing.

By avoiding active trading, HODLers minimize the substantial fees and taxes incurred through frequent buying and selling. Without these costs eroding returns, HODLers can maximize potential profits over an extended timeframe.

While active traders rely on in-depth technical analysis, market timing and split-second decisions, HODLers opt for simplicity. By focusing on the core value proposition of crypto, HODLers take the emotion out of trading and keep their sights set firmly on the horizon.

Benefits of HODLing

The legendary journey of Bitcoin's earliest champions illustrates the potential of "HODLing". Consider the Bitcoin pioneer who in 2011 invested just $41 in 10,000 Bitcoins when cryptocurrencies were still on the fringe. Despite plunging prices over the next several years, this visionary HODLer remained unshaken.

Bitcoin's price since 2013. Source: CoinGecko

By 2017, those 10,000 once-obscurebBitcoins ballooned into a $200 million fortune. Beyond standout success stories, adhering to a HODL strategy offers several advantages for investors.

For one, it allows long-term exposure to appreciate value as crypto matures. Both bitcoin and ether have proven their ability to deliver life-changing growth over a multi-year horizon.

By tuning out daily fluctuations, HODLers spare themselves needless stress and remain clear-eyed. Patience and emotional discipline are key.

Minimizing trading means avoiding transaction fees and inefficiencies that erode returns.

Tax incentives reward holding for extended periods in many jurisdictions. HODLers gain efficiency.

While "HODLing" requires conviction, blockchain enthusiasts have shown the astronomical gains unlocked by those with the vision to endure turbulence and unlock the long-term potential of digital assets. Their patient trust has been richly rewarded.

Keep it Simple

"HODL" remains a steadfast strategy, reminding that sometimes the simplest approach - holding - can be the most powerful in the face of market uncertainty.

In 2013, the cryptocurrency market was still in its infancy, with bitcoin being the dominant coin. However, there was growing interest and adoption, as evidenced by bitcoin reaching a price of over $1,000 that year. The increasing mainstream attention brought more people into the market.

When markets drop or FUD spreads, the HODLers stand firm. These believers have faith that their coins will bounce back even stronger. Sometimes, their patience pays off. Those who panicked and sold at the bottom miss out on later gains.

Through its evolution, HODL encapsulates the crypto ethos - weathering volatility, ignoring the noise, and believing in blockchain's long-term potential. This simple misspelled word traces the industry's own journey - from obscure to mainstream but always marching to its own beat. Love it or hate it, HODL is here to stay.