what is hodling?

What Does HODL Mean?

“HODL” is an intentional misspelling of the word “hold”, which in the context of cryptocurrencies means to retain and not sell a digital asset. Originating from an infamous post on the BitcoinTalk forums in 2013, the term has since become a mantra within the crypto community, signifying a long-term belief in the asset’s potential, irrespective of market volatility.


HODLING refers to the act of holding onto a cryptocurrency without the intention of selling it, even when faced with significant price fluctuations. This approach stands in contrast to active trading, where assets are frequently bought and sold based on short-term market movements.

  • Psychology Behind HODLING: Rooted in a belief in the long-term potential and utility of the asset.
  • Benefits of HODLING: Potential for significant long-term gains and reduced transaction fees.
  • Drawbacks of HODLING: Exposure to prolonged bear markets and potential for missed short-term profit opportunities.
Long-term perspectiveShort-term gains
Less frequent transactionsHigh transaction frequency
Lower transaction feesPotentially higher fees
Potential for larger gainsRequires market expertise

Imagine boarding a roller coaster that promises both steep, exhilarating highs and sudden, gut-wrenching lows. HODLING is somewhat akin to staying on this ride, believing in the eventual thrill, even when the immediate experience might be stomach-churning.

For example, during the dramatic Bitcoin crash in 2018, many who had bought at its late 2017 peak faced substantial paper losses. However, those who HODLed through this period saw their investments recover and even surge to new heights in subsequent years.

Who First Said HODL?

The term HODL was coined unintentionally by a user named GameKyuubi on the BitcoinTalk forums on December 18, 2013. In a post titled “I AM HODLING,” GameKyuubi made a series of humorous remarks about his poor trading skills and declared his decision to hold onto his Bitcoin, inadvertently misspelling “holding” as “hodling.”

When to HODL

The decision to HODL often stems from both emotional and strategic factors. Take, for instance, the story of Kristoffer Koch. In 2009, he invested $26 in Bitcoin, only to forget about them. Remembering in 2013, he found his investment had ballooned to nearly $900,000. While unintentional, this stands as a testament to the potential rewards of HODLing.

It’s crucial to remember that while the past successes of HODLing can be remarkable, the crypto market remains inherently volatile. Prospective HODLers should be aware and prepared for the potential risks involved.

Choosing to HODL is typically driven by:

  • Belief in the Underlying Technology: Confidence in blockchain and its transformative potential.
  • Speculative Potential: Anticipating significant long-term price appreciation.
  • Market Uncertainty: Opting to ride out short-term volatility.

Numerical Insight: In the 2017 crypto boom, those who HODLed Bitcoin from January to December saw a 1,300% increase in value, despite significant intermittent price drops.

HODLING as a Strategy and Guiding Philosophy

HODLING isn’t just a strategy; for many, it’s a philosophy. It revolves around several core principles:

  1. Patience: A willingness to wait out the market’s ups and downs.
  2. Conviction: A deep belief in the asset’s long-term value.
  3. Emotional Detachment: Avoiding panic-selling during market downturns.

For instance, early Bitcoin adopters who HODLed from 2010 to 2020 witnessed a growth from a few cents to around $20,000 per Bitcoin, a testament to the strategy’s potential benefits.

The difference between HODLing and typical long-term investing often boils down to conviction. In the realm of stocks, bonds, or traditional commodities, long-term strategies might be based on tangible assets or predictable cash flows. With crypto, the bet is more profound. It’s about a future where decentralized currencies reign supreme or where blockchain fundamentally alters how we transact and trust.

Other Crypto Slang Terms

The crypto realm boasts a plethora of unique slang. Some commonly used terms include:

  • Mooning: When a cryptocurrency’s price skyrockets.
  • Whale: An individual or entity holding a large amount of a cryptocurrency.
  • FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out, driving impulse purchases.
  • FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt, usually spread as a form of negative propaganda against a particular cryptocurrency.

Can You HODL Stocks?

Absolutely! While the term “HODL” originated in the crypto space, its underlying philosophy of long-term holding applies universally. Stocks, much like cryptocurrencies, undergo market fluctuations. Holding onto them through rough patches can result in considerable long-term gains. Warren Buffett, for example, is a renowned advocate of the buy-and-hold approach in the stock market. The legendary investor’s advice to “be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful” aligns perfectly with the HODL doctrine. Buffett’s acquisition of Coca-Cola stocks during its troubled times and holding onto them is a classic real-world example of a HODL mindset.

The HODL Coin

HODLcoin is an actual cryptocurrency, inspired by the HODL philosophy. Introduced in 2016, HODLcoin rewards holders with interest for not spending their coins. This cryptocurrency’s creation underscores the influence and popularity of the HODL concept in the crypto community.

What Is the Difference Between HODL and a Buy-and-Hold Strategy?

While both strategies advocate retaining assets for extended periods, there are nuanced differences:

Specifically associated with cryptoApplicable across various asset classes
Born from a community memeEstablished financial strategy
Emphasizes emotional resilienceFocuses on asset fundamentals

Both strategies echo the virtues of patience and long-term belief. However, while traditional buy-and-hold might rely heavily on analyzing company fundamentals, HODLing often merges faith in technology with market sentiment. The split-second decisions during the Black Thursday crash of 1987 contrast with the steadfast HODLing seen during Bitcoin’s lows, exemplifying these strategic nuances.


This comprehensive guide on HODL and its implications strives to shed light on one of the crypto world’s most prominent philosophies. Whether you choose to HODL, trade, or balance both, understanding the origins and nuances of this approach is essential for any crypto enthusiast.

FAQ Section:

Is Hodling a good strategy?

To determine if HODLing is a good strategy, one must assess individual risk tolerance, investment horizon, and belief in the asset’s potential. Historically, long-term crypto holders have seen significant returns.

How does HODLing work?

HODLing works by resisting the urge to sell during market fluctuations, viewing short-term downturns as temporary setbacks rather than conclusive indicators of an asset’s long-term trajectory.

Is Hodling better than trading?

Whether HODLing is better than trading depends on individual expertise, risk tolerance, and investment goals. While HODLing can yield significant long-term returns, trading can offer more frequent profit opportunities, albeit with increased risks.

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