HODL is a term derived from a misspelling of "hold," in the context of buying and holding Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It's also commonly come to stand for "hold on for dear life" among crypto investors.
The term HODL (or hodl) originated in 2013 with a post to the Bitcointalk forum. The price of Bitcoin in 2013 was volatile, surging to over $1,100 at the beginning of December, 2013, up from just over $100 in April of the same year. Reports on Dec. 16, 2013, of a Chinese ban on payment companies working with Bitcoin exchanges may have inspired the original Bitcointalk post.
What is HODLING?
At 10:03 a.m. UTC on Dec. 18, Bitcointalk forum user GameKyuubi posted "I AM HODLING"—a drunk, semi-coherent, typo-laden rant about the user's poor trading skills and determination to simply hold his Bitcoin from that point on. "I type d that tyitle twice because I knew it was wrong the first time. Still wrong. w/e," GameKyuubi wrote about the now-famous misspelling of "holding." "WHY AM I HOLDING? I'LL TELL YOU WHY," he continued. "It's because I'm a bad trader and I KNOW I'M A BAD TRADER. Yeah you good traders can spot the highs and the lows pit pat piffy wing wong wang just like that and make a millino bucks sure no problem bro."
GameKyuubi concluded that the best course was to hold, since "You only sell in a bear market if you are a good day trader or an illusioned noob. The people inbetween hold. In a zero-sum game such as this, traders can only take your money if you sell." He then confessed he'd had some whiskey and briefly mused about the spelling of whisk(e)y.
Within an hour, "HODL" had become a meme. Initially the memes referenced the movies 300 and Braveheart, but there are now countless HODL memes floating around the internet. Many HODL memes now reference Game of Thrones' Hodor.
Click Play to Learn What HODL Means
HODL as a Strategy and Philosophy
HODL, as an acronym for "hold on for dear life," has become a mantra among crypto enthusiasts denoting a long-term approach to cryptocurrency investing. This approach mirrors GameKyuubi's rationale in the original post that novice traders are likely to botch their attempts to time the market, and should simply hold their coin.
The prices of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are notoriously volatile, but HODLers disregard even large price swings. They simply HODL.
For cryptocurrency maximalists, HODL represents more than a strategy for reigning in FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt), and other profit-eroding emotions. Long-term crypto HODLers stay invested because they believe that cryptocurrencies will eventually replace government-issued fiat currencies as the basis of all economic structures. Should that occur, then the exchange rates between cryptocurrencies and fiat money would become irrelevant to crypto holders.
Predictably, a meme best captures this HODL maximalist philosophy. Neo from The Matrix asks Morpheus, "What are you trying to tell me, that I can trade my Bitcoin for millions someday?" Morpheus responds, "No Neo, I'm trying to tell you that when you're ready … you won't have to."
Can You HODL Stocks?
While HODLing is generally associated with cryptocurrency investors, the buy-and-hold investing strategy that it represents is not limited to crypto investing.
Many stock investors "HODL" their investments for long periods of time, although stock prices are almost always less volatile than the prices of crypto assets. Investors in stocks who buy and hold can benefit from long-term price appreciation while experiencing much less price volatility than is associated with cryptocurrencies.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does it mean to HODL?
"HODL" originated as a misspelling of "HOLD" (written in all caps), in an online post by an early Bitcoin investor. But "HODL", as it has gained popularity among crypto enthusiasts, has come to mean "hold on for dear life". Crypto HODLers, like buy-and-hold stock investors, pride themselves on "holding on" by not selling their cryptocurrency, no matter what happens in the crypto markets.
What is the HODL coin?
HODL ($HODL) is a cryptocurrency that was named based on the popularity of "HODL" as an expression in the crypto community. The HODL token operates using the Binance Smart Chain, and HODL token owners can earn Binance Coin rewards.
Who said HODL?
The true identity is unknown of the person who inadvertently coined the term "HODL". The original misspelling of the word occurred in a post by the user "GameKyuubi" on the Bitcointalk.org online forum, at 10:03 a.m. UTC on Dec. 18, 2013.