Gm. It’s a beautiful day to break down blockchain slang, because browsing a Web3 Discord channel can feel a lot like cracking open A Clockwork Orange to a random page and trying to figure out what a Knifey Moloko is. If we lost you at “gm,” then you’re in the right place. (It means “good morning,” btw.)
The crypto community has developed its own hyperspecific language for chatting about the latest NFT drop or SEC regulation. Crypto’s insider speak has made it easier to communicate about blockchain-specific topics. Instead of unpacking what a non-fungible token is or glossing over its definition as a “digital asset,” you can simply say NFT. The lingo is fun and bonds the community, but for outsiders, it can be a high bar for entry.
That’s in part because many crypto projects use Discord as their communications hubs. Discord only has 150 million monthly active users globally, 79% of whom come from outside of the US. That means its base is much smaller than Pinterest’s (433 million) and Twitter’s (an estimated 450 million), let alone those of Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram. Plus, for most communities, users have to receive an invite in order to join each private “server.” There’s no way to casually lurk on a server like you would a subreddit; you must have the golden ticket to see the chocolate river. The only way you can access the Bored Ape group chat is to buy an NFT, which can cost up to $3.4 million. But at least there you get to say “gm” to Paris Hilton. Using language to separate us and them isn’t new: Virtually every niche community does it. Lexicographer Jonathon Green has spent his career studying English slang and attributes its first known use to criminal groups in operation 500 years ago who wanted to suss out authorities with small talk. Nowadays, snowboarders bomb runs, consultants will circle back on your ping by EOD, and gamers have the perfect build for their favorite roguelike action dungeon crawler.
The lexicon of crypto recently experienced a seismic shift as crypto prices plummeted and ripped off the community’s rose-colored laser eyes, so the lingo changes quickly. As much as it can create a sense of community, it also gatekeeps it from outsiders. To help lower that gate, we’ve rounded up a sampling of terms floating to the top of blockchain chats lately, as well as others that are past their heyday. This little list goes beyond the basics to the terms we’re seeing the most often and those that are most often misunderstood.
The bygones: With a Turbo Drop dip in crypto prices, some of the more happy-go-lucky language has lost popularity.
This is by no means an exhaustive glossary of blockchain terms and some of them could be cringe within months (maybe they’re already cringe). Share your favorites that we missed here.