One of the best-known words in the crypto vernacular is having a birthday party today. HODL was coined on Bitcointalk 5 years ago today, when Bitcoin started crashing after touching $1,000. But why did it appeared? For some just a meme, but for others also an asset managing strategy, HODL is a key term from the early Bitcoin times that still sparks debate today.
Where it all started? Bitcointalk, the birthplace of HODL
Bitcointalk senior member GameKyuubi is to credit for the coining of HODL, a word that has been universally understood as a recommendation for not selling digital assets among FUD times.
I type d that tyitle twice because I knew it was wrong the first time. Still wrong. w/e. GF's out at a lesbian bar, BTC crashing WHY AM I HOLDING? I'LL TELL YOU WHY. 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. Likewise the weak hands are like OH NO IT'S GOING DOWN I'M GONNA SELL he he he and then they're like OH GOD MY ASSHOLE when the SMART traders who KNOW WHAT THE FUCK THEY'RE DOING buy back in but you know what? I'm not part of that group. When the traders buy back in I'm already part of the market capital so GUESS WHO YOU'RE CHEATING day traders NOT ME~! Those taunt threads saying "OHH YOU SHOULD HAVE SOLD" YEAH NO SHIT. NO SHIT I SHOULD HAVE SOLD. I SHOULD HAVE SOLD MOMENTS BEFORE EVERY SELL AND BOUGHT MOMENTS BEFORE EVERY BUY BUT YOU KNOW WHAT NOT EVERYBODY IS AS COOL AS YOU. 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.
so i've had some whiskey
actually on the bottle it's spelled whisky
(but only if it's payable in BTC)
The reactions of the forum were drastically fast to what appears to be an honest, urgent outburst. Just 11 minutes after, the first meme of many more to come was created.
Does HODL Mean Hold on For Dear Life?
No, it does not. It is a common misconception to take it as an acronym, but HODL was intended to be what it was by the inebriated OP. According to his own words, and spelling:
‘I type d that tyitle twice because I knew it was wrong the first time. Still wrong. w/e.’
What price was Bitcoin at when HODL was coined?
Many newcomers to crypto seem to wonder what type of price action triggered such reaction from the OP on Bitcointalk. After starting 2013 around $30, at the end of the year Bitcoin touched $1,000 for the first time ever.
But then it started to melt down. Many investors probably felt the pressure as the opening price on the 16th of December was double of the low reached on the HODL coining day, the 18th of December of 2013:
Is HODL a good tip?
Besides of its origins, a further important question remains: has HODL proved itself as a profitable strategy? Several experiments have tried to argue in one way or another. Although HODL counts with many detractors, and most results were negative, it must be noted that most experiments were performed over short time periods normally not exceeding one year, more specifically comprehending the bear market of 2018.
I guess we can now safely say that HODL is not a great strategy! 😊— Ran NeuNer (@cryptomanran) December 7, 2018
Going back to the arguments displayed by the OP in the post where he argued for HODL, it must be noted that he confesses himself as a bad trader, which statistically applies to many, or even most traders. Under such light, the advice can be understood as a reasonable warning towards the pitfalls of trading without an adequate strategy or knowledge influenced by emotion-triggering price movements.
HODL must have exceeded the expectations of the Bitcointalk user who came up with the creative post title. Now it even has its own HODLer manifesto, counting on 8 rules for correctly adhering to the HODL philosophy and (non) trading style.
The popularization of the term also came through YouTube music videos such as the following:
5 years anniversary: still HODLing?
Reddit is showing some interest in today’s anniversary of the word, with mostly positive opinions, perhaps influenced as well by the recent upwards push in prices: