Introduction to Web3 Lingo and Culture

Web3 can be hard to understand with the amount of memes used in everyday language

Let’s go through a list of 50+ terms to make it easier to understand


ALPHA – a term derived from traditional finance. Originally used to describe an investment strategy’s ability to beat the market, now morphed into “early investment advice” or “information that gives you an edge.” Also spelled “alfa”
“I got some great alpha from this frog on Twitter.”

APE IN – investing into a project without due diligence. see: YOLO
“I don’t care about the innovative technology bro. Walter mentioned it, so I aped. I bought like 50 of them.”

BAG – investment portfolio
“I hope prices stay low so I can grow my bag.”

BUIDL – an intentional misspelling of “build” (see: HODL). Used to emphasize productivity during bear markets in order to reap benefits during bull markets.
“Our team isn’t concerned about the price, we’re going to continue to BUIDL through this bear market.”

DEGEN – shorthand for degenerate, used to describe an individual who partakes in high-risk investing strategies, akin to gambling. see: APE IN
“He doesn’t care about making 7%/year. He only goes for degen plays that yield at least 42069% APR”

DYOR – do your own research (due diligence)
“Dude this is a great project, but still DYOR cause I don’t want you to be mad if it goes to 0”

FOMO – fear of missing out
“I can’t get off of Twitter, I have such bad FOMO. I don’t want to miss the next big thing”

FREN – friend
“Hello fren!”

FUD – As a noun, means fear, uncertainty or doubt. As a verb, indicates one who causes fear, uncertainty, or doubt.
“Stop fudding, they already addressed why their website was down for a few seconds.”

FUTURE OF FRANCE – intentional misspelling of “future of finance.” Used to describe innovation in the web3 space
“Ethereum is going to be the future of France!”

GM – good morning. also used to say “hello”
“gm, just had lunch”

GN – good night. also used to say “goodbye” see: GN
“Going to see a friend, gn”

GMI – gonna make it. Used to describe an individual who is likely to succeed
“He’s totally GMI, already 10X’d two of his investments”

NGMI – not gonna make it. Used to describe an individual who is likely to fail or make poor decisions
“He can’t even read charts. NGMI”

WAGMI – we’re all gonna make it. Used to describe a group that is likely to succeed or considers themselves intelligent
“You bought ETH? WAGMI!”

HODL – hold on for dear life (when markets crash). Used to describe individuals who do not sell their investments at a loss, instead holding their assets expecting for prices to rebound. a misspelling of “hold” taken from an old Bitcoin forum post.
“Bitcoin just fell -50%! But I’m hodling until it triples!”

IRL – in real life, as opposed to on the internet

PROBABLY NOTHING – often used satirically to mean the opposite. Likely to describe something important
“Double digit inflation? Probably nothing.”

PUMPING – increasing in value
“Bitcoin is pumping!”

REKT – wrecked, refers to an individual who experiences devastating losses
“He aped into a scam and got rekt”

RUGGED – derived from the idiom “pull the rug (out) from under (someone’s) feet.” when a project creates a sales campaign, only to abandon the project once they have accumulated a significant amount of revenue, allowing the project value to go to zero. “Rug” may also be used to describe a scam project.
“I spent a whole ETH on that NFT… I can’t believe I got got rugged”

SHILL – endorsing a project in public with a potential undisclosed stake in said project
“He’s shilling that project to pump his bag.”

SWEEP THE FLOOR – buying the lowest priced (floor price) NFTs of a particular project
“I might sweep the floor of this project. It looks promising.”

WEN – when. can be extended as an abbreviation of “when will you [action]”
“wen alpha = (when will you share alpha).”

WHALE – individuals, institutions or exchanges with large net worth
“A whale just bought a million dollars worth of ETH!”

Decentralized Finance AKA Web3 Terms

(WALLET) ADDRESS – a string of characters representing a wallet that can be used to send and receive cryptocurrency

AIRDROP – a public distribution of a specific cryptocurrency typically given for using the protocol.
“I’m so glad that I’ve been swapping tokens on Uniswap, they airdropped me $5,000 of UNI tokens!”

BLOCK EXPLORER – an interface that allows you to see transactions on the blockchain, such as
“Did your transaction go through? What did it say on etherscan?”

BLOCKCHAIN – a list of records (blocks), stored consecutively in a public database using cryptography. The blockchain forms the basis for cryptocurrencies
“Blockchain technology is going to change everything!”

BURN – cryptocurrencies or NFTs are considered “burned” when they have been purposely and permanently removed from circulation. Digital assets are burned in order to decrease the supply, thereby increasing the price of remaining assets.
“After confirming a transaction, Ethereum burns part of the transaction fee.”

CRYPTO – shorthand for cryptocurrency, a digital currency secured by cryptography, ensuring that it cannot be counterfeit or double-spent
“How much crypto do you have?”

DAO – decentralized autonomous organization, a blockchain-based organization where members have ownership and engage in decision-making
“I joined a DAO. They’re helping me get a job!”

DAPP – shorthand for decentralized application. Used to describe any practical application of blockchain and/or cryptocurrency, such as mobile games or social sites
“I’m going to make a dapp after I learn to code.”

DECENTRALIZATION – the transfer of control and decision-making from a centralized entity (individual or organization) to a distributed network
“Money needs to be decentralized!”

DEFI – shorthand for decentralized finance, used to describe removing control of money from banks and institutions
“All these bankers are trying to hop onto DeFi!”

FIAT (CURRENCY) – a term for government-issued currencies, such as the United States Dollar (USD)
“Imagine holding fiat! I only have crypto.”

FLOOR – the lowest price available for an NFT in a collection, i.e. the minimum amount needed to buy one
“I got scared and sold my NFT at the floor.”

GAS – the fee required to conduct a transaction or execute a contract on the blockchain
“Gas is so high! I can’t believe I need to pay $100 to send you $10.”

GWEI – denomination used to describe the cost of gas in transactions on Ethereum. 1 ETH = 1,000,000,000 Gwei
“Gas is down to 80 gwei! I might move some of my NFTs around”

MAXI – shorthand for maximalist. an individual who solely believes in a single crypto protocol thus asymmetrically investing in it.
“I’m a Bitcoin maxi. 90% of my holding are Bitcoin.”

METAVERSE – a digital universe that attempts to recreate the real world, especially through social connections and advanced economies.
“I have zero friends in real life. I can’t wait to make friends on Zuckerberg’s Metaverse!”

MINT – creating a new NFT. Often used in the context of purchasing and NFT, turns a digital file into a crypto collectible or digital asset
“Dude, are you minting a Bored Ape?”

NFT – non-fungible token, a digital object that represents ownership of a virtual good. most commonly used in the context of artwork
“NFTs are a great way for artists to monetize their skills.”

PERMISSIONLESS – a blockchain system where anyone can join and interact on the network
“I love Bitcoin because it’s a permissionless form of money.”

P2E – play to earn.
“I love P2E games like Axie Infinity because I get paid to play!”

PFP – profile picture. often used in the context of setting your Twitter profile photo to an NFT
“This Bored Ape is going to be my next PFP!”

SEED (PHRASE) – a sequence of randomly-generated words that grants access to your crypto wallet.
“Don’t give away your seed online!”

SELF CUSTODY – self-responsibility over one’s assets, as opposed to keeping them with a third-party such as a bank
“Crypto is better than fiat because it allows self-custody of your money”

SMART CONTRACT – code that executes on a blockchain once certain conditions are met.
“I audited this smart contract to make sure it won’t drain your wallet.”

SOCIAL TOKEN – a type of cryptocurrency distributed and held by a brand, community, or influencer
“I’m going to be the first one to buy the Kardashian social tokens!”

TOKEN – digital representation of an asset
“I’m going to stake all my tokens.”

TRUSTLESS – an environment that does not have a centralized authority to conduct and verify transactions i.e. “not requiring trust”
“I don’t need a bank to send someone Bitcoin because it’s trustless.”

WALLET – a software application or piece of hardware that allows you to store cryptocurrency
“I prefer keeping my crypto on a wallet instead of an exchange.”

COLD WALLET/STORAGE – a wallet that is disconnected from the internet. Typically more secure, but harder to use frequently
“I prefer keeping everything on cold storage to prevent hacks.”

HOT WALLET – a wallet that is connected to the internet, such as Metamask. Less secure, but better for frequent transactions.
“I keep just enough on my Metamask so that I can quickly buy NFTs at good prices.”

WHITE/ALLOWLIST – a list of wallet addresses that are allowed to mint an NFT at a specified date
“I got onto the white/allow list for a Bored Ape!”

Advanced Terminology

BLOCK – file with information on transactions completed during a given time period. Blocks make up a blockchain
“What will Bitcoin look when the the billionth block is processed?”

ERC-20 – a defi protocol that allows for the creation of tokens on Ethereum. It is openly accessible, akin to how SMTP allows email to be sent between Gmail, Outlook, etc.
“My wallet only allows transfer between ERC-20 tokens.”

ERC-721 – a defi protocol allowing for NFTs on Ethereum. It is also openly accessible, allowing anyone to create NFTs.
“I’m so glad ERC-721 allowed us to create NFTs”

IMMUTABLE – data that may not be changed or modified after its creation, one of the defining features of a blockchain
“I definitely sent you some Ethereum. You can see it on the blockchain. The data’s immutable!”

INTEROPERABILITY – being able to interact across multiple blockchains
“I like Ethereum because it has such great interoperability”

LAYER 2 – used to describe a set of Ethereum scaling solutions to decrease costs during times of high usage
“Etheruem will be successful, we just have to come up with a good Layer 2 solution!”

MINING – verifying transactions, thereby creating blocks on a blockchain, incentivized by block rewards and transaction fees
“I got most of my Bitcoin through mining.”

NODE – devices connected to the blockchain that have an IP address
“I wonder if we will ever get down to just one node keeping Bitcoin alive!”

PROOF OF STAKE – a method of mining system that rewards mining power to miners based on how many tokens they have, which is more energy efficient than proof of work
“I’d prefer if Ethereum were proof-of-stake, so that it can be more environmentally friendly.”

PROOF OF WORK – a mining system relying on solving computation problems to validate transactions
“Politicians may be more biased against Proof-of-Work because it requires much more energy.”

STABLECOIN – a cryptocurrency pegged to a fiat currency, such as USD.
“I’m holding stables right now because I’m waiting to buy the next dip.”

STAKING – locking your tokens to serve as a validator for a blockchain. Often provides rewards, similar to mining rewards
“I love that I can stake my crypto to earn 10% APY!”

Photo of author

Written By BowTiedFox

I write about office politics and making money with tech.


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