A Normie’s Guide to Becoming a Crypto Person

A Normie’s Guide to Becoming a Crypto Person

You’ve managed to willfully ignore crypto for the past some-odd years, but all of a sudden it may feel as if the blockchain is closing in on you. Your 401(k) provider is rolling out a bitcoin option, your friend just made an NFT in Microsoft Paint and sold it for $14,000, and even your mayor-elect is supporting a citywide cryptocurrency. (And did Dad just say “NGMI” in the family group chat?) To an outsider, crypto may mostly seem like a bunch of Patagonia-vest-clad bros out to make a quick buck at the expense of the environment. This is not entirely wrong, but the landscape today is unrecognizable from its inception in 2009 and even from before 2020, the year NFTs first exploded . While some corners of the crypto world are still toxic and absurd, it’s also a fascinating and (strangely) optimistic place — where a global army of people with competing philosophies, living mostly on Twitter and Discord, all in some way believe crypto will fundamentally remake the world (and, in the process, everything we believe about value, money, and the internet). This is a guide to actually understanding that universe, whether you simply want to sound literate at a dinner party, know the difference between a bitcoin maxi and an NFT scenester , angle for a promotion by showing off more tech fluency than your boss, or leave your PR job to become memer-in-chief at a new coin exchange.

On December 18, 2013, a guy with the username GameKyuubi logged on to the then-four-year-old Bitcointalk forum and went on a whiskey-fueled rant. The value of bitcoin had just dipped 50 percent, but GameKyuubi, a self-admitted bad trader, was determined not to sell. He titled the post “I AM HODLING.” HODL, a fortuitous typo, would soon become a foundational part of cryptospeak ; today it refers to not selling one’s crypto assets, even when the price becomes volatile. Since then, the lingo has grown even more unintelligible. Here are some basics to help you follow what people are talking about.

APE: To buy into a new coin or token — particularly when you don’t know much about it but feel driven by FOMO: “I need to ape into this NFT before the price shoots through the roof!”

BAGS: The coins and tokens in your portfolio. If you hold on to your coins until they become worthless, you’re unfortunately a bagholder.

DAO: At its most basic level, a DAO is just a decentralized way to organize a group of people — like a digital co-op with a shared bank account. There’s no leader or CEO who makes decisions; instead, you might bring a proposal to the DAO, and everyone who holds a token gets to vote. Some DAOs operate like start-ups, others invest in founders or NFTs, and others exist just to hang out. In November, ten friends created a DAO to buy a first-edition copy of the U.S. Constitution at a Sotheby’s auction . Within a week, they gathered 17,000 members and $45 million in funding, only to be outbid by the CEO of the hedge fund Citadel.

FUD: “Fear, uncertainty, doubt,” a catchall phrase for any kind of negativity, criticism, or bad news about a crypto-currency (even if it happens to be true). When powerful enough, FUD can cause panic sales of tokens: “Jamie Dimon is calling bitcoin a bubble that’s about to pop — he’s spreading FUD again.”

MOON: If a coin is mooning, that means its price is soaring.

NOCOINER OR NORMIE: A skeptic who has stayed out of the crypto market, either from sheer bewilderment or the suspicion that it’s a giant pyramid scheme. A tweet from @Gemsays: “A nocoiner normie friend found my Twitter & said ‘you look like a crazy person trying to start an internet anti-establishment cult.’ ”

PROOF OF WORK: The process by which the earliest crypto-currencies (like bitcoin) are mined. It’s extremely energy intensive, requiring powerful computers that race to solve elaborate sudokulike puzzles to compete for tokens.

PROOF OF STAKE: An alternative process that doesn’t require miners and uses much less energy. More and more new currencies are adopting proof-of-stake technology. Ethereum, the second-biggest cryptocurrency, has committed to migrating its entire network to proof of stake by 2022.

RUG PULL: A scam in which developers raise a lot of money for a crypto project, then disappear with all of it. One of the most notorious rug pulls took place in 2018, when a start-up called Prodeum, after […]

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