This is the meaning of “HODL” in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies

This is the meaning of "HODL" in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

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Most people have probably stumbled upon the word “HODL” when reading about bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but what does it actually mean? Here is the full story of the origins of the expression.


Many people interested in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have come in contact with the word “HODL”. By the context it is easy to figure out that it refers to not selling their bitcoins, but not too many actually know the full story behind the word.

A common misunderstanding is that “HODL” is an abbreviation for “hold on for dear life”. Certainly, one might argue that due to the misunderstanding being so wide-spread, this actually is what the word means by now, but there is another, funnier, explanation to the origins of the word.

The price of bitcoin saw a tenfold increase in less than two months

Let’s start from the beginning. In 2013, a material surge was seen in bitcoin prices. After having hovered around $100 for most of the year (with peaks of $130, and falls all the way down to $70), something started to happen in mid-October.

At the time, the price was $130, but rather than turning downwards, a material surge commenced, resulting in a tenfold price of $1,148 by November 30th.

On the way upwards, a steep fall was seen as the price in November 19th fell from $749 to $482 in less than 24 hours.

This is the meaning of "HODL" in the context of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
The bitcoin surge of 2013. Image source:

After the correction, the prices once again skyrocketed all the way up to a new all-time high of $1,148, followed by another correction down to around $900 before it yet again flew up to $1,155.

Here, things came to a halt. Almost immediately a lasting negative trend started, all the way down to $458 by December 18th, 2013.


Most people who have experienced a real bitcoin surge know that it’s easy to be thrown between euphoria when the price rises, and total hopelessness when the prices fall.

Exactly this happened to the user Gamekyuubi on the forum, who, in a miserable and drunk state, decided to write a post.

The whole post is available to read below (click on the image to show it in full size), but in short, Gamekyuubi is rather dejected, has lost a fortune, but still declares his intentions of holding on while waiting for the price to increase.

This is the meaning of “HODL” in the context of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
The user Gamekyuubi coined the expression HODL when he, desperate due to the price fall, wrote a post on Image source: Faksimil/

The title of the post was “I AM HODLING”. What he meant to write was obviously “I AM HOLDING,” but the other users of the forum enjoyed the sense of total hopelessness and the many misspellings (most likely due to many sharing the same feeling at the time) to such a degree that the word “HODL” ended up with a spot in the history of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Up until today, the post has around 78,000 views and is one of the most read posts ever on

Whether or not Gamekyuubi had the nerves to HODL also after sobering up remains unknown, but given he did, he would have had to HODL for three years, all the way to January 2017, in order to see prices of around $1,150 yet again.

This is the meaning of “HODL” in the context of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
If one bought bitcoin at the peak in 2013, one had to HODL for quite some time to see some gains. Image source:

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