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Another day, another conference, another meeting. This time we’re chatting and talking with a group of people from banks, and I’m wearing one of my favourite new t-shirts, emblazed with the message: Just hodl it!

Before taking stage, someone asked me what hodl meant. I was surprised. I thought everyone knew what hodl meant. I explained that it meant hold your crypto. Hold your crypto? They were confused.

OK, I said, it all started in 2008 with bitcoin and then, in 2013, a user on bitcointalk typed a drunken message saying: I AM HODLING. He meant: I AM HOLDING but, after a few whiskies, mis-typed the title even though he wrote it twice. You can find out more here.

The term hodl then became a meme and focus of most cryptocurrency traders and investors, basically to keep the currency as an asset. It’s the reason why it’s not a currency. No one spends bitcoins, ETH or XRP. You just hodl it. You keep it.

Now, this is a meme and phrase I quite like, as I’ve been hodling for a while. When cryptocurrencies go massively up or massively down, I’m cool as they’re never falling below the amount I paid to invest in them. Keep hodling it.

Sure, it’s a rollercoaster. You see the highs and they’re sometimes very high. You see the lows, and they’re sometimes very low. Keep hodling it.

It’s also why cryptocurrencies don’t really work … yet. When a market has such volatility, it’s not a viable market. And some people sell some during the highs, and then it goes higher. Some folks sell as it goes down, and then it goes higher. It’s a casino, but a casino with only one sure result. It will get higher.

Why is this? How can crypto folks be so sure that it will get higher?

They can be sure because only a small fraction of the world’s population is engaged in cryptocurrency investments today and, if you believe in any of these currencies long-term, you can be sure they will get much higher. Bitcoin today has just broken the $10,000 per coin barrier again. Sure, three years ago, it was $20,000. But $10,000 is an important breakthrough as it shows it is regaining focus and certainty.

In 2017, John McAfee promised to eat his own dick on national TV on December 31st this year, if bitcoin’s valuation hadn’t reached $500k per coin.

He actually doubled down on it and raised the bar to say he would do it if the valuation were not $1 million per coin by the end of the year.

This led to The Dickening countdown which was really exciting … until McAfee chickened out last month.

Now known as The Dickless Douche, at least McAfee got people to be awake and aware I guess.

Anyways, it is just part of the libertarian world of crypto traders and investors. Many are free spirited strange creatures, but they all believe that their favourite cryptocurrency will break a million one day soon, and so keep hodling until it does.

Don’t spend it. Hodl it.

That message is why cryptocurrencies don’t work for me but, even so, I’m hodling it. I’ve got the t-shirt. I hear the message.

Meantime, having rolled out this t-shirt for the first time at a banking conference, I decided to ask the audience if they knew what hodl was. They didn’t. It’s about hodling your crypto, I said. They gave me a weird look. I said you do hodl some crypto, don’t you? They thought I was mad. Hodling as in keep your bitcoin? I said. Nope. You do have some bitcoins don’t you? Nope.

Ah well, c’est la vie. Meantime, I did spend some bitcoin recently. Got a nice autographed Watford football team shirt …

… sponsored by bitcoin. There you go!

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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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