If you have any interest in the cryptocurrency space that’s bubbled last year and deflated this year, you’ve probably heard of the term HODL. It’s a misspelling of the word “hold,” originating from a post on the Bitcoin Talk forum in 2013, that has since taken a very specific meaning: holding (not selling) cryptocurrency no matter what.
And while crypto-enthusiasts have been encouraging each other to hodl their coins amidst the crypto-carnage of 2018, many are now focusing on a similarly misspelled word with a very different meaning: BUIDL.
Buidl — a misspelling of build — has been touted by some cryptocurrency experts as the thing people in the crypto space should really be focusing on. For example, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin used it on Twitter in March while promoting the beneficiaries of the Ethereum Foundation’s grants.
And while the term is not nearly as ubiquitous in the space in HODL, it is being used quite often. In Korea, there’s actually a blockchain conference called Buidl.
The term buidl essentially urges cryptocurrency enthusiasts to focus on building new cryptocurrency projects, instead of blindly holding cryptocoins and waiting for the price to go up. And while most cryptocurrency enthusiasts will say there’s nothing wrong with hodling crypto, many now think that without buidling, the entire space might just wither and die.
In its trademark application, filed this October, Coinbase says it plans to use the term in connection with “software as a service (SAAS) services featuring software for transactions using virtual currency, namely, software for managing, buying, selling, storing, transacting, exchanging, sending and receiving virtual currency; Providing temporary use of non-downloadable computer software for use in accessing, reading, tracking, trading and using tokens via blockchain technology.” So, anything blockchain-related, then.
The irony is strong: Coinbase, a corporation operating in a space where decentralization is one of key traits, is filing to trademark a misspelled word that was spontaneously imbued with meaning by the community. But such is the state of crypto nowadays: Confusing, slightly nutty, and definitely not very decentralized.
Regardless of how Coinbase ends up using the term, the application comes at an interesting moment for cryptocurrencies. With prices being at or very near this year’s low point for Bitcoin, Ethereum and most major cryptocurrencies, HODLing hasn’t been a very good strategy this year. Perhaps it’s truly time for the entire space to stop worrying about getting rich quickly and to start BUIDLing blockchain-based projects people will actually use.
Disclosure: The author of this text owns, or has recently owned, a number of cryptocurrencies, including BTC and ETH.