The Art Of The HODL

The Art Of The HODL

The HODL meme transcends digital jokery and insulates Bitcoiners through the power of community belief.


/ho-dl/ (verb)

1. To hold onto something [bitcoin] tightly with no intention of letting it go

2. To hold on for dear life

Origin: Misspelling of the word hold on a 2013 post

Like many great memes, HODL was immaculately conceived. It was not engineered, brainstormed, or planned. It sprung suddenly into existence on December 18th, 2013. In a span of 24 hours, the price of bitcoin had fallen 39%, from above $700 to under $500. Then, at 10:03 UTC, a user by the name of GameKyuubi, infused with emotion and whiskey, , low time preference is all about delaying gratification. Time is mankind’s scarcest resource. Therefore, by default, the present is valued more highly than the future, as the future may never come. However, when humans lower their time preference (i.e., value the future more than the present), amazing things can happen. Technology, infrastructure, and businesses can only be built by lowering one’s time preference. Modern civilization is a product of our ancestors’ choice to delay current consumption for a brighter future.

The act of HODLing is the ultimate display of low time preference. For most people, the urge to spend newfound wealth is too great. Lamborghinis, exotic vacations, and diamond-laced watches are the norm. However, the HODLer makes the conscious decision to ignore the noise, delay their gratification, and resist showing off their wealth to the world.

The HODLer is not concerned with getting rich quick. The HODLer is focused on becoming wealthy slowly. The HODLer understands the magnitude of the concept of 21 million bitcoin. As Greg Foss, the Canadian all-star Twitter pleb, often says: This is not a drill. The HODLer does not care about DigiByte pumping 30% in the past 12 hours, or about the prospects of putting bananas on the blockchain. The HODLer is focused on making the future as bright and orange as possible.


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Above all, to HODL is to have conviction.

This conviction is not necessarily in Bitcoin, but in oneself. The HODLer’s ears have grown numb from hearing things like “Bitcoin is a bubble,” “You should diversify,” “Buy my shitcoin,” “Bitcoin will be banned,” “You should take profits,” and “Bitcoin has no intrinsic value!” I could go on. We’ve heard it all. Without a solid foundation of confidence in one’s skills of discernment and judgement, the temptation to give in and sell may prove too strong.

To HODL is not to have a closed mind. Quite the contrary. The HODLer welcomes FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). The emergence of new FUD provides an opportunity to strengthen their conviction. It can also mean cheaper coins, something the HODLer welcomes with open arms.

The HODLer is not born but made. Strong hands are usually the fruit not of good genetics but of bad decisions. The reason most HODLers choose not to part with their bitcoin is because they’ve made that unfortunate error in the past and have vowed not to repeat it.

The sacrifice of Greg Schoen is always fresh in the mind of the HODLer:

Escaping The Matrix

In the beginning, HODLing requires discipline. However, over time, the foundation hardens, the roots anchor, and the hands strengthen. The longer one HODLs, the easier the HODLing becomes. To those who have endured an 85% drawdown and lived to tell the tale, HODLing becomes second nature.

The question most asked of HODLers is this: “Surely you can’t hold bitcoin forever At what price will you finally sell?” To answer this question, the HODLer need not mutter a word. Like many questions in life, the memes hold the answers:


This is a guest post by Bob Simon. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC, Inc. or BitcoinLinux.

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