23 NFT Terms You Need to Know
Plus 9 silly bonuses to make you sound like a true insider
NFT nerds use a bunch of terms, abbreviations, silly slang, and intentional misspellings that to most newcomers seem like complete nonsense. Some are essential for your understanding and participation in the space, others are just funny terms that make you feel like an insider.
Being one of the nerds myself, I’ve tried to explain all the most important ones that came to mind as I sat down to write this post. I’ve left out some of the more technical terms, both because you don’t need to understand how smart contracts work to join the NFT space, and because I may not yet be capable of providing a good explanation.
All that said, here are the 23 important terms for you to know, followed by the 9 silly ones that I hope will make you feel like a true insider and put a smile on your face.
1. 10k project
A 10k project is an NFT collection consisting of approximately 10,000 avatars. This type of NFT was arguably pioneered by the CryptoPunks collection in 2017 with many new ones following since then. They don’t all have exactly 10,000 avatars though, but the term is used to refer to this type of collection rather than the exact number of avatars.
When you receive an ‘airdrop’, you automatically get a certain amount of a specific cryptocurrency or a new NFT dropped into your wallet for free. It’s long been a common practice in the general crypto space but has also become a popular way for NFT projects to reward their early adopters with new artworks, for instance.
3. Apeing (into something)
Not affiliated with the Bored Ape Yacht Club or any of the other ape-themed 10k projects, to ‘ape into’ something means buying something in an irresponsible manner, out of FOMO, with too much money relative to your account size, and/or without having done your proper due diligence.
4. Avatar project
An avatar project is basically the same as a 10k project, i.e., a collection of a few thousand NFT ‘avatars’ like the CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club, Cool Cats, Gutter Cat Gang, etc.
To burn an NFT essentially means to destroy it. If only 5,000 NFTs are sold in a collection that was intended to consist of 10,000, for instance, the team may decide to ‘burn’ the remaining 5,000. Other projects let their owners ‘burn’ two NFTs to receive a new and more rare one.
DAO stands for Decentralized Autonomous Organization. When you own an NFT from a project like Head DAO, you and all the other owners have voting rights and control over the future actions and overall direction of the project. Many NFT projects are setting up similar structures to become more community-driven and secure ongoing support.
7. Diamond hands
‘Diamond hands’ is one of the most popular slang terms in the world of crypto and NFTs. It’s become its own meme, its own emoji, and even the theme of whole NFT projects. A person with diamond hands is a person who holds on to an asset through price volatility, negative news, poor market sentiment, and whatever kind of FUD (another abbreviation we’ll cover below) you’ll encounter in this space.
Diamond hands can also be used as a verb: “She diamond-handed bitcoin through the 2018 bear market.”
The ‘floor’ or ‘floor price’ of a project is simply the lowest price at which you can buy an NFT from that project on the secondary market. It’s the most popular metric for tracking a project’s performance over time and its relative success compared to others.
‘FUD’ stands for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. The term is used in crypto and NFTs alike to describe negative news stories, tweets, Discord messages, etc., that are either inaccurate or completely false. You’ll often see people point to FUD as the reason behind large price drops in cryptocurrencies or NFTs.
The price for making a transaction on a blockchain is called ‘gas’. When buying NFTs on a blockchain like Solana, gas is negligible. On Ethereum, however, a $50 gas fee is about the lowest you can hope for, and it all depends on the activity on the network. Low activity, low fees. High activity, high fees. Which leads me to the next term you need to know…
11. Gas war
Oh, the dreaded gas wars! These are a common occurrence on Ethereum and somewhat of a rite of passage for newcomers. When a popular NFT collection launches, with 100,000 people fighting for 10,000 NFTs, you need to increase your gas fee and outbid the others’ for your transaction to go through. This is what’s known as a gas war.
12. Generative art
Generative art deserves a lot more attention than I'm able to give it here and there's plenty of good material available on the topic. It's arguably one of the key innovations in the world of digital art and collectibles in recent years. True generative art is created with nothing but code, but the term is also used to describe the creation process of all the major collections like Bored Ape Yacht Club, Cool Cats, Sup Ducks, Pudgy Penguins, etc.
In short, all the NFTs in each of these collections have certain traits in common: Clothes, skin or fur color, eye type, headwear, background color, etc. With 20 different types of clothes, 20 different eye types, 20 different background colors, etc., it’s possible to mix and match these traits to create a collection of 10,000 NFTs that are all unique. While the initial traits are hand-made, each NFT is automatically created by a computer with a random combination of all the available traits. This is the part of the process that’s described as ‘generative’.
I’ll go with the non-technical and very simplified explanation here: The metadata of an NFT is essentially all the necessary and unique data making that NFT exactly what it is. Perhaps most interestingly, the metadata defines how a piece of art or a collectible looks. That’s why you’ll sometimes have to refresh the metadata on OpenSea before you can see how your newly minted NFT looks.
When you’re buying a completely new NFT from the creator, you’re ‘minting’ it. It’s basically the process of creating that NFT on the blockchain.
MM is shorthand for MetaMask, the most popular NFT wallet in the Ethereum ecosystem.
OS is shorthand for OpenSea, the leading NFT marketplace on Ethereum.
17. Paper hands
‘Paper hands’ is basically the opposite of ‘diamond hands’ and is another term that isn’t NFT-specific but often used in the space. It refers to someone who sells something, e.g., an NFT or a cryptocurrency, at what is perceived by others as too low of a price.
Just like ‘diamond handing’, ‘paper hands’ can also be used as a verb: “Someone just paper-handed a Cool Cat for 6 ETH!”
18. PFP project
Okay, so here’s the 3rd and final term for something we already covered. ‘PFP’ is shorthand for ‘profile picture’, so a ‘PFP project’ is essentially the same as a 10k project or an avatar project. This term is simply used because the avatars in such projects are often used as profile pictures on Twitter, Discord, etc.
The word here is pretty self-explanatory, but its meaning in an NFT context may not be. For new generative projects, the artwork won’t actually be created until the NFT is minted, and you won’t know exactly what you get until after you buy it. In other words, the art only reveals itself after it’s purchased. It’s up to the creators behind the collection whether the reveal happens immediately, when the collection sells out, or with a delay of 24 or 48 hours for instance.
A ‘rugpull’ is something I hope you’ll never experience! It’s essentially a scam where the people behind a seemingly legit project disappear with all the money immediately after launch. You might get an actual NFT in return for what you paid, but it’s most likely worthless and not even tradeable on a secondary marketplace.
Rugpull is often used as a verb as well, as in “I got rugpulled” or simply “I got rugged”. You’ll also see some people on Discord simply writing ‘rug’, often to spread FUD in the community of a specific project.
In relation to the airdrops mentioned above, a team will often take a snapshot at a certain point in time to determine who’s eligible. For instance, everyone who held NFT X in their wallet at the time of the snapshot on November 11, 4pm UTC, will get a free airdrop of NFT Y next week.
22. (Floor) Sweep
‘Sweeping’ is another commonly uttered term because of people’s interest in a project’s ‘floor’. To ‘sweep the floor’ means to buy up a large number of the cheapest NFTs in a collection on the secondary market. Teams sometimes do this, or are asked by the community to do this, for their own projects. Other times it may be done by a single individual, referred to as a ‘whale’.
A ‘whale’ is basically someone with a lot of money, either available to invest or already invested in a high-value NFT project. Thus, someone with 1,000 ETH in their account would be considered a whale, just like someone with 200 Bored Apes would. Whales are important because of their power to move markets, either upward by buying a lot from a given collection or downward by selling.
Bonus: The insider’s abbreviations and intentional misspellings
At first, I wanted to include these in the list above but ended up cutting them to make the article slightly more serious. But screw that, let’s end on a light note with some silly (but important!) terms that’ll help you become a true NFT insider!
- Ded. Simply a misspelling of ‘dead’, for instance used to refer to a project that was rugpulled.
- GM. Truth be told, I don’t know if this is even an NFT thing or rather a super mainstream abbreviation that I just didn’t know about because I’m Danish. In any case, GM is simply short for ‘good morning’ and you’ll see it flooding Twitter and Discord at all times of day because we’re a global — and kind! — community.
- GN. GN means ‘good night’, feel free to use that as well.
- GMI. Another very popular abbreviation is GMI, and its offsprings WAGMI and NGMI. GMI means ‘Going to make it’, as in “If you buy and hold on to this awesome NFT, you’re gonna become rich and have a great life!” (more or less). WAGMI, naturally, means ‘We’re all going to make it’. NGMI on the other hand means ‘Not going to make it’. Use these terms as frequently as possible to be perceived as a true NFT insider.
- Hodl. ‘Hodl’ is really an OG crypto term, a misspelling of ‘hold’ first used by Bitcoin forum member GameKyuubi when they declared “I AM HODLING” in 2013 after a ~40% drop in bitcoin’s price. The term is used by crypto people to say that they’re holding on to their assets through thick and thin, not unlike the diamond-handing we covered earlier. ‘HODL’ has later been assigned the acronym ‘Hold On for Dear Life’ to make it seem less stupid, I guess. I’m personally gonna hodl on to the original version!
- LFG. ‘LFG’ means ‘Let’s fucking go!’. Pretty self-explanatory. It’s used in excitement about new project launches, big NFT news, etc.
- Moon. Another general financial market term that’s often used in the NFT space, ‘going to the moon’ or ‘mooning’ refers to an asset’s value increasing by a lot. There’s no clear definition, but a 10% increase certainly won’t cut it for crypto people who saw bitcoin go from $1 to $60k.
- Ser. ‘Ser’ means ‘sir’ but usually used ironically. In other words, if someone uses ‘ser’ in a sentence, don’t take the message too seriously.
- Wen. Get your notebook out, this one’s tricky! Okay I’m kidding, it’s really not. ‘Wen’ means ‘when’. That’s it. It’s just another silly misspelling used ironically by NFT and crypto people, often in “Wen moon?” which loosely translates to “When will the price of this asset increase exponentially?”
There you have it, a total of 32 important, not-so-important, and all-out stupid terms to make you feel more comfortable in the NFT space! I’m sure this list isn’t comprehensive by any means, so please don’t hesitate to ask me or other friendly souls on Twitter or Discord for clarification when you see something that doesn’t make sense. Most of us are super friendly and love to help, as long as you don’t call us ‘ser’ or ‘paper hands’…
Originally published at techmoneyculture.com on November 11, 2021.
UX Designer, investor, and NFT nerd, writing about innovation, investing, product design, and culture ✍️