We've previously discussed how many of the Davids in the GameStop saga were crushed as badly as the Goliath was because they seemingly did not grasp the fundamental strategy of a short squeeze. If you know someone is legally obligated to purchase a stock or commodity and you can corner the market, you can sell at wildly inflated prices before the bottom falls out.
It is a classic get-in, get-out play, but many of the investors who drove the squeeze are shocked and angered at those who sold at the peak. They often seem to be operating under the assumption that the idea was to lift the company's valuation to a new plateau and it was only the panic selling of the fainthearted that ruined the plan.
Perhaps, though, there's more here than just misunderstanding. The very culture of what we might call, without too much exaggeration, this cult with its emphasis on fearless risk-taking and diamond hands (holding onto investments despite devastating losses) goes against the nature of rational investing. For an interesting parallel with the similar and often overlapping population of crypto traders, consider HODLing.
Izabella Kaminska writing for FT Alphaville.
Since its biggest existential threat is anything that confirms the view its value may be anything but moon-landing exponential — such as market price corrections or whale-scale liquidations — that ritualised response became the “HODL”.
HODL harks back to the dark days of 2013, when the price of bitcoin had a tendency to go down as well as up. In one particular panic-stricken moment, the bitcoin faithful — gathered as usual in their online chat forums — took towards outlining their coping strategies for what in hindsight became known as one of the greatest testing periods of the early adopter faithful.
This is where the HODL was born.
“I AM HODLING” — wrote one particularly distressed disciple.
Whether the spelling mistake was intentional or strategic is unknown. What matters is that the context of the post struck a cord with the community.
WHY AM I HOLDING? I’LL TELL YOU WHY. It’s because I’m a bad trader and I KNOW I’M A BAD TRADER. Yeah you good traders can spot the highs and the lows pit pat piffy wing wong wang just like that and make a millino bucks sure no problem bro.
I’m not part of that group. When the traders buy back in I’m already part of the market capital so GUESS WHO YOU’RE CHEATING day traders NOT ME~!
It wasn’t, however, until the arch nemeses of all bitcoiners, the “nocoiner” Buttcoiners, stumbled upon the hilarious turn of phrase and began using it satirically that the phrase became a truly defiant battle cry for the long-only community.
HODL, however, is not a simple recasting of a buy-and-hold strategy. It’s much more than that. It is a cultic philosophy representing the greater strength of mind of the average bitcoin devotee compared to the flaky conventional day-trader.
Nowhere is this strength of mind better represented (especially in the face of a spiteful bear attack) than in the meme culture that accompanies it.
Defiance went in one fell swoop from (source: the internet):
Resistance, bravery and collective action in the face of panicked selling is exactly what HODLing is all about.