Many times, when new industries and technologies emerge, they end up taking on a language of their own. In many cases, entirely new words are needed to talk about new innovations. In other cases, new industries take already existing words and phrases and give them new meanings. That’s exactly what has happened with the term “FUD.” But what is FUD? This word has gone through a lot of changes recently. In particular, FUD meaning has taken on some very new connotations when it comes to cryptocurrency.
What is FUD?
FUD stands for “Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.” The acronym goes pretty far back. It first started showing up sometime during the 1920s. The original FUD meaning was basically a public relations strategy. It focused on spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt in order to prey on peoples’ anxiety. In particular, a true FUD strategy manipulates people to think a certain way. Typically, this involves carefully spreading disinformation and negative propaganda in order to stir up public fear and anxiety.
As such, it can be used by a wide number of people and organizations. This could include companies trying to discredit competitors so their own products will sell better. Similarly, it could also include political parties, cults, or any other organization that wants to leverage peoples’ anxieties or fears to get them to do something.
Since the 1970s or so, the question what is FUD has taken on new dimensions. In particular, it has become a term typically tied to technology and tech-related industries. For example, many claim that companies like IBM and Microsoft have used this type of strategy to discredit new technologies or products developed by their competitors.
FUD Meaning In the Tech Space
In many ways, the tech space is ripe for the spread of disinformation in order to stir up fears. That’s because, by definition, new technology is largely unproven. Tech innovations tend to be pioneering efforts. They often try to do things that have never been done.
Before a new technology becomes a proven and reliable tool, it can be relatively easy to spread worries that it might not work. Often times, this takes the form of key figures speaking out against a product or technology in the media.
To be sure, there are often legitimate reasons to be unsure of a new technology. But when we’re talking about FUD, we’re talking about a conscious effort to discredit something. Worst case scenario, this means people purposely spread false or misleading information. Best case scenario, FUD might simply be exaggerations of valid concerns.
Regardless, FUD always tries to discredit something by making it seem scarier, more risky, or more likely to fail than reality would suggest. At the base of it all, it’s aimed at wrecking the public image of something in order to benefit something else. In the case of tech, it’s all about discrediting one product in order to protect or make another product look better.
FUD Meaning in Cryptocurrency
When it comes to crypto, FUD takes on some very specific meanings. In particular, we’re talking about how speculative and negative news affects crypto prices and trading. Simply put, it’s disinformation designed to interfere with crypto trading.
Crypto FUD tends to negatively impact the value of a currency. But not for any concrete or statistical reasons. In fact, FUD is the exact opposite. In the crypto world, FUD is spreading the anxiety-inducing news that has nothing solid backing it up.
Probably the best example of this came in 2017. That’s when JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon made a bunch of negative comments about crypto to the media. In particular, he spoke out against Bitcoin.
“It’s just not a real thing, eventually it will be closed,” he said at a conference. “It’s worse than tulip bulbs. It won’t end well. Someone is going to get killed. Currencies have legal support. It will blow up.”
Despite his strong words, Dimon didn’t provide any objective data. He just made claims. And given his prestigious position, these claims stirred up a lot of fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
So much so, that it quickly had a material impact on Bitcoin. As reported by CNBC, Bitcoin almost instantly dropped in value following Dimon’s remarks. The currency quickly lost a couple percentage points.
The FUD Take-Away
Dimon’s comments didn’t do permanent damage to Bitcoin. True to the hodl meaning, many indeed kept holding on to their crypto. But they still show the power of FUD. When influential figures spread disinformation, it can quickly affect cryptocurrency. That’s especially true given crypto’s volatility. The take away from all this? Always double check the information you get. Be sure it’s backed up by actual metrics. Watch out for negative or scary news that not’s backed up by evidence. If you encounter this type of information, it might be FUD.