Degen: What Is a Degen, and Is Being One Bad?

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What does Degen mean?

In crypto, “degen” is short for degenerate. It describes someone who chases after seemingly promising opportunities without conducting sufficient prior research.

Being a degen can certainly be a bad thing, although it’s commonly used by crypto traders (who do in fact do their research) to jokingly refer to themselves.

What Is a Degen in Crypto?

Picture in your mind a degenerate. You have likely conjured up the image of some pinhead dressed in soiled burlap.

Their shoes are made of dollar store plastic bags, and their teeth are brown wherever they aren’t missing.

Maybe they’re swinging a cat over their head by its tail.

In the world of DeFi, a “degen” doesn’t necessarily look so depraved. They are simply someone who acts on zero or poor information – or, more commonly, someone who has embraced self-effacing humor while referring to themselves.

You don’t want to be an actual degen, of course. So what does a degen actually do?

What Are Some Examples of Degen Behavior?

APING IN. A degen commonly throws unreasonable amounts of money at dubious projects. This rarely works in their favor, but unscrupulous project creators love the degen’s insistence on giving them money all the same.

Investing without DYOR. “Do your own research.” These words never cross the degen’s mind as they enthusiastically invest in coins and tokens they only just heard about a few minutes ago.

Engaging in FOMO. “Fear of missing out.” The degen cannot stand the thought of losing a golden opportunity – even if everyone has already jumped on the bandwagon, and the market rate for a coin or token is presently soaring.

Failing to learn the lexicon. Crypto is filled with plenty of alien concepts like APY, FDV and TVL. Knowing these will help you make rational decisions, which is why the degen prefers to ignore them.

Is Being a Degen a Bad Thing?

At face value, yes – being a degen is bad! However, this doesn’t mean you should bristle if someone calls you a degen. 

Do you know how pirates call each other scallywags? You can tell deep down inside they don’t really mean it. Likewise, many of the most reputable experts in the cryptosphere identify as “degens” including @DegenSpartan and @DegenApeAcademy.

These people aren’t remotely foolish. They just don’t take themselves too seriously, which is a good mindset to adopt while you’re dealing with sci-fi electro-cash.


Don’t be an actual degen. Investing in crypto solely because everyone else is doing it or because a funny meme doggo made you laugh is a surefire way to lose your shirt. DYOR!

That said, many self-identified degens aren’t the least bit bumbling. They’re cool guys who would never think of wearing burlap or swinging cats.

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