World Reimagined

What Are the Top Buzzwords of 2021 and 2022?

typing on computer

Twelve months ago, no one knew what a DAO was. Less than two months ago, one tried to buy the U.S. Constitution – and almost succeeded.

Times are changing faster than ever as people ride out the pandemic. And vocabularies are evolving at an accelerated pace as well, leading to a sharp rise in buzzwords over the past year. In 2022, we are likely to see an avalanche of more buzzwords.

Staying current on all of the new terms can be a challenge, so here’s a rundown of the big ones that have popped up over the past 12 months – and a few you’re likely to hear more of before the year is out.

Metaverse: The company formerly known as Facebook (FB) brought the concept of the metaverse to the mainstream world in 2021, but it has been around for a lot longer. At its core, the metaverse describes a shared immersive digital world accessed via the Internet, but it’s a term that many people define differently. In one version, people move about in a video game-like environment, virtual reality or augmented reality to interact. Others view it as a place people can buy virtual land and digital assets using cryptocurrencies. Proponents call it the next step in the Internet’s revolution. Skeptics say it’s nothing more than a marketing term.

Web3: Much like the metaverse, Web3 describes what some see as the next phase of the Internet, where record-keeping is done via blockchain and ownership stakes in applications are more widespread than they are in the current version of the Web.

NFT: Non-fungible tokens are digital assets that exist on the blockchain, giving sole ownership (via a Certificate of Authenticity) to one person. They’re commonly associated with digital artwork and sports. Skeptics, though, note that it’s a field ripe for fraud – and many assets are overpriced today.

DAO: Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) are internet communities that are run on blockchain technology and use code to establish rules and make decisions. The most famous of late was ConstitutionDAO, which raised $40 million to try and buy a copy of the U.S. Constitution.

Wallstreetbets: A reddit community that was largely responsible for the sharp rise in share prices at AMC and GameStop. With more than 11 million members, it’s a place where people can talk and speculate about investing, often with a heaping dose of irony (and profanity). There’s no leader, but the herd mentality of many users has led to some tremendous stock swings in the past year.

GameFi: Call it the play-to-earn model. This is a fusion of video games and decentralized finance run on blockchain technology that gives players ownership of virtual items, which they can sell to others. Others award financial tokens for winning in-game battles.

Altcoin: Also known as alternative coins, these are cryptocurrencies that launched following the success of Bitcoin (BTC). Ethereum is the most popular (and most successful), but others include Cardano, Solana, and yes, even Dogecoin. They were launched to overcome some of the drawbacks of Bitcoin.

DeFi: Short for Decentralized Finance, this is a catch-all term for cryptocurrencies and other financial vehicles that operate outside of the conventional banking world. Think of it as a financial system that’s based on blockchain technology. It includes Bitcoin, Altcoins and even NFTs. It’s likely to be used more in the coming year as centralized finance centers like banks increasingly try to get a piece of the crypto world.

Extended Reality: There are a lot of realities beyond the one we live in – there’s virtual reality, augmented reality and plenty in-between. Extended Reality is an umbrella term that encapsulates all of those worlds. And just to make things more confusing, the metaverse is also included in extended reality.

Techlash: It’s hard to find anyone who will give full-throated support to tech giants like Facebook, Google or Apple these days. Techlash is shorthand for the backlash against these companies that’s coming from both users and the government over privacy, social responsibility and perceived censorship.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Chris Morris

Chris Morris is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience, more than half of which were spent with some of the Internet’s biggest sites, including, where he was Director of Content Development, and Yahoo! Finance, where he was managing editor. Today, he writes for dozens of national outlets including Digital Trends, Fortune, and

Read Chris' Bio