A guide to the Tech Buzzwords of 2021 is here

This year, tech CEOs, inspired by a 1990s science-fiction novel, went mainstream in the form of Reddit investor words “diamond hands” and “apps” that rocked Wall Street, and something called The DAO tried to buy a rare copy of the U.S. Constitution.

Let’s take a look at the Tech Buzzwords of 2021


The metaverse broadly refers to the shared, immersive digital environment that people can move and access between virtual reality or augmented reality headsets or computer screens. 

Some tech CEOs are betting it will be the successor to mobile internet. The term was coined three decades ago in the dystopian novel Snow Crash. This year CEOs of tech companies ranging from Microsoft to Match Group have discussed their role in building the metaverse. In October, Facebook rebranded the company Meta to reflect its new Metaverse focus.


Web3 is used to describe the possible next phase of the Internet: a decentralized Internet running on a blockchain, a record-keeping technology.

This model, where users would have an ownership stake in platforms and applications, would be different from today’s Internet, known as Web 2, where some of the major tech giants such as Facebook and Alphabet’s Google control the platform.


Tech companies this year waxed lyrical about tools for live audio conversations, rushing to release features after the buzzy, invite-only app Clubhouse, once an invite-only app, took an early stage amid the COVID-19 lockdown. 


Non-fungible tokens, which exploded in popularity this year, are a type of digital asset that exists on a blockchain, a record of transactions on a networked computer.

In March, a work by American artist Beeple was sold at Christie’s for approximately $70 million, the first sale by a major auction house of art that does not exist in physical form.


Decentralization, or the transfer of power and operations from central authorities such as companies or governments to the hands of users, emerged as a major theme in the tech industry.

Such changes can affect everything from how industries and markets are organized and how the platform functions, such as content moderation. For example, Twitter is investing in a project to create a decentralized common standard for the social network, called BlueSky.


A decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) is an internet community that is generally owned by its members and runs on blockchain technology. DAOs use smart contracts, pieces of code that set up group rules and automatically execute decisions.

In recent months, crowd-funded crypto-group ConstitutionDAO has sold the U.S. dollar in an auction organized by Sotheby’s. Dollar sold. Dollar sold. Dollar sold. Tried and failed to buy a rare copy of the Constitution.


The intentional misspelling of “stocks,” which originated with an Internet meme, made headlines, as online traders in forums such as Reddit’s Wallstreetbets took down stocks, including Gamestop and AMC. 

The language of these traders, who called themselves “monkeys” or praised “diamond hands”, who held positions during major market volatility, became mainstream.


GameFi is a broad term referring to the tendency by gamers to earn cryptocurrency through playing video games, where players can earn money through mechanisms such as obtaining financial tokens for winning battles in the popular game Axi Infinity.


The term covers all cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin, from Ethereum, which aims to be the backbone of the financial system of the future, to Dogecoin, a digital currency originally created as a joke and created by the CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk.


Tesla released a trial version of its advanced full self-driving (FSD) software, a system of driving-assistance features like automatically changing lanes and turning to the wider public this year.

The much-tested software’s name itself has been controversial, with regulators and users saying it misrepresents its capabilities because it still requires a driver’s attention.


The acronym “fabs” for semiconductor fabrication plant entered mainstream jargon this year as a lack of chips from fabs was blamed for a global shortage of everything from cars to gadgets.


A term popularised at the COP26 UN climate talks in Glasgow this year, to say that a country, company or product does not contribute to global greenhouse gas emissions. This is usually accomplished by cutting emissions, such as the use of fossil fuels, and balancing any remaining emissions with efforts to absorb carbon, such as planting trees. Critics say any emissions are unacceptable.