Bitcoin Bits

You could soon be asking a friend for “bits” rather than “bitcoins”.

While many users of Bitcoin have already decided to move to millibitcoins or microbitcoins on their own, the reality is that there haven’t been any official moves to create an official, widely-used denomination of bitcoins. Some people still like saying bitcoins, while others think that millibitcoins are more welcoming to new users of the cryptocurrency. There is currently a debate brewing on the Bitcoin development mailing list where different people are offering their opinions on the matter, and the general consensus seems to be that a move to 100 satoshis as the default setting when viewing an amount of bitcoins is the best idea. The idea of calling these units “bits” was posted on Reddit roughly four months ago.


Why This Move Makes Sense

There is a need to move away from bitcoins as the general unit of account in Bitcoin wallets because nobody likes to request a fraction of a bitcoin as payment for goods or services. While most people in the cryptocurrency space view Dogecoin as nothing more than a joke, the reality is that they made a smart move by creating a larger number of coins over time. For some reason, sending someone 1000 dogecoins seems easier than sending them 0.001 bitcoins. By essentially moving the decimal place over a few places, it will become much easier to send or request quick Bitcoin payments in the future.

The Death of Microbitcoins?

Although the idea of moving to smaller denominations for Bitcoin transactions has been around for quite some time, most people have thought we would see a move to millibitcoins before anything else. The people who thought a move to mBTC would not be enough, advocated for a switch directly to microbitcoins to make sure that we wouldn’t have to make the same move again in the near future. It now seems that many Bitcoin developers are viewing the term “bits” as a possible replacement for microbitcoins. Although there is a general consensus that a move to the 100 satoshi range is a good idea for future default Bitcoin denomination settings, the debate on what those units will be called is still ongoing. There are plenty of different names being tossed around on the developers mailing list right now, but “bits” seems to be the frontrunner at this point. Here’s what Armory’s Alan Reiner had to say on the topic:

I’ve been a staunch supporter of “microbitcoin” and would like to do anything I can to make sure that we jump directly to it if we’re going to promote changing the default units.  And I’m happy to integrate it into Armory as a default (with appropriate explanations and settings/options).  I’m not so convinced about the “bits” name though — I do like it, but I do also think that word is too overloaded.  Though, I think we could get away with it.

The Time is Now

Most people think this change should have been made months ago, but it seems that we’re finally on the verge of an actual revision in the general Bitcoin lexicon. Sending someone 1000 bits sounds better than sending them 0.001 bitcoins, so this should be a move that’s embrace for its ability to lead to more mainstream adoption in the near future. Every Bitcoin enthusiast has a relative who decided to not buy into Bitcoin because they didn’t want to pay $500 for a single Bitcoin, and this could be an easy way to throw that flawed logic out the window.

What do you think about the move to bits? Would you rather stick with microbitcoins? Do you think skipping millibitcoins is the right idea? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Forums Bitcoin Developers Debating Move from ‘Bitcoins’ to ‘Bits’
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 35 total)
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  • #37961
    Avatar of Kyle TorpeyKyle Torpey
    49 Posts

    hile many users of Bitcoin have already decided to move to millibitcoins or microbitcoins on their own, the reality is that there haven’t been any off
    [See the full post at: Bitcoin Developers Debating Move from 'Bitcoins' to 'Bits']

    Avatar of Jonathan SaewitzJonathan Saewitz
    61 Posts

    Nice article. I think it should be officially called bitcoins, but can be abbreviated to bits. “Hey Adam, I’m sending you five bits now!”

    I also see a big problem with this method: If I want to send a single bitcoin to someone, I’d say “Hey Adam, I’m sending you a bit now!” But ‘a bit’ could either mean a single bitcoin *or* a bit of something. He then might ask “A bit of what?”

    0 Posts

    Finally!! From a psychological standpoint dealing with “bits” rather that in Bitcoins units is a huge step!!

    0 Posts

    Completely disagree with the idea of changing bitcoin to become a bit.

    The math based digital currency sector has earned a great deal of press around the “word” bitcoin. Yes part of that press has been negative , but the word is now part of the modern lexicon and as such has great value as a trade name and brand name.

    I believe we should keep the core single unit as a bitcoin but there might be merit in changing the decimal values names to something for the average person to adopt.

    Think ten years out. I will store “bitcoin” in my smart wallet — but I might spend in smaller units like — decibits, centibits, millibits , microbits, nanobits etc. I invest in bits just want make it:-)

    The bitcoin brand has great value and we should not forget that adoption will be dependant upon function and ease of use.

    So keep with the program fellas and use your imagination to come up with killer apps that will embed digital currency into the economy.

    Dan Collins
    0 Posts

    ‘Bitcoin’s just sounds better to me.

    We use Bit in a lot of conversation, bit of this, bit of that, computer byte’s or ‘bit’s…. bitCOIN just makes it clear it’s a currency.

    Also, i feel this could have an impact on society’s perception and therefore adoption of it. Having a distinct change in wording, in the core use of the main word of the technology and function , in an idea that has already hit mainstream news.. could further alienate some people.

    Like Armory’s Alan Reiner, I think we could get away with it, it’s just a crying shame this psychological/linguistical key aspect (of many not wanting to pay 100’s for 0.01’s) was not considered much earlier… But maybe there is something deeper to this that we haven’t yet thought about, eg. The developers having the foresight that Bitcoin will be like virtual Gold, while other cryptocurrencies are used for daily life.

    In any case, the move to microbitcoins (whatever we want to call it) is a must in my opinion

    0 Posts

    too bad ‘bits’ is already taken by the new coin bitstar… Keep up BTC devs!

    Bob Archer
    0 Posts

    I think you misread the intent. From what I read no one is talking about no longer calling Bitcoin, bitcoin. They are thinking of calling microbits just Bits. This would be similar to the word Penny which is 1/100th of a Dollar. So a mBTC = Bits.

    I think thought they might consider Bitpenny… which could be .01 BTC. But still currently 1 Bitpenny is about $5 right now. So that is probably still psychologically too big.

    0 Posts

    This is ridiculous, why not changing Bitcoin in CoinCoinCoin…… ???

    Changes are welcome, if they are any good, not many people are going to like this.

    Bitcoin is a fantastic and strong brand, changing this is not very smart.

    0 Posts

    lol guys as Bob Archer pointed out nobody is thinking of changing the “Bitcoin” name to “bits”. it’s just about changing the default denomination from BTC to uBTC and calling it “bits”
    @BobArcher: mmh i think “bits” is better than “pennybits” or something because everything that is related to a penny is automatically considered worthless XD
    Wouldn’t sound right XD

    0 Posts

    Bits sounds good. Short and powerful. Also, easy to pronounce in most languages.

    0 Posts

    Wrong. It a very smart move. It would significantly boost adoptions. People would rather having 1000000 bits than 1 bitcoin.

    0 Posts

    Who cares… they copied their ideas from bitcoin to begin with it. It’s not like they own the word.

    0 Posts

    Brilliant idea, makes a lot of sense.

    0 Posts

    A “bit” is already a unit of currency. It’s one eighth of a dollar. I don’t see why we don’t just skip straight to satoshis and dispense with the decimal point entirely. The Japanese have the right idea with their yen: zero decimal places after the point.

    0 Posts

    why not use satoshi as default unit

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About The Author

Avatar of Kyle Torpey

Kyle is a freelance Bitcoin writer and the Marketing Director for Bitcloud. His work has been featured on Business Insider, VICE Motherboard, Let's Talk Bitcoin, and RT's Keiser Report . You can follow him on Twitter (@kyletorpey) or send him an email.