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Bitcoin Bits

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

[dropcap size=small]W[/dropcap]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 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.

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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.