As bitcoin’s price has gained quite a bit of value over the past few months, many bitcoin proponents have been asking the community to start thinking about using mBTC denominations rather than using decimal points. People proposing this idea believe it’s the right time to start referring to bitcoin percentages below one bitcoin in this fashion, to make calculations easier and to attract new users who think one bitcoin is too expensive.
Using mBTC Denominations
The fiat value of bitcoin is getting seemingly close to the US$2000 range as the price per BTC hit an all-time high on May 11 reaching $1890 across global exchanges. Since bitcoin’s value is growing larger a bunch of cryptocurrency enthusiasts have proposed people start using mBTC denominations. One mBTC, otherwise known as a millibitcoin, is one thousandth of a whole bitcoin, or 0.001BTC. At current market prices, one mBTC is worth $1.85, and people have been bolstering the mBTC idea well before one mBTC was a dollar.
The reason people would like to use the mBTC unit measurements instead is because it’s easier for humans to innumerate and communicate smaller portions of bitcoin. Furthermore, some people just learning about bitcoin sometimes believe they have to purchase a whole coin, which is not the case as anyone can purchase bitcoins in fractions. So bitcoin proponents believe using units of mBTC to describe smaller portions would allow new users to better conceptualize that they can buy ten dollars worth or 5 mBTC. There are a few wallet services and business that use the mBTC unit denomination within their application’s interface. Wallets that use mBTC include Electrum, Blockchain, and Mycelium.
Satoshis & Bits
Another terminology that measures smaller portions of bitcoin in units is called a “Satoshi”, named after Bitcoin’s creator. A Satoshi is the smallest fraction of bitcoin that can be recorded on the blockchain and equals one hundred-millionths of a whole bitcoin (0.00000001 BTC). The name caught on around 2010 after a lot of discussion concerning the topic came up in forums. Sometimes traders refer to one Satoshi as a “Sat” which is just an abbreviation. A “bit” is another terminology used to describe a millionth of a bitcoin.
Using Satoshis and bits as a language to discuss smaller bitcoin denominations is more widely used than mBTC. A few symbols have been created to represent a Satoshi measurement, but nothing has gained widespread adoption.
Would it be Easier to Explain to New Users?
Throughout the past few weeks, the topic of changing the denomination language has come up in forums a lot more than usual. On May 11, one bitcoin proponent describes why people should think about mBTC units, saying that it would be far easier to communicate to new users.
“Many new people that ask to me about bitcoins are “scared” by the fact that to buy a bitcoin you need several thousand of euros,” explains the post.
To buy 0.05 of “something” sounds weird and little. So I think the community would greatly benefit if it switches to mBTC in exchanges and wallets. Also for shopping it would be easier to think that you are paying for a beer that costs three mBTC and not 0.003 BTC.
Others believe things are just fine the way it is and it would be too difficult for the community and industry to adopt this language. Furthermore, some believe wallets companies, exchanges, and bitcoin-based businesses should decide to use whatever they prefer. Moreover, due to the rise of miner fees, some say the proposal of mBTC units is futile as many smaller denominations of bitcoin held in wallets can’t be used and are essentially unspendable addresses.
For now changing the language of bitcoin units probably won’t happen very quickly but there are those that believe the cryptocurrency environment is still young and starting this trend now would be helpful for communication.
What do you think about promoting the use of mBTC for smaller bitcoin denominations? Let is know in the comments below.
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The Case for Using mBTC Over BTC Denominations