[Bitcoin-development] "bits": Unit of account

Danny Hamilton danny.hamilton at gmail.com
Wed Apr 23 09:44:55 UTC 2014

It seems to me that xbit is no more distinct or intuitive than µbit. In
either case it's simply an arbitrary character in front of the word "bit".
Of course, for the majority of the world familiar with SI, the µ actually
adds additional meaning that is lost with the x.

Furthermore, given the multiple concerns voiced about the overuse of the
word "bit", µBTC seems to solve the problem.

Since we are talking about how it would be displayed in software, we don't
need to be concerned about how people will pronounce it, or what the
nickname will be.  If most of the wallets start displaying amounts in µBTC
quantities, it will be obvious that a µBTC is a different magnitude than a
BTC.  Nobody is going to look at their 100,000 µBTC balance and think they
have 100,000 BTC. People will immediately make the mental adjustment to the
new order of magnitude even if they don't specifically know that µ means
micro, or that micro means 1e-6.

Nicknames will form organically (much like buck, fin, large, k, grand, and
benny for U.S. currency), I've always been partial to milly (or millie) and
mike (or micky) as nicknames for mBTC and µBTC.  I've personally used those
when speaking with people, and they seem to catch on pretty quickly.

As has already been mentioned, you're going to be hard pressed to find
software that denotes U.S. balances in "bucks".  There isn't any good
reason to be coding a nickname like "bit", "xbit", or "mike" into wallet

-  Danny Hamilton

On Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 8:51 AM, Aaron Axvig <aaron at axvigs.com> wrote:

> That piece of horse equipment is called a bit in the US too.  But the point
> stands: most people don't use "bit" on a daily basis other than referring
> to
> "a little bit of <something>."
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Wladimir [mailto:laanwj at gmail.com]
> Sent: Sunday, April 20, 2014 11:27 AM
> To: Chris Pacia
> Cc: Bitcoin Dev
> Subject: Re: [Bitcoin-development] "bits": Unit of account
> On Sun, Apr 20, 2014 at 6:19 PM, Chris Pacia <ctpacia at gmail.com> wrote:
> > The term bit is really only overloaded for those who are techy. 95% of
> > the population never uses the term bit in their daily lives and I
> > doubt most could even name one use of the term.
> > Plus bit used to be a unit of money way back when, so this is kind of
> > reclaiming it. I think it's a great fit.
> That's a very anglocentric way of thinking.
> Here in the Netherlands, a "bit" is something you put in a horses's mouth.
> It's also used as imported word (in the information sense).
> We've never used the term for money.
> Wladimir
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