[bitcoin-dev] BIP Proposal: Utilization of bits denomination

Moral Agent ethan.scruples at gmail.com
Fri Dec 15 18:20:34 UTC 2017

>Bitcoin (BTC), Millibitcoin (mBTC) and Microbitcoin (µBTC) is the >correct<
approach. It's tidy, systematic and precise.

The SI system is great, but it's nice if you pick a base unit that is easy
for intuition to comprehend.

It is a fact that I weigh approximately .000,000,000,000,000,000,000,014
Earth masses. If we arrived at rough consensus that this was a cumbersome
way to express the mass of a human, we might then find a group of people
making the superficially sensible proposal that we use SI prefixes and say
I weigh 14 yoctoearths. This would be tidy, systematic and precise, but
that might not be enough to make it the best option. It might be even
better to choose a base unit that human intuition can make sense of, and
THEN add prefixes as needed.

I dislike the name "bits" but I think 100 satoshis does make a nice base
unit. If we cannot crowdsource a more inspiring label we may be stuck with
bits just due to linguistic network effects.


On Fri, Dec 15, 2017 at 1:27 AM, Marcel Jamin via bitcoin-dev <
bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:

> I think one could make the argument that the only people who talk
> about and understand 24 bit audio or 256 bit cryptography are the ones
> who can tell the difference very easily.
> To me, your example seems to try hard to make the case for a problem
> that won't exist in reality.
> Bitcoin (BTC), Millibitcoin (mBTC) and Microbitcoin (µBTC) is the
> >correct< approach. It's tidy, systematic and precise. But that won't
> stop people from using something that's easier to deal with as I just
> had to google the µ character again.
> Let's also keep in mind that Coinbase has been using "bits" as the
> default for over 2 years now:
> https://blog.coinbase.com/bits-is-the-new-default-and-
> all-new-users-get-100-bits-for-free-9165f757594b
> Just from a linguistic standpoint, chances are we'll end up with bits
> anyway. Why fight it? We don't have a SI prefix educational mandate.
> Marcel
> On 14 December 2017 at 23:01, Natanael <natanael.l at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > Reposting /u/BashCo's post on reddit here, for visibility:
> >
> > ---8<---------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> >> Before anyone says 'bits' are too confusing because it's a computer
> >> science term, here's a list of homonyms
> >> [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_true_homonyms] that you use
> every
> >> day. Homonyms are fine because our brains are able to interpret language
> >> based on context, so it's a non-argument.
> >
> >
> > This ignores the fact that there exists multiple meanings of bits *within
> > the same context*, and that beginners likely can't tell them apart.
> >
> > Feel free to try it yourself - talk about Bitcoin "bits" of a particular
> > value with somebody who  doesn't understand Bitcoin. Then explain that
> the
> > cryptography uses 256 bit keys. I would be surprised if you could find
> > somebody who would not be confused by that.
> >
> > Let's say a website says a song is 24 bits. Was that 24 bit audio
> resolution
> > or 24 bit price? Somebody writes about 256 bit keys, are that their size
> or
> > value?
> >
> > You guys here can probably tell the difference. Can everybody...? Bits
> will
> > cause confusion, because plenty of people will not be able to tell these
> > apart. They will not know WHEN to apply one definition or the other.
> >
> > https://www.reddit.com/r/bitcoin/comments/24m3nb/_/ch8gua7
> >
> >
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