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Author Topic: We should go to microbits (100 satoshis) instead of millibitcoins.  (Read 1734 times)
hello_good_sir (OP)
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May 07, 2013, 07:06:45 PM
 #1

This thread is for debating the merits of microbits instead of millibitcoins.  This discussion is for people who are already convinced that the current price is a barrier to further adoption.  If you do not accept this premise then there is no point posting in this thread.  Ok, so here are my arguments in favor of microcoins:

Millibitcoins is long and awkward.  The fact that it can be shortened with slang is not sufficient to overcome this.

The main appeal behind the name "millibitcoins" is that it uses a metric prefix.  If metric prefixes are so great, why isn't the Euro metric?  How come there is a 100€ bill instead of a h€ bill (1 hectoeuro)?  How come there is a 10c (10 cent) coin issued instead of a d€ (decieuro) coin?  The people designing the euro believed that metric prefixes didn't have any advantage over a more normal type of currency.  I agree with them.

So why am I proposing a coin that seems to use a metric prefix?  The difference is that "micro" has a meaning beyond the metric system.  It comes from a Greek word meaning "small", and this word has entered modern usage to mean very small.  People are very comfortable with the word "micro" as evidenced by the line of toys called "micro machines", the use of microscopes, slang like "micropenis" and so on.  People from all walks of live feel comfortable with the word "micro".  "Milli", on the other hand, is not widely used as a standalone concept.

Notice that I am suggesting microbits instead of microbitcoins.  Again, the purpose of this change is to make something easier to say.  You could argue that microbit is the word for one millionth of a bit, and thus it might seem like some sort of computer terminology.  However actual computer bits are not divisible and measuring data rates in microbits would be absurd.  So there is no conflict.

Hopefully by now I've convinced you that microbit is a superior name, but why set the value of a microbit at 100 satoshis?  (well besides pleasing the metric people).

The answer is that it is hard to get people to accept a change, and this might be our last chance to change it.  Right now it wouldn't be hard to switch to microbits.  We need to convince two people: a developer for Bitcoin-Qt and Mark Karpeles (MtGox).  If these two entities switch over to pricing things in a new unit everyone will switch over.  Now imagine trying to switch from millibitcoins to microbits sometime in the distant future.  Now we have to convince Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Paypal, Amazon, Walmart, etc... and all of the other companies that handle bitcoins.

Another reason is that the microbit is a good size.  Right now the world money supply is about 60 trillion dollars.  Someday this may all be in bitcoin.  If there are 18 million bitcoins (some get lost) that's 3.33 million dollars per bitcoin, which means that a satoshi will be worth $0.03 and a microbit would be worth $3.33 in today's money.  You would also be able to use two decimal places because there would be 100 satoshis to a microbit.  That would be appealing to people.

Ok that's great, but that may never happen.  What about now?  Well right now the price is something like $106 for one bitcoin.  That's written from the perspective of someone who thinks in bitcoin (someone who is selling).  We need to change it to the perspective of someone who is buying.  Instead imagine if the price were shown as 9434 microbits for a dollar.  As you can imagine, that would be very appealing to many people.  It also will help people wrap their price around the scarcity of bitcoins.  Right now you can tell people that the price is going up due to the scarcity of bitcoin, but they don't understand it.  Now imagine if the price goes from 9434 microbits for a dollar, down to 8355 microbits for a dollar, down to 6110 microbits to a dollar.  Look how obvious the scarcity is now.  This explains how ripple (which shows prices this way and has a very small unit) was able to get market cap that rivals bitcoin so quickly, despite the fact that bitcoin has four years and a million users whereas ripple is completely new and unproven.

So, thoughts?

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May 07, 2013, 07:16:02 PM
 #2

The prices would be very large numbers. Too large to be comfortable.
Plus, we don't need to future proof. We can use mBTC now, and switch to micro when bitcoin is much more valuable. Also, mBTC is already built into most clients, and requires no code changes to use.
hello_good_sir (OP)
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May 07, 2013, 07:34:05 PM
 #3

> The prices would be very large numbers. Too large to be comfortable.

That's true.  It isn't a perfect solution.  However millibitcoin is a really awkward term.  Furthermore the current largeness of the prices would soon be gone, as interest would increase rapidly due to the more inviting price.  The awkwardness of millibitcoin sticks around.

> We can use mBTC now, and switch to micro when bitcoin is much more valuable.

Can we?  What about when all of our laws are written in millibitcoin?  What about when our keyboards have a currency symbol for millibitcoin but they don't have one for microbits?

> Also, mBTC is already built into most clients, and requires no code changes to use.

Of course it requires a code change, the default setting has to change.  That's what we're talking about.

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May 07, 2013, 08:06:31 PM
 #4

I believe we just hit upon the proper solution in another thread. Take the midpoint (four decimal places) and simply call it a "bit." That's it!

Make one bit the acting base unit of BITcoin. You don't need jumbles of letters like mBTC. You don't need to think about math. You don't really have to explain it. If someone inquires, just tell them it's the midpoint of the original decimal range.

Everyone knows that "bit" means a small unit of something. The word is ubiquitous. It's short, light, clean. It fits *perfectly* with Bitcoin. A bit costs $.0106 right now. If someone wants to get into Bitcoin, they can buy 106 bits for a dollar.

It's easy to say and easy to write and easy to remember.

It would be easy to adopt this as well. It just takes a little persistence. Perhaps this Bitcoin Foundation (that I don't know anything about) could take it up as an agenda item and issue a press release encouraging this new simple nomenclature. If Mt Gox adopts it, then other exchanges will, then merchants will, etc.

This IS the solution. I dare anyone to come up with a better one.

Let's get behind this.

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May 07, 2013, 08:40:21 PM
 #5

The problem with using "bit" is that the world already has a meaning and thus it can't be googled.  Or eventually the current meaning will be ungoogleable.

>  You don't need jumbles of letters like mBTC

I agree.  I did not provide a jumble of letters for my microbit concept.  My assumption is that we would end up with a currency symbol, such as ℳ (the old sign for the German Mark) or ₥ (which people have considered using but never did)

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May 07, 2013, 09:16:29 PM
 #6

The problem with using "bit" is that the world already has a meaning and thus it can't be googled.  Or eventually the current meaning will be ungoogleable.

true, the word bit does exist... which is what makes it very familiar.
it is not an affix or prefix which i think are a little hard to swallow.
but what do people use this word for? a 'bit' of time?
when you use google you search for bitcoins, 'bit' is just a short name for a unit of bitcoins
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May 07, 2013, 09:21:27 PM
 #7

The problem with using "bit" is that the world already has a meaning and thus it can't be googled.  Or eventually the current meaning will be ungoogleable.

How hard is it to google "Bitcoin bits"? It's still Bitcoin. The bit is just the acting base unit, the shorthand for the most commonly referenced unit of Bitcoin (one ten thousandth). When people buy and sell Bitcoin they will simply refer to Bitcoin bits - or bits for short. The Satoshi remains the smallest unit (one ten thousandth of a bit).

You can then describe the whole range of numbers with these three simple words: Bitcoin/bit/Satoshi.

It rolls off the tongue. Read it once and you'll remember it forever.

How can you get simpler than this?

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May 07, 2013, 09:22:46 PM
 #8

but what do people use this word for? a 'bit' of time?

It's used extensively in computer science (a 'byte' is 8 bits)
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May 07, 2013, 09:24:10 PM
 #9

Millibits, millies, or bitties (bitty seems to be one new term for mBTC) is quite fine. Microbitcoins simply do not make any sense yet. Even mBTC is only one tenth of a dollar at this time. That means that we're still a good way off from even reaching mBTC / dollar parity and even at $10 the unit is quite usable.

Once mBTC is as valuable as BTC is now, which would require an exchange rate of $100,000 per BTC, we can then discuss using microbitcoins.

I think that even in our wildest dreams an exchange rate of $100,000 is not going to be reached within the next 5 years which means that for right now, mBTC should be considered. Not microbitcoins.


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May 07, 2013, 09:42:27 PM
 #10

Another reason is that the microbit is a good size.  Right now the world money supply is about 60 trillion dollars.  Someday this may all be in bitcoin.  If there are 18 million bitcoins (some get lost) that's 3.33 million dollars per bitcoin, which means that a satoshi will be worth $0.03 and a microbit would be worth $3.33 in today's money.

There's no logic in criticizing “milli” because millibitcoin is too long and glorifying “micro” because microbit is short. What's wrong with millibit then? Microbits are not convenient yet (if ever). Todays $110 price for BTC would be $0.11 per mBTC and that's totally understable for people.

People may be familiar with the “micro” prefix but are not familiar with the multiplier. In fact, in all these terms you mentioned - micromachines, microscopes, micropenises - “micro” means something different: micropenis is 10x smaller than a normal one, micromachines are 100-200x smaller than originals, and microscopes magnifies by 1000-2000x. There's nothing natural for people in understanding the meaning of what really the “micro” term means. And certainly nobody who doesn't know metric scale won't know that micro is 1/1000000. I think more people know that milli is 1/1000.

Finally, big numbers are terribly uncomfortable and people hate big numbers. 9434 microbits for a dollar is much harder to use than 9.434 millibits for a dollar. Also, being able to buy 9434 of anything for a dollar creates impression of how worthless something is. If my dinner for two is worth a million microbits then why bother with all these shitty microthings at all.

Millibits (mBTC) are perfectly fine for now.

hello_good_sir (OP)
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May 07, 2013, 11:00:46 PM
 #11

There's no logic in criticizing “milli” because millibitcoin is too long and glorifying “micro” because microbit is short. What's wrong with millibit then?

Millibit is awkward and uncool.  Microbit is smooth and sharp.  Find a marketing guy who knows nothing about bitcoin and ask him which he prefers: millibit or microbit.  I am certain that he will choose the latter.



People may be familiar with the “micro” prefix but are not familiar with the multiplier. In fact, in all these terms you mentioned - micromachines, microscopes, micropenises - “micro” means something different: micropenis is 10x smaller than a normal one, micromachines are 100-200x smaller than originals, and microscopes magnifies by 1000-2000x. There's nothing natural for people in understanding the meaning of what really the “micro” term means. And certainly nobody who doesn't know metric scale won't know that micro is 1/1000000. I think more people know that milli is 1/1000.

You missed my point.  I am not using micro as a metric prefix.  The fact it is used in so many contexts is a strength.  It simply means "very small".  The fact that there is a metric prefix that means 1/1000000 is just a fortunate coincidence.

Finally, big numbers are terribly uncomfortable and people hate big numbers. 9434 microbits for a dollar is much harder to use than 9.434 millibits for a dollar. Also, being able to buy 9434 of anything for a dollar creates impression of how worthless something is. If my dinner for two is worth a million microbits then why bother with all these shitty microthings at all.
 
This is all true, but you are forgetting that the price will surge by at least 10x once any change is adopted  So if we go to millibits we would soon see people getting only .9434 millibits to the dollar.

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May 07, 2013, 11:06:17 PM
 #12

Most of the criticism of my idea is incorrect, but the bottom line is that my idea is not getting any support.  Ok then I give up, let's try millibits.  I propose the ₥ symbol:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mill_%28currency%29

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May 07, 2013, 11:21:20 PM
 #13

Millibits (mBTC) are perfectly fine for now.

They're fine as far as being mathematically useful, but the "mBTC" is a jumble to look at, a mouthful to say, and a constant reminder of mathematics for ordinary people. It practically forces you to do math in your head just looking at the thing.

But if you divide the whole right side of the decimal in two and use just two fitting and easily remembered shorthand terms, then you don't need all the math references both in speaking and in writing.

Using bits and Satoshis, you can cover that whole scary looking range without hitting people with a bunch of mathematical techno-babble. The math should stay in the background. People are just not familiar with this side of the decimal, and they definitely don't want to be staring a math problem in the face every time they look at the currency.

The simple term "bit" (short enough to be its own symbol, btw) can describe HALF of that whole range, and Satoshi can describe the other. And we continue to use Bitcoin above 1. All you need to remember is that 10,000 is the conversion factor across the range: Bitcoin/bit/Satoshi.

I mean, you could explain this to anyone on the planet in 10 seconds.

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May 07, 2013, 11:33:17 PM
 #14

"Bit" is never going to be the official name of a currency unit.  Bit is such a common word, at least among programmers, that it simply can't happen.  That would be like naming it "person".  How much does that hotdog cost?  Four persons?  Never going to happen.

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May 07, 2013, 11:52:44 PM
 #15

At this moment, everything should just be based off bitcoins/mbtc in my opinion. If Bitcoins ever reach $1000+ then I think it would be worthwhile to make some of these conversions.

mbtc is acceptable and is already coded into most clients/websites and should remain for now.

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May 08, 2013, 07:05:24 AM
 #16

"Bit" is never going to be the official name of a currency unit.  Bit is such a common word, at least among programmers, that it simply can't happen.  That would be like naming it "person".  How much does that hotdog cost?  Four persons?  Never going to happen.

Bit is short for Bitcoin bit, i.e., a smaller unit of Bitcoin. It's a convenient and logical shorthand for a range of Bitcoin. It makes perfect sense and won't confuse anyone.

Why would you think a programmer would confuse a Bitcoin bit with a unit of data??? That makes no sense at all.

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May 08, 2013, 07:57:46 AM
Last edit: May 08, 2013, 03:44:04 PM by adamas
 #17

+1 Millibits (millibitcoin) (mBTC)

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May 08, 2013, 02:50:30 PM
 #18

"Bit" is never going to be the official name of a currency unit.  Bit is such a common word, at least among programmers, that it simply can't happen.  That would be like naming it "person".  How much does that hotdog cost?  Four persons?  Never going to happen.

Four persons for a hotdog?  I'll five you 4.14159 persons for it.

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