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Question: Let's say the value is 1 bitcoin : 20 dollars.
People won't mind trading in fraction of coins. - 37 (69.8%)
Most people will mind it. - 16 (30.2%)
Total Voters: 53

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Author Topic: If Bitcoins catch on, will people get used to having so few?  (Read 7431 times)
Ricochet
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March 07, 2011, 10:13:05 PM
 #41

I'll just chime in here and say I too have worried about this issue.  Part of the issue is simply conventional notation, where digits left of the decimal point tend to be separated every 3 digits (whether it's by a comma or period or whatever the local convention is), while for digits right of the decimal point, all you've really got is scientific notation to give you a quick feel for how far out the number extends.  
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March 07, 2011, 11:19:57 PM
 #42

Are 22mil bitcoins enough for a mainstream currency?  I know that they're divisible to eight decimal places, etc., but most people are used to adding numbers to the left of the decimal place, not the right.  I wonder how real this psychological barrier is.   (I realize that the ceiling for new minting can not be changed.)

The answer is it doesn't matter. As long as people have the trust that their BitCoins will retain their value that's all that's important, everything else is just semantics..

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March 08, 2011, 12:55:52 AM
 #43

People will not get used to having only a few, they will strenuously try to get more inadvertently providing wide and powerful backing for them.

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March 08, 2011, 03:07:12 AM
 #44

Just use the wonderful metric system and stop worrying about this subject.

I don't think most people will have a probably with mBTC, uBTC, etc.
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March 08, 2011, 03:10:40 AM
 #45

Convenient values usually displace formal values. Another example: "Calorie" vs "calorie" vs "kcal". Nutritional data chops off three orders of magnitude and still arbitrarily calls it a "calorie".

Now we have a golden opportunity to avoid such horrors (say "kcal" if you mean kcal but even if you do, always use kJ and MJ) by doing it right from the start. Calling a megagram a "tonne" is fine but calling it a "gram" is confusing. So is calling a millibitcoin or microbitcoin a "bitcoin".


Sure, but these often emerge as vernaculates and local conveniences rather than from some centrally-dictated term coiner.

After all, if Bitcoin continues to gain traction, you can't say with any certainty what decimal point trivial-use BTC will hover around. It's such a gradual process that terminology develops just as gradually. In the Imperial measurement system for example, orders of magnitude have been historically added and lopped off of various terms of measurement just to follow convenience.

In other words, nothing needs to be dictated today because humans are just fine at developing colloquialisms to suit their needs, unofficially or officially.
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March 08, 2011, 05:20:53 AM
 #46

Just use the wonderful metric system and stop worrying about this subject.

I don't think most people will have a probably with mBTC, uBTC, etc.

Metric sucks, and would fail without explicit government advocacy and support.  Case in point, most Americans grew up learning American Standard (very close to Imperial, but not quite) because all the adults used it, and also learned Metric in school, because the government wanted people to use it.  Most everyone, if they have a choice, prefer American Standard in regards to the kinds of useful metrics lay people use; i.e. miles for traveling distances, feet/yards for sight distances, and inches and fractions of inches for fine distances.  The fact that an adult can convert traveling distances (km) into sight distances (meters) in their head is generally a useless feature, because people rarely have any reason to do so. 

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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March 08, 2011, 05:55:49 AM
 #47

Just use the wonderful metric system and stop worrying about this subject.

I don't think most people will have a probably with mBTC, uBTC, etc.

Metric sucks, and would fail without explicit government advocacy and support.  Case in point, most Americans grew up learning American Standard (very close to Imperial, but not quite) because all the adults used it, and also learned Metric in school, because the government wanted people to use it.  Most everyone, if they have a choice, prefer American Standard in regards to the kinds of useful metrics lay people use; i.e. miles for traveling distances, feet/yards for sight distances, and inches and fractions of inches for fine distances.  The fact that an adult can convert traveling distances (km) into sight distances (meters) in their head is generally a useless feature, because people rarely have any reason to do so.  

American here, confirming Metric does not suck, and is in fact superior to that of the American Standard.

And I would like to see where you got your information on "Most everyone, if they have a choice, prefer American Standard".

Also, the fact that every other country in the world has adopted the Metric System seems to contradict that statement.

Edit: Ok, most counties have. Myanmar and Liberia appear to be exceptions.

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March 08, 2011, 06:12:00 AM
 #48

Talk to an elderly Canadian, and you're as likely to hear them talk about feet and miles as United States people do today, though Canada has been metric for some time now. It'll take a couple of generations to make such a massive conversion, I suspect.

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March 08, 2011, 06:46:55 AM
 #49

Just use the wonderful metric system and stop worrying about this subject.

I don't think most people will have a probably with mBTC, uBTC, etc.

Metric sucks, and would fail without explicit government advocacy and support.  Case in point, most Americans grew up learning American Standard (very close to Imperial, but not quite) because all the adults used it, and also learned Metric in school, because the government wanted people to use it.  Most everyone, if they have a choice, prefer American Standard in regards to the kinds of useful metrics lay people use; i.e. miles for traveling distances, feet/yards for sight distances, and inches and fractions of inches for fine distances.  The fact that an adult can convert traveling distances (km) into sight distances (meters) in their head is generally a useless feature, because people rarely have any reason to do so.  

American here, confirming Metric does not suck, and is in fact superior to that of the American Standard.


Neerus sucks, too.

Quote
And I would like to see where you got your information on "Most everyone, if they have a choice, prefer American Standard".


Look around you.  Unless you are an engineer or some kind of scientist, the majority of people who are around you at this very moment have been educated in both systems, and continue to choose American Standard for daily functions.  They can do so because they are free to do so.  Their local, state and federal governments have to deal in whatever metric that the pubic insists on using.

Quote

Also, the fact that every other country in the world has adopted the Metric System seems to contradict that statement.

Edit: Ok, most counties have. Myanmar and Liberia appear to be exceptions.


I hope you realize this is not an argument in favor of the free choice of the Metric Standard, since in most (if not every) cases, the public must deal in Metric because either their governments refuse to deal in any other system, Metric is the only system of measurements taught to children, or more likely both.  I can understand how Metric was better in Europe than the differing standards that were similar to Imperial, but different than the nation-state next door.  But that is not the case in the US, as we have been using the same standard across a land and culture vastly more intertwined than anything Europe could replicate before the European Union, but the Metric Standard was a great leap forward for interoperability and clear communications.  Not because it was a base 10 standard, but simply because it was a cross-border standard.  As far as consistency, American Standard is broken.  But it's never really been about consistency, but utility.  And for Americans, being the only significant population taught two different standards of measurements, the utility remains decidedly on the side of the American Standard.  Brokenness aside, American Standard is mostly a base 2 (or base 4) standard based on fractions, which is easier for lay people (and particularly those who are math illiterate) to understand intuitively.  For example; Gallon (1/1), Half-Gallon (1/2). Quart (1/4), Pint (1/8), Cup (1/16), Gill (half-cup, 1/32).  Beyond either end of the range of that example, things get broken, but this range alone covers most of the useful range (utility) for everyday measurements of liquid volume.  We do the same thing to all other units less explicitly, but we do it.  Half-mile, Quarter-mile, half-inch, quarter-inch, half-pound, ounce (1/16th), dram (1/256th lb), etc.  The greatest advantage Metric had that led to it's adoption in Europe, and most of the former colonies of Europe, was it's cross border interoperability.  Metric did not have an advantage over American Standard in this regard, so it has never gain common usage outside of professional fields.  The fact that Metric doesn't dominate in a large society free to choose it is evidence that it was not superior enough for a free public to choose it over what they already used.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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March 08, 2011, 06:53:39 AM
 #50

Talk to an elderly Canadian, and you're as likely to hear them talk about feet and miles as United States people do today, though Canada has been metric for some time now. It'll take a couple of generations to make such a massive conversion, I suspect.

Canadians are forced to use metric when dealing with their governments, much like Europeans.  Where I live, the freeway signs have both miles and kilometers, and so does my car's speedometer.  Everyone else's speedometer has a kilometer scale in the US as well, because the government forced that upon the auto industry decades ago.  Yet miles remains the dominate scale; because then and now, Americans prefer to think in miles.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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March 08, 2011, 07:05:15 AM
 #51

Just use the wonderful metric system and stop worrying about this subject.

I don't think most people will have a probably with mBTC, uBTC, etc.

Metric sucks, and would fail without explicit government advocacy and support.  Case in point, most Americans grew up learning American Standard (very close to Imperial, but not quite) because all the adults used it, and also learned Metric in school, because the government wanted people to use it.  Most everyone, if they have a choice, prefer American Standard in regards to the kinds of useful metrics lay people use; i.e. miles for traveling distances, feet/yards for sight distances, and inches and fractions of inches for fine distances.  The fact that an adult can convert traveling distances (km) into sight distances (meters) in their head is generally a useless feature, because people rarely have any reason to do so.  

American here, confirming Metric does not suck, and is in fact superior to that of the American Standard.


Neerus sucks, too.

Quote
And I would like to see where you got your information on "Most everyone, if they have a choice, prefer American Standard".


Look around you.  Unless you are an engineer or some kind of scientist, the majority of people who are around you at this very moment have been educated in both systems, and continue to choose American Standard for daily functions.  They can do so because they are free to do so.  Their local, state and federal governments have to deal in whatever metric that the pubic insists on using.

Quote

Also, the fact that every other country in the world has adopted the Metric System seems to contradict that statement.

Edit: Ok, most counties have. Myanmar and Liberia appear to be exceptions.


I hope you realize this is not an argument in favor of the free choice of the Metric Standard, since in most (if not every) cases, the public must deal in Metric because either their governments refuse to deal in any other system, Metric is the only system of measurements taught to children, or more likely both.  I can understand how Metric was better in Europe than the differing standards that were similar to Imperial, but different than the nation-state next door.  But that is not the case in the US, as we have been using the same standard across a land and culture vastly more intertwined than anything Europe could replicate before the European Union, but the Metric Standard was a great leap forward for interoperability and clear communications.  Not because it was a base 10 standard, but simply because it was a cross-border standard.  As far as consistency, American Standard is broken.  But it's never really been about consistency, but utility.  And for Americans, being the only significant population taught two different standards of measurements, the utility remains decidedly on the side of the American Standard.  Brokenness aside, American Standard is mostly a base 2 (or base 4) standard based on fractions, which is easier for lay people (and particularly those who are math illiterate) to understand intuitively.  For example; Gallon (1/1), Half-Gallon (1/2). Quart (1/4), Pint (1/8), Cup (1/16), Gill (half-cup, 1/32).  Beyond either end of the range of that example, things get broken, but this range alone covers most of the useful range (utility) for everyday measurements of liquid volume.  We do the same thing to all other units less explicitly, but we do it.  Half-mile, Quarter-mile, half-inch, quarter-inch, half-pound, ounce (1/16th), dram (1/256th lb), etc.  The greatest advantage Metric had that led to it's adoption in Europe, and most of the former colonies of Europe, was it's cross border interoperability.  Metric did not have an advantage over American Standard in this regard, so it has never gain common usage outside of professional fields.  The fact that Metric doesn't dominate in a large society free to choose it is evidence that it was not superior enough for a free public to choose it over what they already used.

The fact you have to use a personal attack shows you obviously can't back up what you say. You have nothing but opinions and logical fallacies.
Show me proof of what you claim instead of just assuming you know what every one in the world thinks and feels.

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March 08, 2011, 08:50:31 AM
 #52

The fact that an adult can convert traveling distances (km) into sight distances (meters) in their head is generally a useless feature, because people rarely have any reason to do so. 

I do that all the time. Maybe because I can.

Or take the previously mentioned food energy. A bottle of olive oil has 40 MJ of energy. That is 40 megawatt-seconds; it will run a 100 W human or a 100 W lightbulb for 400 000 seconds or a 50 kW car engine 800 seconds. It is also 40 million newton-meters; it will lift a tonne 4 km. This gives a clear grasp of how much energy that is and what it can be used for.

Now, using the same 10 000 kcal bottle of oil, how long can you run a 50 horsepower engine or 0.1 horsepower lightbulb and how many miles can you lift a long and/or short ton?
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March 08, 2011, 09:24:46 AM
 #53

If that isn't down to earth enough, this weekend I ordered firewood in liters to be put in a space measured in meters. Easy, one cubic meter is 1000 liters. If the firewood had been sold in gallons and the storage space measured in feet, I would have had to bring out a conversion factor and a calculator.
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March 08, 2011, 09:58:35 AM
 #54

If that isn't down to earth enough, this weekend I ordered firewood in liters to be put in a space measured in meters. Easy, one cubic meter is 1000 liters. If the firewood had been sold in gallons and the storage space measured in feet, I would have had to bring out a conversion factor and a calculator.

Firewood is never sold in gallons, so you wouldn't have had to worry about it. Firewood is sold by the cord, which is defined in terms of feet.

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March 08, 2011, 10:02:51 AM
 #55

Both metric and imperial suck.

Metric sucks because it's base 10 and that makes it inconvenient to divide by 3 or 4.

Imperial sucks because it's base 12 system of measurements expressed in a base 10 numeral system.   (ignoring the fact that imperial sometimes uses other bases than 12,  adding even more unnecessary comlplexity)


The ideal system would use base 12 for both measurements and numerals. Or even base 60.

The reason most of the world doesn't use that system has nothing to do with govenment coercion and everything to do with historical precedent/ critical mass.

Same reason most of the world uses QWERTY and not Dvorak keyboards.



We should stick to metric for Bitcoin because metric is already used by most of the world (even Americans) for financial purposes.

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March 08, 2011, 10:17:38 AM
 #56

Firewood is never sold in gallons, so you wouldn't have had to worry about it. Firewood is sold by the cord, which is defined in terms of feet.

Amazing. A special unit of volume just for firewood!
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March 08, 2011, 10:28:17 AM
 #57

I can't help but take this opportunity to plug natural units: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Natural_units

But seriously, why choose an arbitrary moving decimal place in the first place?  Lots of countries have a ton of zeros in the smallest useful denomination of their currencies, and it doesn't seem to be a problem (when new ones are not being added).

So my vote is with natural bitcoin units: 1 BTC -> 10^8 BTC = 100 MBTC.

Then again, it's probably way too late to fix this.
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March 08, 2011, 10:53:33 AM
 #58

We should stick to metric for Bitcoin because metric is already used by most of the world (even Americans) for financial purposes.

+ 1

Gallons / Miles / Pounds suck goat balls.
Meters, Liters FTW !

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March 08, 2011, 10:58:58 AM
 #59

I can't help but take this opportunity to plug natural units: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Natural_units

But seriously, why choose an arbitrary moving decimal place in the first place?  Lots of countries have a ton of zeros in the smallest useful denomination of their currencies, and it doesn't seem to be a problem (when new ones are not being added).

So my vote is with natural bitcoin units: 1 BTC -> 10^8 BTC = 100 MBTC.

Then again, it's probably way too late to fix this.

Natural units are the purest. There isn't really any natural Bitcoin unit, though. The 1/10⁸ limit is just an artifact of the current implementation (and network protocol?). They are potentially infinitely divisible and smaller pieces than the current minimum may be used some day.
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March 08, 2011, 11:15:24 AM
 #60

There isn't really any natural Bitcoin unit, though.

Never mind that, there is a natural unit. The total Bitcoin amount (what is now called 21 million) would be 1.
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