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Author Topic: Would it be possible to reestablish the decimal value of a bitcoin?  (Read 1307 times)
BawsyBoss
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April 21, 2014, 03:00:46 AM
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I've read around that one of the reasons for bitcoin's slow adoption is the psychological factor of having "just a few bitcoins." Hypothetically speaking, would it be possible to simply redefine what a bitcoin is worth? Say, multiply it by 1000 so that a bitcoin becomes what a millibitcoin is currently considered, and therefore, leave the maximum amount of bitcoins at 21 billion with up to 5 decimal places? What would be advantages and disadvantages to this? Do you think it would even be worth the hassle?

These last few questions were mostly just for me to develop a standpoint. But what I really want to get answered is, how feasible is it assuming it needs to be done?

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DannyHamilton
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April 21, 2014, 03:47:19 AM
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I've read around that one of the reasons for bitcoin's slow adoption is the psychological factor of having "just a few bitcoins."

That's silly.  That's like saying there is a psychological factor of having "just a few thousand dollars".  Anyone who feels that way, isn't capable of logic and reason.  As such, they wouldn't contribute much to the economy anyhow.  Eventually, when all they can have is "just a few micro-bitcoin, they may finally see reality and come around.

Hypothetically speaking, would it be possible to simply redefine what a bitcoin is worth? Say, multiply it by 1000 so that a bitcoin becomes what a millibitcoin is currently considered, and therefore, leave the maximum amount of bitcoins at 21 billion with up to 5 decimal places?

Hypothetically speaking?  Sure.  You can redefine any word in any language if you can get enough people to agree with the new definition.  Seems like a pretty silly (and confusing) thing to do though. Perhaps it would be better to just explain to people that there is a brand new crypto-currency available.  It is useable everywhere that bitcoin is usable, it is exactly as likely as bitcoin to succeed, and it has all the exact same security and popularity as bitcoin.  It is exactly like bitcoin in nearly every way.  It even has a permanently fixed exchange rate with bitcoin.  This new currency is called a "Millie".  You can get exactly 1000 "Millies" for 1 BTC, and you can get exactly 0.001 BTC for 1 "Millie".

The great news about this new currency is that it is much cheaper to buy than bitcoins.  At this moment, the exchange rate for BTC at BitStamp is $511.05 per BTC, but you can buy 1 "Millie" for just a bit more than $0.51.  If you actually have $511.05 available, you can purchase exactly 1,000 "Millies"!

If people are foolish enough to be upset that they can only own "a few bitcoins", then they are foolish enough to be excited that they can own dozens (or hundreds) of these "Millies" that are just like bitcoins!

What would be advantages and disadvantages to this?

There are no advantages.  The disadvantage is massive confusion as some people talk about something costing 0.5 BTC, and nobody can tell if that's "old bitcoins" or "new bitcoins".

Do you think it would even be worth the hassle?

Absolutely not.

These last few questions were mostly just for me to develop a standpoint. But what I really want to get answered is, how feasible is it assuming it needs to be done?

It doesn't need to be done.  There is no technical reason that it can't be done.  It's exactly as simple as deciding that it would be better to change the names of colors.  From now on, the color we have always called "blue" will be known as "red", and the color we have always known as "red" will be known as "blue".  Technically, there is no reason that the names can't be changed, but what a mess to try to get every English speaking person in the world to be aware of, and accept the change.

BawsyBoss
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April 21, 2014, 10:52:30 AM
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Perfect, that's exactly what I was looking for. If anyone else has another view on this (or a concurrent one) feel free to post it here.

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April 21, 2014, 11:13:34 AM
 #4

I've read around that one of the reasons for bitcoin's slow adoption is the psychological factor of having "just a few bitcoins."

That's silly.  That's like saying there is a psychological factor of having "just a few thousand dollars".  Anyone who feels that way, isn't capable of logic and reason.  As such, they wouldn't contribute much to the economy anyhow.  Eventually, when all they can have is "just a few micro-bitcoin, they may finally see reality and come around.
Sorry, I agree with OP. I came around when having a few full Bitcoins was normal, now I have just 3. Would it be better if I had just 0.30 instead of 1 that is worth $497(as of right now)?

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DannyHamilton
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April 21, 2014, 02:19:19 PM
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I've read around that one of the reasons for bitcoin's slow adoption is the psychological factor of having "just a few bitcoins."

That's silly.  That's like saying there is a psychological factor of having "just a few thousand dollars".  Anyone who feels that way, isn't capable of logic and reason.  As such, they wouldn't contribute much to the economy anyhow.  Eventually, when all they can have is "just a few micro-bitcoin, they may finally see reality and come around.
Sorry, I agree with OP. I came around when having a few full Bitcoins was normal, now I have just 3. Would it be better if I had just 0.30 instead of 1 that is worth $497(as of right now)?

Huh

I don't understand.

You are saying that it would be much better if you had 3000 BTC that are worth $0.497 each instead of having 3 BTC that are worth $497 each?

Jori
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April 21, 2014, 03:25:19 PM
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I've read around that one of the reasons for bitcoin's slow adoption is the psychological factor of having "just a few bitcoins."

That's silly.  That's like saying there is a psychological factor of having "just a few thousand dollars".  Anyone who feels that way, isn't capable of logic and reason.  As such, they wouldn't contribute much to the economy anyhow.  Eventually, when all they can have is "just a few micro-bitcoin, they may finally see reality and come around.

That is ridiculous. There is definitely a psychological factor involved in how people perceive currency magnitudes, that has noting to do with reason. Should people who are afraid of peanut-butter be denied excess to the economy, because there believes are irrational?
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April 21, 2014, 03:38:14 PM
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I've read around that one of the reasons for bitcoin's slow adoption is the psychological factor of having "just a few bitcoins."

That's silly.  That's like saying there is a psychological factor of having "just a few thousand dollars".  Anyone who feels that way, isn't capable of logic and reason.  As such, they wouldn't contribute much to the economy anyhow.  Eventually, when all they can have is "just a few micro-bitcoin, they may finally see reality and come around.
That is ridiculous. There is definitely a psychological factor involved in how people perceive currency magnitudes, that has noting to do with reason. Should people who are afraid of peanut-butter be denied excess to the economy, because there believes are irrational?

The peanut butter economy?  Absolutely!  I don't think that anybody that is afraid of peanut butter should be buying, selling, storing, eating, or otherwise using peanut butter.

Of course, if they are only concerned about the words "peanut butter" (bitcoin), and they if they are not concerned at all about crushed and creamated peanuts stored in a jar (bitcoin based units of value), then they can create a new label "creamed peanuts" (millies) on their own jars and happily participate in the peanut butter economy without exposing themselves to their irrational concerns.

I see no reason why the entire peanut butter economy should have to adjust the definitions of words and start calling it "orange juice" instead of "peanut butter" just to assuage the irrational beliefs of a few silly people.

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April 21, 2014, 05:50:16 PM
 #8

A Proposal for the Mitigation of Bitcoin's Linguistic Transaction Costs

I now think a better option would be for the re-valued bitcoin to be 100 satoshis instead of one:

A full Nakamoto of bitcoins= a million bitcoins, 10^8 satoshis. (previously called a bitcoin before massive success forced a relabeling)

One bitoin = 100 satoshis.

One satoshi = 1/100 of a bitcoin, AKA a "bitcent", the smallest divisible unit in the current version of the Bitcoin protocol.
DannyHamilton
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April 21, 2014, 05:57:51 PM
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And now we begin to see why redefining the word "bitcoin" is so ridiculous.

When I talk about bitcoins, I'll continue to use the word "bitcoin" to refer to the value that it is today (as will many other people) regardless of what all of you decide to do.

Meanwhile, _tenletters (and his friends and followers) will be using the word "bitcoin" to refer to an amount that is equivalent to 0.000001 BTC today, and BawsyBoss (and his friends and followers) will be using the word "bitcoin" to refer to an amount that is equivalent to 0.001 BTC today.

When a price is listed as 13 bitcoins, it's going to become very confusing as people try to figure out if that means 13 "original bitcoins", 13 "tenletters bitcoins", or 13 "Bawsy bitcoins".

Because of this confusion (similar to the confusion if we tried to redefine the names of colors), I don't expect many people to adopt either of your proposals.

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April 21, 2014, 08:07:15 PM
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And now we begin to see why redefining the word "bitcoin" is so ridiculous.

When I talk about bitcoins, I'll continue to use the word "bitcoin" to refer to the value that it is today (as will many other people) regardless of what all of you decide to do.

Meanwhile, _tenletters (and his friends and followers) will be using the word "bitcoin" to refer to an amount that is equivalent to 0.000001 BTC today, and BawsyBoss (and his friends and followers) will be using the word "bitcoin" to refer to an amount that is equivalent to 0.001 BTC today.

When a price is listed as 13 bitcoins, it's going to become very confusing as people try to figure out if that means 13 "original bitcoins", 13 "tenletters bitcoins", or 13 "Bawsy bitcoins".

Because of this confusion (similar to the confusion if we tried to redefine the names of colors), I don't expect many people to adopt either of your proposals.

The first semantic re-basement to take off in even a small way will win out, especially if adoption rates continue to follow an S-curve. New users will adopt the more intuitive system, and will quickly outnumber holdouts. Referring to 10^8 Satoshis as "one bitcoin" could (and should) become as anachronistic as insisting on using the official measurement units of the Ottoman empire.
BawsyBoss
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April 22, 2014, 11:35:09 AM
 #11

One of the advantes I see to actually doing this is the convenience factor. If bitcoin is to become mainstream, words such as "millibitcoin" seem way too long.

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Jori
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April 22, 2014, 11:56:19 AM
 #12

I've read around that one of the reasons for bitcoin's slow adoption is the psychological factor of having "just a few bitcoins."

That's silly.  That's like saying there is a psychological factor of having "just a few thousand dollars".  Anyone who feels that way, isn't capable of logic and reason.  As such, they wouldn't contribute much to the economy anyhow.  Eventually, when all they can have is "just a few micro-bitcoin, they may finally see reality and come around.
That is ridiculous. There is definitely a psychological factor involved in how people perceive currency magnitudes, that has noting to do with reason. Should people who are afraid of peanut-butter be denied excess to the economy, because there believes are irrational?

The peanut butter economy?  Absolutely!  I don't think that anybody that is afraid of peanut butter should be buying, selling, storing, eating, or otherwise using peanut butter.

Of course, if they are only concerned about the words "peanut butter" (bitcoin), and they if they are not concerned at all about crushed and creamated peanuts stored in a jar (bitcoin based units of value), then they can create a new label "creamed peanuts" (millies) on their own jars and happily participate in the peanut butter economy without exposing themselves to their irrational concerns.

I see no reason why the entire peanut butter economy should have to adjust the definitions of words and start calling it "orange juice" instead of "peanut butter" just to assuage the irrational beliefs of a few silly people.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely agree with you that it is silly. I only want to keep the idea open that after the bitcoin price has stabilized a bit, PERHAPS it could be a good idea to redefine its value to be more in the range with the normal currencies (i.e. for most of us US$ and EU).

You seem to have forgotten the point were this currency started with, namely to be the currency of tomorrow or at least inspire/influence it. To succeed, we need to carefully market its use, also to the 'silly' people, who make up for most of the worlds population.

If redefining the value of 1 BTC could help adoption even the tinniest bit, it is worth considering. Heck, mega-concerns, like Coca-Cola, are marketing their products in far more subtle ways than that. I don't think they would do that if there weren't clear indications of its effectiveness (I'll be looking for some more scientific substantiation, but that'll cost some time and am currently very busy haha).

Jori.
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April 23, 2014, 12:04:50 PM
 #13

If redefining the value of 1 BTC could help adoption even the tinniest bit, it is worth considering. Heck, mega-concerns, like Coca-Cola, are marketing their products in far more subtle ways than that.
When you buy a can of coke, what does it say on the side? Around my parts, it says "330ml". I buy drill bits measured in millimetres, my national currency already has subunits, and so on. I guess I don't see the issue with mBTC - people will get used to it if they need to.

Far from "helping adoption", the confusion introduced by changing the unit of denomination would almost certain hinder adoption. Moreover, the headaches would likely be felt most strongly by newcomers and those who are bad with numbers - precisely the crowd that find Bitcoin intimidating already.

It is a bad idea.
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April 23, 2014, 06:17:46 PM
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If redefining the value of 1 BTC could help adoption even the tinniest bit, it is worth considering. Heck, mega-concerns, like Coca-Cola, are marketing their products in far more subtle ways than that.
When you buy a can of coke, what does it say on the side? Around my parts, it says "330ml". I buy drill bits measured in millimetres, my national currency already has subunits, and so on. I guess I don't see the issue with mBTC - people will get used to it if they need to.

Far from "helping adoption", the confusion introduced by changing the unit of denomination would almost certain hinder adoption. Moreover, the headaches would likely be felt most strongly by newcomers and those who are bad with numbers - precisely the crowd that find Bitcoin intimidating already.

It is a bad idea.

Your country uses currency in the milli magnitude?
Where are you from?
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April 23, 2014, 10:46:03 PM
 #15

This cry about BTC having so many zeros after decimal point seems to go with the metric/imperial units cultural divide. People used to crazy stuff like they basic length unit having 12 sub-units (?!?) constantly try to "improve" BTC by declaring some other micro-unit to be more acceptable. Metric people, that are used to Km instead of miles, and are used to that Km has 1000 smaller units, and each of these 1000 units have 1000 even smaller basic units seems to have less problems with BTC denominations.

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rhino34567
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April 26, 2014, 01:03:33 AM
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This cry about BTC having so many zeros after decimal point seems to go with the metric/imperial units cultural divide. People used to crazy stuff like they basic length unit having 12 sub-units (?!?) constantly try to "improve" BTC by declaring some other micro-unit to be more acceptable. Metric people, that are used to Km instead of miles, and are used to that Km has 1000 smaller units, and each of these 1000 units have 1000 even smaller basic units seems to have less problems with BTC denominations.
I think that just following the path of the metric system would work perfectly. mBTC should be popularized. This would take away that psychological factor.

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April 26, 2014, 01:10:51 PM
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This cry about BTC having so many zeros after decimal point seems to go with the metric/imperial units cultural divide. People used to crazy stuff like they basic length unit having 12 sub-units (?!?) constantly try to "improve" BTC by declaring some other micro-unit to be more acceptable. Metric people, that are used to Km instead of miles, and are used to that Km has 1000 smaller units, and each of these 1000 units have 1000 even smaller basic units seems to have less problems with BTC denominations.
I think that just following the path of the metric system would work perfectly. mBTC should be popularized. This would take away that psychological factor.

Exactly. We have perfectly logical and elegant unit, mBTC (1/1000 BTC), and some hardliners are pushing "Bits". That's the consequence of Bitcoin being mostly developed in imperial units zone.

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April 26, 2014, 04:03:14 PM
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Just handle everything in satoshi Wink
That's how you're "suppsoed" to handle money on the backend anyway.
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May 01, 2014, 06:16:27 PM
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Quote
That's silly.  That's like saying there is a psychological factor of having "just a few thousand dollars".  Anyone who feels that way, isn't capable of logic and reason.  As such, they wouldn't contribute much to the economy anyhow.  Eventually, when all they can have is "just a few micro-bitcoin, they may finally see reality and come around.

The problem with techies is that they never listen to average joe concerns and marketing people.  These units are unusable counting number of zeros each time you want to pay and missing one. It is easier to deal with whole numbers and two decimal places because everybody is used to that.
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May 02, 2014, 02:53:15 AM
 #20

Quote
That's silly.  That's like saying there is a psychological factor of having "just a few thousand dollars".  Anyone who feels that way, isn't capable of logic and reason.  As such, they wouldn't contribute much to the economy anyhow.  Eventually, when all they can have is "just a few micro-bitcoin, they may finally see reality and come around.

The problem with techies is that they never listen to average joe concerns and marketing people.  These units are unusable counting number of zeros each time you want to pay and missing one. It is easier to deal with whole numbers and two decimal places because everybody is used to that.

This is why marketing departments exist. You and I might take the time to understand something like this but the average person tunes out after less than a minute. If it's not completely self-evident or there isn't a big push for them to figure it out they'll just give up almost right away.
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