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 Author Topic: Bitcoins are so large..  (Read 4519 times)
roy
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 May 12, 2011, 03:59:21 AM

Why not have 1 btc as 0.00000001current btcs?
(or 0.000001btc, allowing for 1 btc to be split into 100..?)

It makes a 50btc block reward 5,000,000,000 btc (or 50,000,000.00btc) reward sound much better

This means if some addon/patch is done to create more divisible bitcoins we could then use the 0.xxxxxx?

2.1 x 10^15 doesn't actually sound like that many bitcoins if you compare it to USD M2 in pennies.
If such a change is made later it might be quite confusing, but as the user base isn't that large right now, why not plan something like this to hapen after a certain date so everyone is aware and is ready for it?

Some extra notes (13/may/11):
 x | Current Bitcoins | | Bitcoins+8 (aka satoshis) | 'Total BTC': 21million 21quadrillion
Some examples assuming 6usd per btc and XE market rates...
 100USD in BTC: 16.6667 1,666,666,667 1USD in BTC: 0.166667 16,666,667 1UScent in BTC: 0.00166667 166,667 1EUR in BTC: 0.238095 23,809,524 1JPY in BTC: 0.00206271 206,271 1KRW in BTC: 0.00015319 15,319 1VND in BTC: 8.17e-06 817

Pronouncing values below 0 in the english language can get interesting...
a number like 1,543,234 can be read:    one million five hundred fourty three thousand two hundred thirty four.
whilst a number like 0.1543234 is read:  zero point one five four three two three four.
On the face of things current BTC looks shorter and easier, but it sounds very drone and as a listener it is very difficult to tell what value the number is.

(going to make a table of pros & cons here..)
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koin
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 May 12, 2011, 04:57:03 AM

Why not have 1 btc as 0.00000001current btcs?

less than one year ago it cost 10,000 bitcoins to order pizza.  assuming that was a \$40 order that meant 1 btc = \$0.004 at the time.

it is easy at this point to wish for a smaller value per bitcoin but that value might never have gotten here if 1 btc = \$0.0000004 at the time.

when the decimals gets to be a problem we can start using mbtc units.  for example, today 1 mbtc = 0.5 cents each
(or \$0.005, assuming a btc equals about \$5)

roy
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 May 12, 2011, 05:05:31 AM

Why not have 1 btc as 0.00000001current btcs?

less than one year ago it cost 10,000 bitcoins to order pizza.  assuming that was a \$40 order that meant 1 btc = \$0.004 at the time.

it is easy at this point to wish for a smaller value per bitcoin but that value might never have gotten here if 1 btc = \$0.0000004 at the time.

when the decimals gets to be a problem we can start using mbtc units.  for example, today 1 mbtc = 0.5 cents each
(or \$0.005, assuming a btc equals about \$5)

even if btc was 0.00000001 current btcs, a 10k btc would be.. 10^12 or 1trillion btc.
numbers & currencies are easier to talk about in large numbers than small ones like 0.xxxxxx.
people arnt really used to talking about milli/micro/nano, especially when dealing with money..
epii
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 May 12, 2011, 05:13:56 AM

I suspect when typical transactions start to be less than 1 BTC (i.e. 1 BTC ~= \$100), then there will be a lot of support for the idea of moving to microbitcoins.  Dealing with quantities less than one hundredth is a pain, but so is dealing with quantities of over a million.
roy
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 May 12, 2011, 05:25:27 AM

I suspect when typical transactions start to be less than 1 BTC (i.e. 1 BTC ~= \$100), then there will be a lot of support for the idea of moving to microbitcoins.  Dealing with quantities less than one hundredth is a pain, but so is dealing with quantities of over a million.

there are many currencies that deal in high numbers (jpy? krw? zwd (extreme)?)
but I don't really know of any that go below 1/100th of the currency's basic unit.

with cash it's easy to see a trillion dollar note vs a billion dollar note, but with online transactions the UI should help with the zeros. (eg commas, 'read' the amount, etc.)
the largest possible number base you would have to deal with is a quadrillion which is used to describe all the bitcoins in the universe..
wumpus
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 May 12, 2011, 05:46:56 AM

That's because there are no other deflationary currencies. They all decrease in value over time, some more slowly than others.

Some countries have removed zeros from the end of bank notes and coins,  but I've never heard of adding them

Let's first see whether it stays this high.

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db
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 May 12, 2011, 06:14:05 AM

people arnt really used to talking about milli/micro/nano, especially when dealing with money..

Everyone (except possibly some people in Liberia and the USA) knows the difference between a meter and a millimeter or a liter and a milliliter. Understanding bitcoins and millibitcoins will be just the same and going from there to microbitcoins is pretty straightforward.
JohnDoe
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 May 12, 2011, 07:00:34 AM

I wouldn't mind using mili and micro but I'd prefer moving the decimal place to the right once the exchange rate gets too high to spare people from having to deal with tiny numbers.
db
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 May 12, 2011, 07:26:59 AM

I wouldn't mind using mili and micro but I'd prefer moving the decimal place to the right once the exchange rate gets too high to spare people from having to deal with tiny numbers.

But... moving the decimal place is what milli- and micro- do!
rebuilder
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 May 12, 2011, 07:27:23 AM

This is a problem that will take care of itself when it becomes relevant. Someone will come up with a new naming scheme we'll all start to use. That's how language evolves.

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ryepdx
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 May 12, 2011, 07:27:45 AM

I'd recommend keeping things as they are. There's too much opportunity for confusion in trade if some people start using the word "bitcoin" to mean 0.0001 of another person's "bitcoin." If you want to start using bigger numbers, use a word other than bitcoin. Of course, if you're going to use a word other than bitcoin, why not decicoin, centicoin, millicoin and/or microcoin...? Not only are they unique and unlikely to cause confusion, but they incorporate intuitive descriptors of quantity familiar to most of the civilized world.

They could be abbreviated like this:
1dBTC
1cBTC
1mBTC
1mcBTC

Or 1muBTC if you want to pay homage to the greek letter normally used to signify "micro." (I would copy and paste it here, but all my attempts so far have resulted only in the letter 'm.')

No need to use all of my suggestions: one will do. I understand if the metric system is too complicated for your taste...

[edited]
I wouldn't mind using mili and micro but I'd prefer moving the decimal place to the right once the exchange rate gets too high to spare people from having to deal with tiny numbers.

But... moving the decimal place is what milli- and micro- do!

+1
db
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 May 12, 2011, 07:47:10 AM

Or 1muBTC if you want to pay homage to the greek letter normally used to signify "micro." (I would copy and paste it here, but all my attempts so far have resulted only in the letter 'm.')

Try AltGr-m. The usual thing thing to do when you can't write "µ" is to use "u".
ryepdx
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 May 12, 2011, 08:11:00 AM

The usual thing thing to do when you can't write "µ" is to use "u".

Um... oh yeah. Good call.

(In my defense I've only gotten about 9 or 10 hours of sleep so far this week...)
roy
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 May 12, 2011, 01:39:21 PM

people arnt really used to talking about milli/micro/nano, especially when dealing with money..

Everyone (except possibly some people in Liberia and the USA) knows the difference between a meter and a millimeter or a liter and a milliliter. Understanding bitcoins and millibitcoins will be just the same and going from there to microbitcoins is pretty straightforward.

But there's still a fairly big issue with 0.xxxx values. They are very difficult to read because unlike large numbers we do not split them up using commas.
For example 1,000,000 is fairly easy to read as being 1 million. Whilst 0.0000001 isn't easily recognisable and I doubt most people would know the SI unit... :/
ribuck
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 May 12, 2011, 02:19:21 PM

One millibitcoin ("one Millie") is 0.001 BTC or 1 mBTC.
One microbitcoin ("one Mike") is 0.000001 BTC or 1 µBTC.
One satoshi is 0.00000001 BTC or one base unit (or 10 nBTC).
roy
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 May 12, 2011, 02:29:07 PM

One millibitcoin ("one Millie") is 0.001 BTC or 1 mBTC.
One microbitcoin ("one Mike") is 0.000001 BTC or 1 µBTC.
One satoshi is 0.00000001 BTC or one base unit (or 10 nBTC).

why not just deal in 'satoshi's? That will get rid of the need for mBTC/µBTC..
JohnDoe
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 May 12, 2011, 02:36:55 PM

I wouldn't mind using mili and micro but I'd prefer moving the decimal place to the right once the exchange rate gets too high to spare people from having to deal with tiny numbers.

But... moving the decimal place is what milli- and micro- do!

What I meant was to pretend that there are 210 million bitcoins with 7 decimal places, or 2.1 billion coins with 6 decimals and so on. Like someone else said, a transition to that would be dirty and confusing for existing traders but I think it would end up being more marketable for the mainstream.
ribuck
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 May 12, 2011, 03:09:46 PM

What I meant was to pretend that there are 210 million bitcoins with 7 decimal places, or 2.1 billion coins with 6 decimals and so on.
That's a non-starter. Every published price would need to say something like "43 Bitcoins (in Bitcoin-7 notation)".
db
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 May 12, 2011, 03:39:28 PM

why not just deal in 'satoshi's? That will get rid of the need for mBTC/µBTC..

... and give you kSAT, MSAT, GSAT and maybe some day even mSAT.
tomcollins
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 May 12, 2011, 04:32:48 PM

One millibitcoin ("one Millie") is 0.001 BTC or 1 mBTC.
One microbitcoin ("one Mike") is 0.000001 BTC or 1 µBTC.
One satoshi is 0.00000001 BTC or one base unit (or 10 nBTC).

why not just deal in 'satoshi's? That will get rid of the need for mBTC/µBTC..

Psychology.  If you have to spend 10,000 to get a pizza, it seems worthless.
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