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Author Topic: RFC: SI- type of naming convention for BTC  (Read 4722 times)
cschmitz
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May 22, 2011, 01:16:43 AM
 #1

Hey guys,

right now the reporting about Bitcoin is taking off. A recurring mistake i see in each and every posting regarding Bitcoin is the percieved limit of payment units, giving people a sense that the BTC is the smallest unit around and only 7m exist right now. Bitcoin is hard to grasp as it is, so understanding that there are one million pieces to a bitcoin seems to be too far fetched to tech journalists and the average joe user.
I see the percieved value of bitcoins as key issue to more widespread acceptance, after all most people would see themselves limited to having 0,00135 something if accepted globally, giving people a permanent feeling of not having anything.
To overcome this "perception" issue and to introduce a naming pattern for bitcoin i suggest the following, without changing ANY values, just the naming and display pattern:

a) re-brand the current type of unit used within the system from BTC to MBTC

b) use the term Bitcoin for what is currently 1 millionth of a Bitcoin

optionally c) leave the 0,x to be the subdivision of a bitcoin

Here is a quick mock-up on how such change could appear, with or without option c:




In the end, it all boils down to giving people a simple terminology that uses terms they have come to learn in the past decade through personal computers seems to be the most consumer friendly approach.

edit: for reference, here is the link to the current unit charts and some other suggestions

https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Units
https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Universal_Bitcoin

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May 22, 2011, 04:56:32 AM
 #2

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May 22, 2011, 05:31:45 AM
 #3

You have an extra zero in there. A bitcoin is 100 million "satoshis", not 1 billion.

I know this because Tyler knows this.
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May 22, 2011, 06:22:18 AM
 #4

Please see the thread at http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=8282.0

For an extensive discussion of this issue.

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cschmitz
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May 22, 2011, 10:36:50 AM
 #5

Please see the thread at http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=8282.0

For an extensive discussion of this issue.

the issue is not the same, its not about naming 0,001 btc but changing the naming and numeration system towards SI and shifting the bitcoin unit down

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cschmitz
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May 22, 2011, 10:37:55 AM
 #6

You have an extra zero in there. A bitcoin is 100 million "satoshis", not 1 billion.
so the left chart is wrong yes? i had assumed it was a 3 step system. i will make a change to reflect that later today. thanks for the feedback

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May 22, 2011, 11:15:30 AM
 #7

An interesting idea. We have to think about that.

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May 22, 2011, 12:15:15 PM
 #8

While it would have been nice if Satoshi had anticipated the concern about public understanding of divisibility when he started Bitcoin, I think its way too late
to change what "a Bitcoin (BTC)" represents.  It will be too confusing, but I do think we need to have solid names for 1/1000 of a bitcoin and 1/1,000,000 of a Bitcoin and less.

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May 22, 2011, 10:04:43 PM
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I agree it's too late to change BTC or probably any of the other units. But if the whole unit system were to be reorganized, something like this would be much more sensible.

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May 22, 2011, 11:32:05 PM
 #10

Like!

1 BTC = 0,001 SAT
1 SAT = 1000 BTC

Easy

cschmitz
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May 22, 2011, 11:55:44 PM
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I agree it's too late to change BTC or probably any of the other units. But if the whole unit system were to be reorganized, something like this would be much more sensible.

It's a key aspect of anything "universally accepted" to be percieved easy to grasp and simple. The concept of bitcoin in many aspects is difficult to grasp for even more engaged consumers, do you want to overburden them with those "TL;DR" charts?
Giving people a simple terminology that uses terms they have come to learn in the past decade through personal computers seems to be the most consumer friendly approach.

If there has ever been an argument for changing a naming system from the current situation to a system that is simplified, it would be your two charts. You can win coders hearts with these, the average consumer opens these charts and will just close it out of utter confusion and "fear of complexity".

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May 23, 2011, 12:39:10 AM
 #12

The only problem is on the forums, not in real life.

Currently, the BTC unit is divisible to FAR below the point that anyone cares.  And if we start getting transactions down to that point, it is trivial to extend the protocol.  In fact, we will probably extend it for technical reasons a century or two before any real life transactions need the extra digits.  Yes, I said centuries, and no, I wasn't kidding.

Why not worry about something that might become a problem in your lifetime rather than making up this crap?

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cschmitz
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May 23, 2011, 01:22:00 AM
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The only problem is on the forums, not in real life.

...

Why not worry about something that might become a problem in your lifetime rather than making up this crap?

I am sorry if that wasnt clear, i think you are misinterpreting my posting as a suggestion to change anything in the code or protocol. It is not, it is a suggestion to change the naming pattern to one that is NOT a problem in real life. I consider the current naming system unacceptable for widespread use, hence the suggestion.

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May 23, 2011, 01:34:13 AM
 #14

The naming pattern we have now is not a problem in real life.

It is only possible for a person to imagine that the BTC is indivisible if they've never even heard about bitcoins.  Every single thing that I've seen that displays bitcoins does so with at least a couple digits after the decimal, starting with the stock client, the faucet, Mt Gox, the block explorer, every single mining pool website, etc, etc.

Where are you finding people that both 1) have heard of bitcoins, and 2) think they are atomic and indivisible?

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May 23, 2011, 01:38:12 AM
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I am sorry if that wasnt clear, i think you are misinterpreting my posting as a suggestion to change anything in the code or protocol. It is not, it is a suggestion to change the naming pattern to one that is NOT a problem in real life. I consider the current naming system unacceptable for widespread use, hence the suggestion.

Unfortunately I think the existing naming system is probably too entrenched for this to be a doable thing now. Already people are using mBTC, cBTC, uBTC, etc to shift the decimal place, and I don't know that that is bad.

After all, for most household and benchtop uses, who measures things in meters? I remember in science class in school meters were almost never used. I am much more familiar with how large is a millimeter or a centimeter than a meter. My estimation of a meter is "approximately 3 feet" from my USian upbringing.

The point is, people use cm and mm without batting an eye. I understand your hesitancy given that "less than one" feels like too little. However, I don't know that the overhead to change this in people's minds is low enough vs. the expected benefit of changing the units. I am still open to persuasion if you can find some surefire way to communicate this.

Also the unit of satoshi is nice, but I think it just muddies the waters, especially given that there probably is no satoshi anyway.

http://media.witcoin.com/p/1608/8----This-is-nuts

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May 23, 2011, 01:39:53 AM
 #16

Where are you finding people that both 1) have heard of bitcoins, and 2) think they are atomic and indivisible?

This is actually a problem. If you watch 'bitcoin' on twitter you'll see a lot of "What, only 21 million ever? That's not enough to go around at all! Herp derp." Of course, the intelligence or attention level of most of the troglodytes on Twitter is so low in the first place (with respect to bitcoin) that they may not matter.

http://media.witcoin.com/p/1608/8----This-is-nuts

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cschmitz
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May 23, 2011, 01:45:00 AM
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Where are you finding people that both 1) have heard of bitcoins, and 2) think they are atomic and indivisible?

Do you read techblogs like techcrunch who have millions of readers? I quote from http://techcrunch.com/2011/05/21/the-bitcoin-experiment/

Quote
And, crucially, no more than 21 million will ever exist. (~7 million are currently extant.)

While not stating directly bitcoins are atomic, it heavily implies it to the reader.

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May 23, 2011, 02:00:12 AM
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Where are you finding people that both 1) have heard of bitcoins, and 2) think they are atomic and indivisible?

Do you read techblogs like techcrunch who have millions of readers? I quote from http://techcrunch.com/2011/05/21/the-bitcoin-experiment/

Quote
And, crucially, no more than 21 million will ever exist. (~7 million are currently extant.)

While not stating directly bitcoins are atomic, it heavily implies it to the reader.

Holy crap, that passes for content these days?  Ugh, I'm glad I've never read that site before, and I think I'll continue never reading it.

Please note that your proposal does nothing to solve the real problem here:  shitty 'journalism'.

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May 23, 2011, 02:24:36 AM
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And if we start getting transactions down to that point, it is trivial to extend the protocol.
Actually, the fact is that it is basically impossible to add any more precision. It's possibly if the whole network upgrades, but that's basically creating a new network. It's just as "trivial" as changing the 21 million total into something else.

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May 23, 2011, 03:09:31 AM
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And if we start getting transactions down to that point, it is trivial to extend the protocol.
Actually, the fact is that it is basically impossible to add any more precision. It's possibly if the whole network upgrades, but that's basically creating a new network. It's just as "trivial" as changing the 21 million total into something else.

Considering that we will have several decades of warning of the impending need to switch precisions, I still think it will be trivial to upgrade the entire network.

Changing the generation scheme to give more than 21 million coins would also be technically trivial, but the social effects would destroy the whole system.

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