While there are many upsides to Bitcoin’s bullish price momentum, its impact on the coin’s denomination as a currency unit may not be one of them.
As a Quartz article published on August 1 notes, with Bitcoin (BTC) currently circling $9,950, retail buyers are faced with the prospect of forking out a figure such as 0.0009950 BTC for their deli sandwich.
Satoshi: an easier unit to deal with?
With Bitcoin trading at such a high price, the cryptocurrency’s potential use for everyday retail payments faces not only the often-discussed quandary of volatility but also the fact that everyday sums increasingly equate to a dizzying number of decimals.
Some in the community are therefore arguing for the broader adoption — and even the formalization of a symbol for the Satoshi; the name given to the smallest, indivisible unit of the cryptocurrency, or one hundred millionth of one Bitcoin.
As Quartz notes, that $10 deli sandwich would still cost something around 95,000 Satoshis — not exactly compact, but arguably easier to reckon with than something like 0.009.
Finding a symbol for Satoshi
The Bitcoin symbol “฿” — designed by the coin’s inventor, Satoshi Nakomoto as the icon for an early version of the original Bitcoin client — is now part of version 10.0 of Unicode, the computing industry standard for characters. Unicode 10.0 was released in June 2017 — just shy of a decade after the coin’s invention.
Its inclusion into Unicode 10.0 was thanks to the hard graft of software engineer Ken Shirriff. Responding to the increasing number calls to formalize a symbol that would help drive broader adoption of the Satoshi, Shirriff tweeted on July 29:
“Some random possibilities: 𝕊 Ꭶ ş ᔑ ﮔ § ᗸ ƃ 🝅 ᚑҌ þ ꝧ Ⴉ. I strongly recommend using a symbol that’s already in Unicode. While it’s fun to invent a new character for the satoshi, it would be mostly unusable and cause problems. ”
Enthusiasm nonetheless remains apparently unstifled, as community members avidly attempt to crowdsource and promote their favorite possibilities for the new character. One commentator quipped — attaching a .jpeg of the USD symbol “$” — that:
“The real Satoshi symbol has been here all along. Now we can stop posting s-----y drawings here.”
As reported, the term “Satoshi” has its origins in the first “name” of the much-mythologized figure behind Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakomoto, whose disappearance in late 2010 has spawned a legend almost as famous as the cryptocurrency he, she, or they invented on Oct. 31 2008 with the publication of the Bitcoin white paper.