The news that all major Chinese exchanges are planning to adopt a new primary unit for trading purposes has caused a commotion that may hinder the idea from taking off.
What is mBTC?
mBTC stands for a millibitcoin (1/1000 of a Bitcoin, or .001 Bitcoins). The idea behind using mBTC instead of BTC is basically that Bitcoin has been very high (over hundreds dollars). It is very inconvenient to deal with all of the decimals in small transactions. In the future, it is also possible that there will be even microbitcoins or µBTC.
According to BTCC CEO Bobby Lee, who has started an open vote on the issue and is ongoing on his Twitter page, Chinese Bitcoin exchanges are considering to start trading in units of mBTC instead of BTC - that is at CNY$6.4 and $0.93 each - as it shows "lower" prices and appeases regulators.
The differences which center on the choice of Bitcoin unit that would be best suited for trading purposes may suffocate the suggestion being promoted by Lee, who seems bent on pushing the idea further despite his being reminded that he had made a similar suggestion at a post-conference dinner in Berlin in 2014 but it didn’t get off the ground.
In his reply, Lee states:
So far, while most of the respondents like the proposed idea, they differ in their choice of the Bitcoin unit to be adopted.
Yes we can
For Darth Maul, Bitcoin is the metric ton of gold today and “We need Oz-like measure now (mBTC) for now... ;-).”
The view is shared by Biswa Das who thinks mBTC will remove psychological barriers and make Bitcoin affordable thus enabling an incremental rise of its adoption as a store of value.
Henry Brade sees it as a very interesting proposal that would force people to learn more about how Bitcoin works.
Other options exist
In a response to the proposal, a tweet suggests the use of Satoshis as the smallest unit of Bitcoin with 100,000,000 making one BTC. The writer, Justin Camarena states further:
Bitcoin Hawker thinks the decimal point could be moved but still calls them Bitcoins and come up with a name for a full Bitcoin as it is easier to get people to buy at $90 rather than $900 while Taidi Ji suggests a redo of the poll with a bit option.
On Reddit, CoinCadence argues in favor of Bits instead of mBTC saying:
“It takes full advantage of all the current divisibility in Bitcoin with room for two digits after the decimal place representing Satoshis, the same as all other world currencies. It removes the need to make this change again in the future until Bitcoin is so valuable or scarce that everyone agrees to hard fork to add more decimal places out of the need for divisibility.”
Others support the 100 Satoshi representative unit but think "bit" is not the appropriate name.
There are also a few that are against the idea in its entirety. John Carvalho says:
@bobbyclee Leave it alone, or go straight to satoshis with no decimal. Any other decimal placement is arbitrary and, to me, embarassing.— John Carvalho (@BitcoinErrorLog) January 22, 2017
Cointelegraph readers have also expressed their opinion on the issue. We asked on Twitter whether Bitcoin trading should be done with mBTC or BTC. The opinions were split with 51 percent votes for BTC and 49 percent for mBTC. Additionally, there was a remark that one more option should have been offered - Satoshis.
However, the usefulness of mBTC largely depends on Bitcoin price. The decision of BTCC might gain more support in the future if, for example, Bitcoin rises to $3000.