A New Bitcoin Symbol?

Bitcoin's symbol in a spotlight over the city

The Bitcoin community is abuzz with the latest move to give the base unit of the cryptocurrency (Satoshi) a universally agreed upon symbol. A universal symbol is likely to help the bitcoin sector to become much more recognized around the world and make bitcoin calculations for e-commerce and other sectors much easier.

But what is the base unit of Bitcoin itself? While no such unit had been specified by Satoshi Nakamoto himself, the Bitcoin community has honored him by naming 0.00000001 BTC as one Satoshi. While one Satoshi is a very small unit of currency according to current valuation, one BTC is quite large itself to be used for ordinary calculations so it is likely that one thousand Satoshi or even one million Satoshi could be used as an alternative base currency for the bitcoin community.

Bitcoin’s inventor Satoshi Nakamoto originally came up with the symbol of “฿” for Bitcoin and that made sense as initially the cryptocurrency’s price was quite low and one could buy two pizzas for thousands of BTC according to the infamous bitcoin pizza story. But, since the latest BTC price is hovering around $10,000, the unit currency of 1 BTC makes no sense. While units like one hundredth bitcoin, one thousandth bitcoin or even one millionth bitcoin can be useful, common sense dictates that when it comes to currencies, people tend to prefer multiples and not divisibles of the unit currency agreed upon by the masses or promulgated by the bank. 100 Satoshis is preferable to one millionth Bitcoin and 100,000 Satoshis is preferable to 0.001 BTC or 1 mBTC. This is just how currency convention works. With the long term Bitcoin price expected to increase, Satoshi as a base currency is very useful for the future.

Now that Satoshi is being preferred as a base currency for the future, we need a symbol for it. There are various options being floated around the community for adoption.

According to software engineer Ken Shirriff, working for the Bitcoin core group:

“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…..“The real Satoshi symbol has been here all along. Now we can stop posting s-----y drawings here.”

While there is no consensus on the symbol now, it is expected that the movement will continue to gather steam and eventually, a universal symbol will be agreed upon.