Crypto Denominations: Satoshi Values & Wei to Ether | Gemini

The hundreds of fiat currencies that exist today (dollars, euros, pesos, rupees, for example) consist of a main unit (base) and a fractional subunit. In almost all cases, countries divide their main unit into 100 subunits, resulting in two decimal places. for example, consider u.s. British coin denominations and coin denominations: 1 US dollar can be divided into 100 pence, while 1 British pound can be divided into 100 pence. in both examples, the main unit is limited to a single subunit denomination: cents and pence, respectively. in rare cases, fiat currencies may have more than one subunit denomination. An example is the Jordanian dinar, which is divisible into 10 dirhams, 100 qirsh/piastres, or 1,000 fils.

Although this more complex standard of measurement is rare among fiat currencies, most cryptocurrencies use multiple subunits. as a result, there is often confusion around terminology and the relative value of cryptographic names and denominations. Below, we break down the crypto denominations of some of the most popular digital currencies.

Reading: Units of bitcoin

bitcoin (btc) uses a system that closely resembles metric system naming conventions for most of its unit denominations. however, the smallest unit of bitcoin, known as a satoshi, in reference to the pseudonym bitcoin creator satoshi nakamoto, does not have a metric equivalent.

btc can be divided into eight decimal places. As the value of BTC continues to appreciate, keeping to eight decimal places helps ensure that it remains an effective medium of exchange. For example, if the value of 1 BTC were to reach $1,000,000 USD but it was only divisible into 100 subunits (2 decimal places), the smallest denomination would be worth $10,000. As a result, using BTC to make small purchases would be impossible. this highly granular denomination of btc units helps ensure that it can be viable as a currency, although its future value is still unknown.

below is a list of named btc denominations and their values:

  • algorithmic maximum: 20,999,999.9769 (maximum supply)

    megabitcoin (mbtc): 1,000,000

    kilobitcoin (kbtc): 1000

    decbitcoin (dabtc): 10

    bitcoins (btc): 1

    decibitcoin (dbtc): 0.1

    centbitcoin (cbtc): 0.01

    See also: What is a Bitcoin node? — Bitpanda Academy

    millibitcoin (mbtc): 0.001

    microbitcoin (ubtc): 0.000001

    finney: 0.0000001

    satoshi: 0.00000001

    However, despite this initial anticipation, converting satoshi to btc has become riskier with price appreciation. As such, some have suggested alternative nomenclature standards to represent BTC denominations more clearly, in an effort to help reduce the risk of human error.

    • standard satcoma: this concept proposes to use commas on the right side of the decimal point, with comma separators at the intervals expected for whole numbers (every three numbers from right to left). for example, 0.03445674 btc would be displayed as 0.03,445,647 btc or 3,445,647 satoshis (sats).

      • btc-satoshi hybrid: As the name suggests, this approach suggests that btc and sats appear together. for example, 6.15395023 btc could be represented in the following ways:

        • $6.15 | 395,023 Sat

          615.395.025 sats

          While (at the time of writing) none of these alternatives have enjoyed widespread adoption, their introduction highlights the unique challenge of communicating cryptographic names, values, and denominations.

          Like btc, ether (eth) adheres to a system of denominations. each unit has a unique name, with many bearing the surnames of seminal figures in the history of computing and cryptoeconomics. the smallest unit of eth is called wei, which is equal to 10^-18 eth. in other words, one eth is equal to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 wei — or one wei is equal to 0.000000000000000001 eth. Although Wei is the smallest ETH denomination, it is not currently the most common denomination used to refer to Ethereum transactions. instead, gwei, which stands for one million wei, has become the default denomination. it is particularly prevalent when referring to gas fees on ethereum. For example, instead of saying the cost of gas is 0.000000001 eth, most would say 1 gwei. Many experienced ethereum users convert wei to ether or gwei to ether, or vice versa, to simplify ethereum processes and transactions or more easily understand its costs. Below is a list of named eth denominations and their value in wei.

          unit — value wei — wei

          • See also: Half a Billion in Bitcoin, Lost in the Dump | The New Yorker

            wei — 1 wei — 1

            kwei (babbage) — 1e3 wei — 1,000

            mwei (love lace) — 1e6 wei — 1,000,000

            gwei (shannon) — 1e9 wei — 1,000,000,000

            microether (szabo) — 1e12 wei — 1,000,000,000,000

            milliether (finney) — 1e15 wei — 1,000,000,000,000,000

            ether (eth) — 1e18 wei — 1,000,000,000,000,000,000

            While btc and eth are the most well-known cryptocurrencies, many popular altcoins also use their own unique crypto denominations. Here are some examples of how crypto unit denominations work in cryptocurrencies:

            • stellar lumen (xlm) – The native currency on the stellar blockchain is known as lumen (xlm). the smallest unit of an xlm is 0.0000001 xlm (7 decimal places) and is known as a stroop. for example, the minimum transaction fee on the stellar network is 0.00001 xlm or 100 stroop.

              • cardano (ada): The cardano blockchain is named after the scholar and mathematician gerolamo cardano. Additionally, Cardano’s native currency (ADA) is named after pioneering computer programmer Ada King, the Countess of Lovelace. The project pays further tribute to King by naming the smallest unit after Ada Lovelace. for example, 1 lovelace = 0.000001 ada (six decimal places).

                • binance coin (bnb): bnb is the native coin for both binance chain (bc) and binance smart chain (bsc). Like the examples above, bnb is divisible into subunits, the smallest of which is known as a jager. The term “jager” originates from the telegram handle of the binance community manager, jager. like btc, bnb has eight decimal places. 1 jager equals 0.00000001 bnb.

                  Just as physical currencies are unique to each country, cryptocurrencies are native to specific blockchains. however, while almost all fiat currencies use only one subunit, cryptocurrency denominations are generally much more diverse. as such, there often remains a lack of clarity around the names in use across the ecosystem. however, there are signs of emerging standards within each crypto economy. for example: gwei as the unit of gas fees in ethereum, and a satoshi representing the smallest unit of btc.

                  Unlike pennies and cents, cryptocurrencies are as divisible as the decimal places built into their protocols; sometimes six, seven, eight, or even eighteen decimal places (in the case of eth). These novel denominational frameworks help ensure that cryptocurrencies like BTC and ETH maintain consistent utility, whether you’re running a large trade or shopping at a retailer that accepts cryptocurrencies as payment. The dynamic nature of cryptocurrencies will likely spawn even more denominations as new projects emerge and existing ones evolve to fit new needs.

                  See also: Binance.US Review 2022 | NextAdvisor with TIME

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