What is the preferred way to denote orders of magnitude in BTC?



If I have 36,235.97 BTC, would I shorten that by writing that I have 36.2k BTC or would I write 36.2 kBTC?

It seems that latter is proper for SI units, while the former is used more often for money, at least in the U.S.

Colin Dean

Posted 2012-06-26T14:18:17.907

Reputation: 6 834

You could always use tonal Bitcoins;) – ThePiachu – 2012-06-26T16:10:08.433

2This is a very interesting question, but it's probably the quirkiest and least useful of a legitimate question I've seen in a long time! ;) – ThePiachu – 2012-06-26T16:15:28.927

3If I had 36,235,97 BTC I wouldn't tell anyone. If anyone asks I'ld say that I have 98.76 bitcoins but even then most of them are in cold storage so don't even try. – Stephen Gornick – 2012-06-26T22:41:29.210

I had some fun writing this guide to denominations a while back.

– Gary Rowe – 2012-06-27T14:14:12.617



I would write 36.2K BTC.

On the other hand, if I had 0.0362 BTC, I would write 36.2 mBTC.

Meni Rosenfeld

Posted 2012-06-26T14:18:17.907

Reputation: 19 132

mBTC, omg, that's horrible, readability just died! – o0'. – 2012-06-26T16:57:51.297

3@Lohoris: Are you the one who downvoted me? For mentioning mBTC, the accepted abbreviation for millibitcoin which should become more standard as BTC price increases? (Which is also used by bitcoin-qt by the way) – Meni Rosenfeld – 2012-06-26T17:14:34.463

3In other words you've downvoted a correct answer because you don't like the facts mentioned in it. – Meni Rosenfeld – 2012-06-26T17:21:13.163

I think it's horrible, so I've downvoted it. Nothing personal. – o0'. – 2012-06-26T17:29:49.787

3mBTC ftw. :) also, 3.62 bitcents (aka cBTC :) ) works. – nanotube – 2012-06-26T17:48:32.750


Given that the community have agreed on an answer to this, I'm upvoting. SI units FTW.

– Gary Rowe – 2012-06-27T14:16:37.340

There's also this chart that also includes the tonal prefixes: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Units

– Colin Dean – 2012-06-27T17:19:23.950

1The common people will use what everyone else is using. Which means that if we establish a convention of SI, everyone will use SI. That doesn't preclude the possibility of a shortened name or fancy symbol though. – Meni Rosenfeld – 2012-06-28T11:27:52.040


Definitely 36.2k BTC.

As you noticed, it's what is most used for money anyway.

And, for the record, I'd never short lesser units as @Meni suggested, because it would only cause confusion: it's not a SI unit we are talking about, it's money, and money uses different conventions.


Posted 2012-06-26T14:18:17.907

Reputation: 5 220

1Then what, in your opinion, is the convention for writing 0.0000063 BTC? – Meni Rosenfeld – 2012-06-26T17:16:11.997

@MeniRosenfeld 6.3u BTC? Unless you can use a mu letter. – ThePiachu – 2012-06-26T18:01:02.643

1@ThePiachu: That's what I think (though probably should be 6.3 uBTC). I'm challenging Lohoris' reluctance to use small SI prefixes. – Meni Rosenfeld – 2012-06-26T18:06:47.733

0.0000063 BTC, until they are valued enough it will be commonplace to exchange such amounts. – o0'. – 2012-06-27T08:50:46.180


As BTC is written on the right side of the amount, it suggests being more like a science quantity, rather than a currency, which usually have their signs on the left side. So I'd argue that if you want to write 36,235.97 BTC, you should do it like 36.2 kBTC, but if you wanted to write BTC36,235.97, you'd write BTC36.2k. I haven't seen the latter version used, so probably the first one would be preferred, but then again, nobody would notice anyway...


Posted 2012-06-26T14:18:17.907

Reputation: 42 235

1Not a valid comparison. BTC is supposed to be a currency code like USD, not a currency symbol. AFAIK people say "100 USD", not "USD100". – Meni Rosenfeld – 2012-06-26T16:31:37.030

I googled "usd100": About 1,680,000 results, and then "100usd": About 1,520,000 results – Highly Irregular – 2012-06-27T04:01:10.283

@HighlyIrregular: Interesting. – Meni Rosenfeld – 2012-06-27T04:33:11.690

@HighlyIrregular: Oh, but "100 USD" (with space, exact) gives 14,900,000 results. And you do know the number of results is mostly made up (or a very wild guess at best), right? – Meni Rosenfeld – 2012-06-27T04:39:37.007

@MeniRosenfeld I wasn't claiming it was reliable, but there's obviously a lot of variation out there in notation (and for what it's worth "100 USD" gives me a bit over 5m results, rather than 14m!) – Highly Irregular – 2012-06-27T05:02:19.427