Blockstream CEO Adam Back: Drop Sats and Bring Back Bits

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Adam Back wants to bring back 'bit' and drop 'sat'

Blockstream CEO Adam Back: Drop Sats and Bring Back Bits

Blockstream CEO Adam Back believes the Bitcoin community should move away from ‘satoshis’ (sats) to denominate the lowest unit of measurement, and instead use ‘bits’.

A ‘bit’ is actually 1 millionth of a Bitcoin, and was used in the early days of Bitcoin, before the term ‘satoshi’ was introduced to denominate the smallest fraction of a Bitcoin, which is 1/100th of a bit.

Adam Back, who was one of the first people to receive an email from Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto back in the very early days of Bitcoin, tweeted his reasoning in a tweetstorm on Sunday.

The British cryptographer wrote, ‘Time for a bits reboot. Sats are confusing, afaict sats were designed by Satoshi to be bitcents under bits. 1million is much easier than 100mil base. Even bitcoin-qt (core) had bits for years. You still have sats, just bits and bitcents (aka sats), like dollars and cents.’

Blockstream CEO Adam Back wants Bitcoin to be denominated in bits not sats

Many people believe Adam Back to be Satoshi Nakamoto because his writings have been likened to those of Satoshi, and he is the creator of Bitcoin mining algorithm Hashcash, among several other circumstantial evidences.

This is something the cypherpunk vehemently denies, however, and in the tweetstorm, Adam Back carefully chose his words when alluding to the early days of Bitcoin.

‘Apparently early bitcoin had only BTC and old bitcents. 2.1billion old bitcents was 21mil btc. Story I heard from early developers, [Hal Finney] persuaded Satoshi it wasn’t enough for world population, and so Satoshi added 1million divisions, moving the new bitcent to 1/100th bit. A bit being 1millionth part of a bitcoin. Where 1bit=100bitcents, like 3.45 bits = 3bits and 45 bitcents.’

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Bitcoin Sounds Too Expensive, Sats Sounds Too Confusing

Adam Back’s argument is that a Bitcoin sounds too expensive, and at a fraction of a penny a sat is too confusing.

And instead a bit being the denominator, with sats being the ‘bitcents’ it would be easier for everyone, especially newcomers to understand the value by using the original ‘bit’.

‘Bitcoin is too expensive, but sats are too many, sound cheap and confusing hard to figure out what you bought,’ asserted Back. ‘Bits fixed that while still not being expensive even at $1mil btc 1bit=$1, and today 1bit=$0.02, also makes it easy to track $/bit parity, 50x to go vs with sats.’

There will only ever be 21 million bitcoins, and 2.1 billion bits

Does Adam Back Have a Valid Point?

Whenever Adam Back speaks the Bitcoin community listens, and rightly so. However, his idea has been met with a mixed reaction, probably down to the comfort Bitcoiners enjoy, knowing what a sat is.

However, at a price of almost $20,000 per Bitcoin or $0.0002 per sat, it sounds kind of expensive and confusing. A bit would be almost $0.02, which is definitely easier for a newcomer to understand, and doesn’t sound like it’s too expensive.

Telling nocoiners that they can buy a fraction of a Bitcoin hasn’t really worked, while a sat is ridiculously cheap, so maybe a reintroduction of the bit is a good idea.

Adam Back said, ‘There is something poetic about a Bitcoin being made of bits,’ and he has a point. The beauty of Bitcoin, however, is that it’s up to the community, and not one of its most influential OGs.

Author: Tommy Limpitlaw


Bitcoin FAQs

Why should I buy Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer money that nobody can manipulate. It’s all set in the Bitcoin codebase which is secured by hundreds of thousands of computers all around the world. Bitcoins can be sent by anybody and no third party is need to verify the transactions, and nobody can stop Bitcoins being sent

How do you make money with Bitcoin?

There are many ways to make money with Bitcoin. The most obvious way is to mine Bitcoin. Bitcoin mining is the process of verifying transactions, and helping to secure the Bitcoin network. Bitcoin miners are rewarded with bitcoins for their work.

Where is the best place to buy Bitcoin?

There are many great places to buy Bitcoin, and it all depends on your preference. You can buy on typical cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Binance and Kraken. Or you can buy from peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplaces, such as Paxful and LocalBitcoins. You can also buy Bitcoin from Bitcoin ATMs. It all depends on your location and preference

Can you buy less than 1 Bitcoin?

Yes. Every Bitcoin can broken down into 100 million bits. They are known as satoshis, after the pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto. And some companies will let you buy as little as $1 worth of Bitcoin, which at time of writing is worth about 19,000 satoshis. There are many companies that have a system for dollar cost averaging (DCA). This is a great way to buy Bitcoin, and is known in the space as ‘Stacking Sats’. Basically, what you do is set up small automatic, recurring payments to buy Bitcoin (or sats), and you DCA over time.

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