Blockstream CEO Adam Back: Drop Sats and Bring Back Bits

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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.

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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.’

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.’

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.’

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.


Please be advised that the contents of these posts are not to be construed as investment advice. While some of our contributors may be price analysts, their opinions and analyses are personal views and are shared with the intention of promoting discourse and understanding.

Always conduct your own research and consult with a professional financial advisor before making any investment decisions. The Bitcoin market can be volatile, and past performance is not indicative of future results. Invest at your own risk.

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