Physical bitcoin coins made of gold and silver

Overview of Bitcoin Currency Units

There are several Bitcoin currency units that you need to be aware of. This article explains what those units are and how they are related.

The Bitcoin

Unsurprisingly, the basic currency unit is the bitcoin (1 BTC or 1 XBT). It is also the biggest currency unit used with Bitcoin technology.

The value of a bitcoin expressed in common currencies is expected to increase with the adoption of Bitcoin technology by people and corporations. For example, at the time of this writing (end of December 2016), the value of a single bitcoin is already respectable (960 USD, not so far away from the price of one ounce of Gold).

So if the trend continues, it makes sense that in the future we will be using fractions of a bitcoin, and recognizing this, the inventors of Bitcoin formalized the following bitcoin sub-units:

The Millibitcoin

A millibitcoin is one thousandth of a bitcoin:

  • 1mBTC = 1/1000th BTC
  • 1mBTC = 0.001 BTC

The Microbitcoin or Bit

A microbitcoin (also called a bit) is one millionth of a bitcoin:

  • 1 µBTC = 1/1,000,000th BTC
  • 1 µBTC = 0.000001 BTC

A microbitcoin is also one thousandth of a millibitcoin:

  • 1 µBTC = 1/1000th mBTC
  • 1 µBTC = 0.001 mBTC

The Satoshi

The satoshi is the smallest Bitcoin unit being used. It is named after the creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, a mysterious pseudonym of the author of the original Bitcoin white paper.

A satoshi is one hundred millionth of a bitcoin:

  • 1 satoshi = 1/100,000,000th BTC.
  • 1 satoshi = 0.00000001 BTC

A satoshi is also one hundreth of a microbitcoin:

  • 1 satoshi = 0,01 µBTC

I personally find the satoshi unit a bit unintuitive, because I have been used to units that neatly subdivide by thousands in the metric system.


That’s it for our overview of Bitcoin currency units, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below if you have remarks or questions.

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