Bitcoin denominations: Know your Satoshis from Millibits, Centibits and Decibits

Bitcoins can be divided into smaller denominations, such as the Finney

Representation of a Bitcoin divided into smaller Satoshi denominations                                 
There are different denominations of Bitcoin with the smallest being the Satoshi – Photo: Shutterstock


Even after a cryptocurrency bear market became established and the price of Bitcoin briefly fell below $20,000 for the first time in more than 18 months, BTC  is still pretty expensive. So, if you want to buy into the world’s largest crypto, do you have any options other than to shell out around $21,000 (as of 21 June 2022) to get some BTC?

Well, yes, you do. And it isn’t just a case of buying random fractions of the coin, either. There are some recognised denominations, some official, some not so official, that are used when it comes to dividing Bitcoin. Let’s take a look at them.

The Satoshi

Probably the most important, and probably the most official, denomination of Bitcoin is the Satoshi. The Satoshi, which is named after the pseudonymous founder of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, represents 0.00000001 BTC or, in other words, there are 100 million Satoshi to the Bitcoin.

Part of the reason for the Satoshi existing is that, because the value of bitcoin has, ultimately, risen pretty substantially, there has been a need to divide the original BTC considerably. For instance, if you are being charged fees for a transaction, it makes things a little more manageable to say that you are being charged two Satoshi rather than 0.00000002 BTC. 

Now, while the Satoshi is the only official denomination of Bitcoin, there are other terms that are used for divisions of the crypto. It is, however, worth pointing out that, while a lot of these names are in common use, they aren’t, for want of a better word, official.

Finneys, Bits, Millibits, Centibits and Decibits

For instance, the Finney, named after the computer scientist and Bitcoin pioneer Hal Finney, is worth 0.0000001 BTC, or 10 millionths of a Bitcoin. A Finney is, basically, worth 10 Satoshis.

Meanwhile, we have the Bit, or Microbitcoin, which is worth a millionth of a Bitcoin, which means that it is, in effect, worth 100 Satoshis or 10 Finneys.

There is also the Millibit, which is worth a thousandth of a Bitcoin, or 1,000 Bits, or 10,000 Finneys, or 100,000 Satoshis. The Millibit is also known as the Millibitcoin, the Millicoin or the Millie.

Likewise, there is the Centibit. This is worth a hundredth of a Bitcoin or 1,000,000 Satoshis. There is also the Decibit, which is worth a tenth of a Bitcoin, or 10 million Satoshis. 

Final thoughts

It is very important to remember that, when it comes to Bitcoin, only the Satoshi is really recognised by the – for want of a better word – organisation behind the crypto, whereas the other subdivisions of BTC have been – again, for want of a better word – created by the overall Bitcoin users and traders community. That does not mean that there is anything wrong with them as such, but it does mean that you probably won’t see them used as often as Satoshis when it comes to splitting BTC into subdivisions.

It is also worth pointing out that most exchanges will let you exchange your other crypto and fiat currencies for however much BTC they are worth. Nevertheless, the denominations of Bitcoin can be useful for splitting what is, even after its recent losses, an expensive crypto into more manageable parts.

Either way, before you think of buying however many BTC it is that you are thinking of buying, you will need to do your own research, remember prices can go down as well as up, and never invest more money than you can afford to lose. 

Further reading

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