A couple of linked questions really. Firstly, let's say BTC is worth $50k US, that means to purchase your groceries might be 0.002BTC. A sandwich might be 0.0000598. Has a system already been proposed to have better units? With 1 US cent equating to 0.000002BTC could we ever have precision issues?

Secondly, with a hard limit of 21 million BTC and a world population of 8bn, we're talking each person on average could own around .0025BTC. Which at current market cap, is about $100 US. By contrast there's approx $40tn US in regular cash, about 40-60X the market cap of BTC if I didn't make a silly mistake (and depending the value the day you read this).

Doesn't this imply that for BTC to be a real-world currency, it's already large value must end up more like $2m US per coin. At which point your $2.99 sandwich is going to cost 0.000001495 and we're needing 9 decimal places for accurate accounting to the equivalent of one US cent today.

As a newcomer to this world, how does BTC plan to work around these issues to be a practical everyday currency? Is it a trivial thing, or actually a problem?

1 Answer 1


Today 1 US dollar is 0.000027 BTC which is 2,700 Satoshi So one US cent is 27 Satoshi

When was the last time you purchased something with a total transaction value of one cent?

If Bitcoin's value increases as you say then there will be a need for a smaller unit. I think the Lightning Network can already have transactions measured in millisatoshi - a thousand times smaller.

So, It isn't a major problem.

It isn't especially unusual for the major unit of a currency to have a high value. For example the UK currency known as the pound sterling was created in the early Anglo-Saxon period one and a half millennia ago and was essentially a pound weight of silver. That represented a huge amount of money at the time, enough to buy several thousand chickens or a hundred knives at a time when ordinary people could probably afford few of either.

Related questions:

  • I haven't purchased for 1c for a long time, but I frequently buy things where the number of cents is not a multiple of 5/10. e.g. buying gas, or things which are $0.99c. To how many decimal places is BTC stored, I'm assuming more than 9 :) edit: oh your link mentions we have 1^8 integral subdivisions
    – Mr. Boy
    Commented Jun 1, 2021 at 14:03
  • Indeed, at the protocol level "1 BTC" doesn't exist. It is all represented as multiples of satoshis (each being equal to 0.00000001 BTC). Commented Jun 1, 2021 at 17:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.