Say in a few years Bitcoin is where we hope it is, like $1000 or even $10000. In such a scenario one cent is about 1-10 microBitcoins (1 millionth or 0.000001 BTC).

In my experience, attempting to use bitcoins for small transactions (even of order 0.001 BTC) usually either takes a very long time, or just doesn't get processed at all. It thus worries me that BitCoins cannot be used for small transactions which correspond to a big and important part of the economy (e.g. a kid buying a Popsicle, or giving a $1 tip, or buying bigger stuff in third world countries, etc.)

Does anyone has a useful perspective on this issue?

  • You must be rich now Aug 9, 2017 at 6:45

3 Answers 3


The answer is multifaceted.

  1. Microtransactions were not a design goal of Bitcoin. Even if they're not well supported, that's ok.
  2. Off-chain transactions might be used if on-chain microtransactions are too expensive.
  3. There are a few possibilities to implement microtransactions on the blockchain. One such implementation was recently added to bitcionj. Also see this interesting proposal for nondeterministic nanopayments.
  4. Alt chains for microtransactions are a viable solution as well.

TL;DR - it's not a problem.


Currently bitcoin protocol does not suit very well for microtransactions



However, there is some work going on which tries to work around limitations



This is only my view and kind of skirts the question (but not really).

microtransactions between individuals may use the blockchain, but as bitcoin (and others) grow, the services surrounding them will also and the transactions will move off of the blockchain. Look at the current exchanges. There are hundreds of transactions going on at any time. None of them are in the block chain and they shouldn't be. I see it moving this way commercially.

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