BitCoin Wiki (Transactions) states:

...1 BTC = 100,000,000 Satoshi...

Yet BitCoin Wiki (FAQ) states:

..."satoshi"... is smallest denomination currently possible

In the future when the protocol decides to support more decimal places, will the value of "satoshi" change to match the smallest denomination then possible?

Or will the value of "satoshi" fixed at 0.00000001 BTC?


The value of a Satoshi is fixed.

The key word is "currently" (smallest currently possible).

If the divisibility is ever increased, a Satoshi will still be exactly 0.00000001 BTC, even though there exists unit representing an even smaller amount.

There would need to be new names for these new denominations that are even smaller than a Satoshi, but dSatoshi (1/10th of a Satoshi), cSatoshi (1/100th of a satoshi), and mSatoshi (1/1000th of a Satoshi), would likely suffice.

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    dSatoshi? Oh, please... I can't believe you really think the general public won't laugh at such a suggestion... the Bitcoin community needs a serious reality check, this SI madness must stop. – o0'. Jul 2 '12 at 12:31
  • Having to express Satoshis in terms of fractional SI units is a problem I'd like to have. That said, probably restricting to milli and micro would be enough. – Gary Rowe Jul 2 '12 at 14:25
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    Lohoris is right, we won't use dsatoshi, we'll use nBTC, and then move on to pBTC etc. – Meni Rosenfeld Jul 2 '12 at 18:29
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    @Thilo: Yes - if not for actual payment, then at least for notation. Heck, even now I quote figures to finer than satoshi precision. What do you think will happen when a BTC is worth $1M? Also consider tx fees, automated microtransactions, and anything that needs high precision. We can make do with satoshis if we're pressed against a corner, but it's just too limiting. – Meni Rosenfeld Jul 3 '12 at 5:17
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    I'm planning to write a TOR like application with traffic paid in bitcoins. To simplify the accounting code, it internally works with the price in BTC/byte, and that price of the order of pBTC. Of course the prices exposed in the UI will be something bigger, like mBTC/GB. I don't expect satoshis to be too large for actual transactions, but applications will store balances that smaller than a satoshi internally. – CodesInChaos Jul 3 '12 at 10:03

The system is using integers to represent amounts. 1 satoshi is the smallest unit (integer one). The satoshi is the base unit of the protocol (not the bitcoin).

It would be very hard to change this to support more decimals, but it seems also extremely unlikely that the need arises. With 21 millions bitcoins (i.e. 2,100,000,000,000,000 satoshi) in total, there is already a lot of decimal digits to go around.

will the value of "satoshi" fixed at 0.00000001 BTC?

It is more like the other way around, one bitcoin turns out to be 100,000,000 satoshi.

What could happen is that "one bitcoin" becomes too valuable, and you may want to come up with another name for a more convenient amount, say 0.001 BTC.

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    If Bitcoin succeeds it is almost certain the divisibility will be increased eventually. Anyway, the OP didn't ask about technical implementation, rather about names of units. And the answer is that yes, a satoshi will remain 10^-8 BTC. – Meni Rosenfeld Jul 2 '12 at 18:27
  • So it's 2.100 Trillion Satoshi's vs 4 Trillion USD in circulation. I think at one point the base unit has to be changed. We'll see. :) – Flow Jul 1 '13 at 17:12

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