1

If not, what are the prevailing critiques and concerns of that design choice?

2

Like most of these internal choices in the Bitcoin system, it's not really explained by the author and can't be easily changed even if anybody had a strong objection to it. Internally all values are 64 bit integers, and just displayed to the user as value / 1e8.

bitcoin 0.1

The original wxBitcoin releases displayed two decimal places of precision.

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