A Whole Number Notation Scheme For Sub-Decimal Amounts In Bitcoin

Regardless of what wallet software we use, the bitcoin notation standard, i.e., how the numerals appear in your balance, is the primary UX component of our relationship with bitcoin. The punctuation of money, periods and commas, and where they appear in sequence, provide us with critical information regarding our personal wealth and the cost of goods. The notation standard is the drawbridge we must cross every time we interact with money.

In this article I propose a new notation standard for bitcoin which uses commas on the right side of the decimal point, with comma separators at the expected intervals for whole numbers, i.e., every three numerals counting from right to left. While this is a distinct break from customary notation, it instantly conveys the conversion rate between bitcoin and sats, and this is its sole utility.

.03445674 BTC

would be

.03,445,674

A Shift Toward Sats

A confluence of factors are leading to more and more vocal support for denominating bitcoin entirely in sats. As sub-decimal amounts of bitcoin become more and more prevalent in the broader economy, awareness of the satoshi unit is growing. On Lightning, for example, where whole BTC amounts aren’t yet used in production, denominating in sats is a must.