In effort to help standardize bitcoin and the bitcoin protocol, the Bitcoin Foundation has announced that the Financial Standard Working Group is well underway, led by Chairperson Beth Moses of Virgin Galactic (and formerly with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration).
The group’s priorities for the fourth quarter of this year into the first quarter of next year will be to apply for ISO 4217. In other words, the group is working to establish and get approval for a bitcoin currency code. They are looking to adopt “XBT”, despite the fact that “BTC” is more commonly used in the community.
From today’s news release:
[blockquote style=”2″]The first task of the Financial Standards Working Group will be to apply for ISO 4217 approval for a Bitcoin currency code. Obtaining an internationally recognized currency code for Bitcoin will enable more fluid international transactions and currency conversion. ISO 4217 is the International Standard for currency codes and currencies are traditionally represented as a 3-letter alphabetic code. Currently, BTC is the leading candidate as it is in common use globally. However, ISO 4217 standards expect a leading letter “X” for global commodities like gold (XAU) and emergent supranational currencies like the precursor to the Euro (XEU). To this effect, some leading foreign exchange tools and services have already adopted the leading code “XBT” such as Xe.com, Oanda and Bloomberg. [/blockquote]
“Standardization is an important step towards removing obstacles for mainstream adoption — this is especially true with a technology for financial innovation that is global in reach,” said Jon Matonis, Executive Director of the Foundation.
One of the other major things the group is working on is selecting a unicode symbol for bitcoin. We have $ for the U.S. Dollar, and € for the Euro, but ultimately, what will bitcon’s symbol be?
As of right now, variations of ฿ are commonly used, and Ƀ is growing in popularity. The group will “deploy a consensus based process for reaching an agreement” on the matter.
The topic of bitcoin subunits is also being discussed, in order to help standardize how fractions of bitcoins are presented uniformly around the world.
Full disclosure: I was previously chosen as a member of the Financial Standards Working Group, though in the interest of remaining objective, have not recently taken part in discussions.