The topic has been much debated in the community, and according to Garzik, “this is a human interface and technical issue that warrants careful consideration.”
Citing that moving to “bits” would be most compatible with existing financial software, the following is an outline of BitPay’s plan:
- Go to six decimal places, up from 4.
- Drop leading “0.” Prices are now expressed in micro-bitcoins (uBTC or “bits”).
- When necessary, add two decimal places. Probably not necessary for years.
Moving to this convention, Garzik says, will ensure wider compatibility — as there are a good chunk of financial and accounting softwares that may have issues beyond two decimal places.
[blockquote style=”2″]At a higher level, people are more familiar with prices expressed in numbers extending no more than two decimal places. This assumption is built into cash registers, speadsheets, amount input dialogs and basic, person-person real world transactions. Buying a coffee for 0.009123 bitcoins will be strange for many, while 9123 bits less so.[/blockquote]
Garzik explains why BitPay decided against going to mBTC:
[blockquote style=”2″]Moving to milli-bitcoins (mBTC) was another option. That option is less attractive, due these two major factors listed (human expectations, software compatibility). It is also less attractive because use of milli-bitcoins implies further upheaval in the future, when a change to micro-bitcoins is necessitated. Best to make the change once, now, while bitcoin is young.[/blockquote]
BitPay is looking to work with other companies in the bitcoin space to make sure there is a “smooth transition”.
What do you think of the plan?