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Industry Group Aims to Change Bitcoin Symbol to ‘Ƀ’

(@danielcawrey) | Published on April 9, 2014 at 10:52 BST

An effort to better represent bitcoin as a symbol has been launched.

The Unicode Ƀ symbol has been chosen by a website of industry members as a way to better legitimize bitcoin as a symbol both in print and online media.

It is already an existing Unicode character under the non-profit corporation Unicode Consortium, which describes it as a “latin capital B with stroke” that has the hex Alt +0243.

A number of bitcoin companies already use Ƀ as the symbol to denote bitcoin. They include ZeroBlock, Lamassu and Tip4Commit.

The current bitcoin symbol

Bitcoin has long been denoted as B⃦, however it is not recognized as a Unicode symbol by the Unicode Consortium, which develops such standards.

Logo form of B⃦, a common symbol used today for bitcoin. Source: Bitcoin Wiki
Logo form of B⃦, a common symbol used for bitcoin. Source: Bitcoin Wiki

Having a symbol in Unicode form means it would work in different fonts and formats and would help to better convey the cryptocurrency to the masses in various forms of media.

There has been community discussion to get B⃦ used in conjunction with the Unicode Consortium, with a Bitcoin Wiki resource devoted to it.

However, since the Unicode Consortium already accepts Ƀ, it could be an easier path to adoption since there are no standardization roadblocks in the way.

Differing viewpoints

CoinDesk asked several people in the bitcoin industry their views on the Ƀ symbol – and reactions were mixed. Sean Neville is the chief technology officer of Circle, a company focused on consumer adoption of bitcoin. Neville said:

“I’m not a huge fan of that actual symbol, but I think it’s a pretty neat idea.”

Adam Draper, founder of startup accelerator Boost VC, said that there’s nothing wrong with the bitcoin symbol used today: “What’s wrong with the double dashed B?”

John Light, who organizes cryptocurrency meetups in the San Francisco Bay Area, sees the marketing potential for using something already accepted by the Unicode Consortium:

“I think it’s a good branding move – open source, no currency symbol conflicts, available as a font.”

Community consensus

The community that has developed around bitcoin is what has helped it grow and any decision-making on what bitcoin’s official symbol should be will require its direction.

The abbreviation BTC has been adopted as a simple, yet unofficial acronym for bitcoin. And the ISO 4217 standard has taken steps towards making XBT an official currency code, even though many, like the IRS, still don’t consider bitcoin a currency.

Setting standards for bitcoin are important to maintaining its legitimacy, but a consensus on this particular subject of bitcoin’s Unicode symbol has not been made yet.

So, what’s the right choice - B⃦ or Ƀ? Share your views in the comments below.

BrandingLamassuTip4CommitUnicodeZeroBlock

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