KnCMiner has become the latest bitcoin company to join the ecosystem’s ongoing debate over how bitcoin prices should be displayed.
The Sweden-based bitcoin mining company announced on Twitter today that it will now allow users the option to view bitcoin prices in bits on its KnC Wallet app.
— KNC Miner (@kncminer) August 26, 2014
The news plays into a growing debate on how bitcoin’s value should be expressed in order to best appeal to mainstream consumers.
The price of bitcoin has increased tremendously since bitcoin was introduced five years ago, and as such, early adopters of the digital currency have had to express its values in much smaller units – millibits, microbits or satoshis, for example. 1 BTC is the equivalent of 1,000,000 bits.
As bitcoin has become more and more prominent in the mainstream, some of its users and advocates believe that having a simpler, more comprehensible and more established representation of value could lower the adoption barrier and help put bitcoin skeptics’ fears of price volatility at ease.
The debate began late last year in a post on Reddit, and to date, several major bitcoin companies have voiced their stance on the issue.
BitPay strikes first
Bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik indicated on the BitPay blog that the transition would make displaying prices more intuitive for consumers and users new to bitcoin, saying:
“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, spreadsheets, amount input dialogs and basic, person-person real-world transactions.”
The San Francisco-based bitcoin financial services startup cited its desire to ensure its platform remains user-friendly as a key reason for the move.
Coinbase allows users to choose whether they want to display prices in bits, noting at the time:
“If you want to enable this option on your Coinbase account, simply head over to your Settings page, and change the ‘Bitcoin units’ option to BIT.”
It isn’t just established bitcoin startups that are embracing bits.
For example, QuickCoin launched its social wallet service in May. At the time, it allowed users to display their value in fiat currency or bits, in part to help consumers better utilize bitcoin.
Marshall Hayner, the company’s co-founder said at the time:
“I would often hear ‘I can’t get into bitcoin, that’s way too expensive’, but the reality is that bitcoin is divisible into very tiny amounts.”
Where do you stand on bitcoin’s bits issue? Weigh in below.
Disclaimer: CoinDesk founder Shakil Khan is an investor in BitPay.
Pete Rizzo contributed reporting.
Image via Shutterstock