A proposal to add the bitcoin “B” to the Unicode computing character standard was accepted this week.
Members of the Consortium include Apple, Google, Huawei, Microsoft, Oracle and a variety of other institutional and individual contributors. The organization was not immediately available for comment when reached.
Shirriff’s 14-page proposal was the second to be considered by the Unicode Committee, and brings to a close a process that began in fits and starts as far back as 2011.
Submitted in March of that year, the first proposal, entered by Sander van Galoven of the Netherlands, was ultimately turned down by the committee.
According to committee minutes published at the time, the 2011 proposal was rejected on the grounds "that the use of the bitcoin symbol in (running) text" had not been demonstrated and because Bitcoin.org was using the symbol as a logo.
In 2014, the Bitcoin Foundation began putting together a working group to develop a Unicode proposal, though no submission developed as a result of that process. The Foundation would later endorse Shirriff’s proposal.
In an interview with CoinDesk, Shirriff said that he saw a need for a submission that drew from an understanding of how exactly the Unicode Consortium goes about approving proposals, explaining:
He cited contributions from volunteers on the bitcoin subreddit as well as the Bitcoin Talk forum for providing sufficient evidence to back the proposal, citing the need to establish its common use as a text icon. He also pointed to past experience with the Unicode Committee in getting a symbol from an obscure character set approved as a result of restoration work on a 1960s IBM mainframe.
From here, the approved proposal is set to be enshrined in a future Unicode standard release, meaning that eventually the symbol can be used on almost any computer.
The Consortium’s latest version, Unicode 9, is scheduled to be published sometime next year.
Bitcoin symbol image via Shutterstock
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.
Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.