A graphic designer named J P Brenner has proposed that his new, multisided, shape-shifting bitcoin logo – a representation of the dynamic nature of the decentralized money, should be the symbol adopted by the bitcoin community.
The design is the latest development in an ongoing debate in the digital currency community. Years after bitcoin's creation, there still isn't consensus on what bitcoin's logo should be, with many arguing that the classic orange logo no longer suits the technology's goals.
The idea, as explained here, is to represent bitcoin not as a physical item, like money is today, but as something digital and thus more malleable.
Behind the design
Brenner explained his rationale for the design in a lengthy post on his own website. There, he indicated his belief that bitcoin's lack of brand identity is contributing to consumer confusion regarding the technology.
"There is no need to visualize bitcoin as a physical gold coin as we know them today. After all, the bitcoin is about as much of a coin as an MP3, GIF or any other binary file."
As a result, Brenner based his idea off of a shape known as a heptagon, a 7-sided polygon that can create an endless number of forms. He went on to say that the number seven has importance to bitcoin given it's goal of worldwide adoption - there are seven continents, and because the word bitcoin has seven letters.
Feedback on the proposal
Reaction in the bitcoin community toward Brenner's proposal was mixed.
Some, like Jaron Lukasiewicz, CEO of exchange platform Coinsetter, took issue with the design. He told CoinDesk:
"I assume this is just a random person’s thought though and not a real movement."
Others, like Vaughn Blake, the head of marketing and strategy for CoinMKT were more supportive:
"Aesthetically, I'm a big fan, in some strange way it's changing nature gives the image a kind of tangibility. That said, it's too abstract to catch on with the mainstream."
Marshall Hayner, co-founder of Quickcoin, says there isn't a better bitcoin logo design that improves from the original:
"If the idea was to confuse, then I would call Brenner's logo a success. For now, I have yet to see a better logo than the current design."
Reaction on Twitter has been similarly mixed.
— Jordan Semar (@jordansemar) April 22, 2014
Bitcoin's current logo
The current logo for BTC, which is used in storefronts and at point-of-sale systems around the world, has been used for some time now. The problem that has emerged, however, is that the logo is not in unicode, which makes it difficult to translate across different fonts.
A proposal to use ‘Ƀ’ for the bitcoin symbol has been floated since it does work well as an existing unicode symbol.
Companies such as ATM manufacturer Lamassau already use it, and it doesn't require getting Unicode Consortium approval for acceptance; it just needs consensus.
In fact, using Brenner's design as bitcoin's logo leads to a problem in that it's more of a design than a usable symbol in text.
Even if a shape-shifting logo were suitable for bitcoin, the digital currency would still need some kind of representation in font form.
So, what's the best logo for bitcoin over the long haul?