No, You Don’t Have to Buy a Whole Bitcoin
“How much is bitcoin?”
“Well, that’s too expensive. I can’t afford that.”
It’s a conversation that has surely happened thousands of times over the past several months as a new swarm of people find themselves enchanted by the cryptocurrency space and its tremendous gains.
And it reveals not only a misunderstanding, but also a psychological barrier that many face stepping into the scene for their first time.
Since so much emphasis is placed on how much “one” bitcoin is worth across the industry, new users often come in thinking that if they want to participate, they’ll have to fork over tens of thousands of dollars to buy a whole bitcoin.
But actually, that isn’t the case – it’s possible to buy a half of a bitcoin, a quarter of a bitcoin or even a fraction of a percent of a bitcoin.
Yet, that’s not always clear to new people entering the market, and many believe that’s why a handful of altcoins – including dogecoin and dentacoin, both of which recently reached market caps of more than $1 billion – are seeing a pump in their price, as they offer an affordable way to get into the cryptocurrency markets in whole units.
And this confusion is (partly) why developer Jimmy Song argues some standardization should occur in what the industry calls smaller units of bitcoin.
Toward this goal, Song released a standards proposal that seeks to express one one-millionth of a bitcoin (about one cent at today’s prices) as a “bit.” And he’s nudging wallet providers, exchanges and other bitcoin businesses to support the proposal.
If widely adopted, he hopes it will put an end to this confusion, and make new crypto users more apt to purchase bitcoin, if even in tiny amounts, instead of cryptocurrencies that he thinks might come back to bite them, since many of the cheap altcoins don’t have much technical merit to back them up.