A satoshi is the smallest unit of a bitcoin. It equals one-hundred-millionth of a bitcoin or 0.00000001 BTC. As such, one bitcoin equals 100 million satoshi. The satoshi was named as an homage to the anonymous creator or creators behind Bitcoin
, Satoshi Nakamoto
. The satoshi is often abbreviated as sat.
It’s necessary for a currency to be able to be divided into smaller subdivisions if it aims to act as a global medium of exchange. Fiat currencies
can be divided into smaller denominations, such as the penny for the British pound or the cent for the US dollar. Bitcoin
, as a digital currency, can also be divided into smaller denominations.
As defined by the Bitcoin
protocol, a single bitcoin can’t be divided further than 1 satoshi. All amounts on the blockchain are denominated in satoshi but are typically converted to bitcoin by most platforms. However, when considering small fractions of a bitcoin, many platforms will display the value in satoshi for easy readability.
Although the satoshi is the smallest unit a single bitcoin can be divided into, some scenarios may require further division of a satoshi. Payment channels
, for example, a scalability solution for Bitcoin, may sometimes be denominated in millisatoshi, amounting to one hundred billionths of a single bitcoin. In theory, if needed, the Bitcoin protocol could be updated in the future to allow for further subdivision of a bitcoin.
Traditionally, the plural of satoshi has also been satoshi; however, satoshis is also correct and widely used. As of yet, no currency symbol has been widely adopted for the satoshi.
Other units of denomination of a bitcoin also exist. Most of them are used very scarcely, but some commonly used ones are: