Almost a year ago we launched an option to see bitcoin amounts in bits in your Coinbase wallet. One bitcoin is equal to 1,000,000 bits, and, like many people, we at Coinbase believe that bits will eventually be the common way people send bitcoin in everyday payments.
Today we’re launching 3 improvements to our bits integration — and in addition, bits will be the default for all new customers signing up. Existing customers can enable (or disable) bits at any time on the settings page.
These changes are live today on web and will be available in our mobile apps in the coming weeks.
1. Rounding to the nearest bit
With the price of bitcoin still sub $1,000 USD, it can be difficult to send everyday amounts of bitcoin whether in BTC or bits right now.
Both of the above use 6 or 7 digits to represent a $5.00 USD payment.
In an effort to make bits more usable, we decided to try rounding bits to the nearest whole bit.
Still not perfect, but at least this makes it a little easier to read (5 digits instead of 7). Your balance and the transactions in your transaction list will now be rounded to the nearest bit which makes the page easier to scan (if you have bits enabled).
If you really want to see those satoshis (or cents) on the end, just hover over any balance or transaction amount to see the full value. And your account statements will always show the full number of digits to keep your accountant happy.
2. Alignment of decimal points
The second thing we did was try to make sure decimal points lined up on lists of transactions. This makes right aligned numbers easier to scan (more digits = larger number).
Rounding to the nearest bit accomplishes this automatically for users who choose bits, but we wanted to fix this for BTC amounts as well. We tried a few versions and ultimately decided to round BTC amounts to 4 decimal places for now.
Amounts less than 0.0001 aren’t very common for most customers today, so in the majority of cases you will see all your decimal places line up now. On the off chance you do receive an amount less than 0.0001 we will show the full number of digits (rather than 0.0000) to make it clear.
3. Giving away free bits
The final change we made was to give away 100 bits for free to every new user. While this isn’t a ton of money, it will help new users get started with something so they can try their first bitcoin transaction immediately.
Our own bitcoin faucet!
(Note that to prevent fraud, you may need to verify a phone number before the bits will be part of your available balance.)
As bitcoin continues to mature, we will keep iterating to ensure Coinbase is easy to use and ready for the future!