Satoshi as the smallest unit of Bitcoin

2 min readApr 24, 2022

What is Satoshi?

Although the price of 1 Bitcoin today makes it appear unsuitable for smaller value payments, “1 Bitcoin” is really an artificial construct created for the convenience of the (early) user. Each “1 Bitcoin” that we think of today is a representation of 100,000,000 satoshis, which are the base unit in the system.

There are currently ~2000 satoshis per $1USD, which means that even very low payments can be made with Bitcoin itself today. If you want to make(even smaller) micro-payments — less than $0.01USD — then you can use the Lightning network. Imagine a user that wants to buy a small item like coffee using bitcoin, it’s easier for the seller to say it costs 1 satoshi compare to 0.00000001 BTC. It’s better to transact smaller values in satoshi because it is convenient for users and helps to avoid errors in making transfers in the smaller denominations.

Where Did the Name Satoshi Come From?

In late 2008, the bitcoin whitepaper was published by an anonymous person (or persons) called Satoshi Nakamoto. A few months later Satoshi released v0.1 of the software. Satoshi as a unit of bitcoin was named after this publisher. There are other subdivisions of a satoshi, lesser than a Satoshi, for example, the millisatoshi. It represents one-thousandth of a Satoshi, usable on the Lightning Network and not the main Bitcoin network. The Lightning Network is a layer 2 created to address the bitcoin scalability issue.

Understanding Satoshi

Satoshi promotes the division of bitcoin making retail shopping for small items feasible and readable for people. A satoshi represents one hundred millionths of a bitcoin. For Crypto novices or smaller investors who find it expensive to invest in one bitcoin or more, Satoshi makes it convenient for them to participate without feeling intimidated. Being able to break up Bitcoin transactions into smaller denominations, they become easier to read and understand. The general unit structure of bitcoins is as follows:

1 Satoshi = 0.00000001 ฿

10 Satoshi = 0.00000010 ฿

100 Satoshi = 0.00000100 ฿

1,000 Satoshi = 0.00001000 ฿

10,000 Satoshi = 0.00010000 ฿

100,000 Satoshi = 0.00100000 ฿

1,000,000 Satoshi = 0.01000000 ฿

10,000,000 Satoshi = 0.10000000 ฿


Many cryptocurrencies use denominations specific to their preferences. It’s crucial that Bitcoin is divisible as this will make it possible for everyday use when paying transaction fees, or when completing micropayments.

I hope this helps understand Satoshi. If you find this post useful, do share it with your friends on Facebook & Twitter!