How Many Bits Are in a Bitcoin?

a bunch of physical bitcoins

There are 1 million bits in 1 bitcoin.

1 bit = 1 microbitcoin = 1 μBTC = 0.000001 bitcoin (BTC)

The term “bit” is a popular new unit being used to represent smaller Bitcoin amounts. Due to the rising value of 1 bitcoin (currently 1 BTC = $450 USD), many prices must be displayed in fractional bitcoin amounts. For example, a bottle of beer might be priced at .0085 BTC. These fractional numeric values can be confusing and difficult for many people to read. The bit sub-unit (equal to 0.000001 BTC) is considered by many to be a more memorable and intuitive way of displaying Bitcoin amounts; the aforementioned beer would cost 8500 bits.

Originally proposed on Bitcoin the sub-reddit, and now being embraced by the payment processor Bitpay, the bit sub-unit offers the following advantages:

  • More compatible with existing financial software that can only handle 2 decimal places. For example: using a figures like 49.99 bits instead of .00004999 bitcoins.

  • Figures would remain easily readable in the event of an extreme rise in Bitcoin’s exchange rate: if 1 Bitcoin was worth $100,000, then a $4.99 beer would cost 49.90 bits.

  • Bit is an easier to remember unit when compared to other longer unit names and acronyms: 100 bits instead of 100 microbitcoins/100 μBTC/1 millibitcoin/1 mBTC).

However, there are some disadvantages to the bits nomenclature:

  • Can be confused with the binary unit “bit” in computing, or the old-fashioned US currency unit of “bit”, which is 12.5 cents.

  • Unit prefix terms such as micro-, milli-, and centi- are more familiar to those who use the metric measurement system (i.e. everyone except Americans).

How to Convert Bitcoins to Bits

1 bit is equal to 0.000001 bitcoin. So converting a bitcoin amount to bits can be done by dividing the bitcoin amount by .000001. For instance:

42.66 bitcoins ÷ .000001 = 42,660,000 bits

To go from bits back to bitcoins, multiply the bits amount by .000001:

42,660,000 bits × .000001 = 42.66 bitcoins

How to Convert a National Currency Price to a Bits Price

To convert national currency to the bits unit, you first need to know the exchange rate. In this example, we’ll use the current BTC/USD exchange rate of 1 bitcoin being worth $450 USD. Multiply $450 by .000001 to determine how 1 bit is worth:

$450 × .000001 = $.00045

So 1 bit is worth $.00045. What if we wanted to convert a price like $9.99 to bits? Just divide the price by the current bits exchange rate:

$9.99 / $.00045 = 22,200 bits

A Short List of the Major Bitcoin Units

Abbreviation Common Name Formal Name Units in BTC
BTC bitcoin bitcoin 1 BTC
mBTC millibitcoin 0.001 BTC
µBTC bit microbitcoin 0.000001 BTC
satoshi satoshi 0.00000001 BTC

See Bitcoin Units on the Bitcoin Wiki for a full list of units.