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Crypto Exchanges Urged to Switch to Satoshis as Bitcoin Grows

4 mins
Updated by Leila Stein
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In Brief

  • Since August 2020, the price of bitcoin (BTC) has gone from around $10,000 to around $49,000.
  • This is great, but also makes bitcoin seem inaccessible to most.
  • Pricing in SATS has a psychological benefit, especially for new investors.
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Since August 2020, the price of Bitcoin (BTC) has gone from around $10,000 to around $49,000. It peaked at over $62,000 in April 2021.

This might be great news for the sector as it demonstrates investor confidence and bitcoin’s strength as a currency. However, it also makes bitcoin seemingly too expensive and inaccessible for most people.

Fortunately, there is a solution to this — implementing the Satoshi (SATS) Standard — to increase widespread adoption of BTC.

This isn’t a major paradigm shift or the creation of another altcoin or another variant of bitcoin. Instead, the Satoshi (SATS) Standard is a way of measuring BTC in much smaller units.

SATS are easier to understand, and therefore purchase. There have been calls for exchanges to adopt and implement this approach for years.

In May 2021, prominent cryptocurrency investor, trader, and billionaire, Mike Novogratz used Twitter to encourage crypto exchanges to adopt and implement the Satoshi (SATS) Standard. 

“It is time to switch to Satoshis.  Too many people tell me that $58,000 BTC is too expensive.  Which exchange will be first to quote in SATS?”

Acting on Novogratz’s call to adopt SATS

Shortly after, several exchanges offered SATS for users when buying, selling, and exchanging BTC. This move was welcomed across the cryptocurrency community. AAX, an institutional-grade cryptocurrency exchange, was one of the first to offer BTC to SATS balance conversions. 

On August 25, 2021, AAX expanded this offering. It provided a separate SATS-USDT market with a minimum trade of $0.1.

The exchange is making it more accessible to a much wider community of crypto traders, investors, and 1.7 billion people worldwide who have little to no access to the financial system, known as the unbanked.

Access to traditional finance (bank accounts, savings, credit, and insurance) is something world leaders, the IMF, governments, banks, and global non-profit organizations have been trying to solve for decades. Cryptocurrency and exchanges could solve all of these problems.

However, there needs to be a much wider level of knowledge and understanding. Crypto itself needs to become more open to this enormous potential user base. This is where the Satoshi (SATS) Standard could play an important role. 

“I urge crypto exchanges and payment systems to pay attention to popularize the new standard as soon as possible, as this is the only real way we counter the idea that the bitcoin ship has sailed and it’s only for the rich,” Toya Zhang,  Deputy COO of AAX, says. 

Other exchanges get on board

Several other exchanges started to offer this feature, following Novogratz’s call to adopt SATS. On Twitter, he tagged Binance, Coinbase, and FTX, so they could hardly ignore a public push to implement this change. As these are amongst the market leaders, it should naturally follow that others take a similar step. 

Other exchanges, such as Bitfinex and OKcoin, also offer Satoshi as an option for users on their platforms. In most cases, this is a front-end feature rather than a complete trading option. However, with the crypto community being widely positive towards SATS, it is expected this roll-out to continue at a pace across the sector.  

Why is SATS implementation the way forward? 

Whether bitcoin is priced at $10,000 or $100,000, the vast majority of people will never own a whole bitcoin. There are simply not enough of them to go around.

What’s more, houses can be bought for less than the current price of bitcoin. In addition, with only 2.5% global adoption, prices can be reasonably expected to rise much more in the future.

As there are only ever going to be 21 million bitcoin in existence, this makes owning one or more coins impossible for billions of people around the world. 

Until the widespread adoption of this unit of measurement, bitcoin appears to be only for those with a decent amount of money. However, that isn’t the case, as anyone can buy a percentage of a bitcoin for a small sum of money. 

Unfortunately, the general public and those with limited knowledge of cryptocurrencies will see headlines such as “Bitcoin tops $60,000” and assume it’s a rich person’s hobby or investment asset.

Perception has shaped the reality of what people believe about bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The perception is that this is not something for most people. 

At the same time, the perceived inaccessibility of bitcoin has encouraged millions of people to invest in much cheaper and potentially risker altcoins, tokens, and cryptocurrencies.

Hype money, coins, and tokens founded on flimsy or fraudulent principles — including some designed purely to scam people out of hard-earned fiat money — pose a risk to the whole cryptocurrency sector. 

SATS and psychology

With the implementation of SATS, bitcoin can become crypto that everyone can buy, exchange and invest in. Although it doesn’t change the value of bitcoin, it does make it seem psychologically cheaper, and therefore, more accessible. 

For example, paying in SATS, the price of a cup of coffee is 10,000 SATS (or 0.0001BTC). For $100, users can purchase 212,000 SATSrather than 0.00212 BTC. This instantly sounds better for those wanting to buy into bitcoin. 

“Of course, in addition to this market and balance switch, we also understand the need to expand the Lighting Network to simplify deposits and withdrawals and bring down associated fees, but AAX is taking the first step in this direction today — offering to buy SATS in the amount of 10 cents or more without commission,” as AAX’s Zhang concluded.

On AAX, SATS are expected to chart their own unique price fluctuations, creating a local market for them within the context of wider bitcoin price movements.

With the adoption of SATS, the sector has a chance to expand rapidly beyond crypto insiders, investors, and enthusiasts. Bitcoin will finally align with the original vision, which is an alternative currency available for everyone.

The implementation of SATS could play an important role in bringing the unbanked into the financial system. This would serve the overall good of humanity and developing countries.

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Julia Magas
Julia is a researcher and journalist who covers the latest trends in finance and technology. Her works are featured by popular fintech magazines, including Investing, SeekingAlpha, Cointelegraph and Bitcoinist.