On April 2, Coinbase announced the launch of 3 new improvements to the option introduced in 2014. The feature allowed to display Coinbase users’ bitcoin amounts in bits, the smaller versions of bitcoins’ full BTC units:
“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.”
According to the company, new Coinbase users will have the bits as the default, and those customers who already use Coinbase can switch on/off this option on the settings page.
The above-mentioned improvements are already available to web users; Coinbase promises to make them live in mobile apps in the coming weeks.
1 bit = 0.00025 USD – this is not practical, and introduces the decimal places we’re trying to avoid;
$1 USD = 4,005 bits – this is ok, but it introduces the slightly unintuitive property that the number going down means bitcoin is doing better;
1,000 bits = $0.25 – this is probably the best I’ve seen.
As for the changes themselves, the first one regards rounding balances to the nearest whole bit. According to the company, it’ll make easier for users to read and scan their transaction lists. $5.00 in bits would be 20,010.47, but will be shown as 20,010 bits on Coinbase. Surely, in case the bits option is enabled. To see the full value, users just need to hover over the amount.
The second improvement is lining up decimal points on list of transactions. Numbers are going to be right aligned.
“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,” states the company’s blog.
And the last and most pleasant change is giving away free bits to new users. The amount given for free is 100 bits or about 2 cents:
“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.”
To prevent fraud, users may need to verify a phone number before the bits will be transfered.