What Is a Satoshi, the Smallest Unit on the Bitcoin Blockchains

From paying for pizza with satoshi (SAT) on the Lightning Network to the 10,000 satoshis being added to the Lightning Torch each time it is passed, down to the 1 sat/byte rate on the bitcoin SV network, SAT is being used more and more in blockchain and crypto conversations.

The satoshi is the smallest unit that is recorded on the bitcoin blockchains: One satoshi represents a decimal, seven zeros and a 1, followed by any of the bitcoin tickers — i.e., bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin SV (BSV) or bitcoin cash (BCH). In other words, 0.00000001 or  1.0 *108, in scientific notation.

SAT is becoming more common in day-to-day blockchain and cryptocurrency conversations. Bitcoin mining software like HoneyMiner pay your mining reward in SAT, #StackingSats is a hashtag used frequently on Twitter, and the Lightning Torch was accounted for in satoshis — just to name a few instances of the word being used.

But many — especially those who are new to blockchain and cryptocurrency — may be seeing these current events that involve the SAT and asking themselves “What is a satoshi!?”

What is satoshi, and who created satoshi?

When we say “satoshi,” we actually are not referring to Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin. However, the satoshi we refer to similarly goes back to the early days of bitcoin and the BitcoinTalk forum.

It all began on Nov. 15, 2010, when BitcoinTalk user Ribuck proposed that 1/100 of a bitcoin (0.01 BTC) — the smallest unit that could be displayed on the interface, at the time — be called a satoshi. Although Ribuck made this proposal, none of the other users on the BitcoinTalk forum affirmed or denied his proposal. This may have been because the thread at hand was a poll where voting took place regarding the best Unicode character for bitcoin, which has nothing to do with units of account and, therefore, may have made Ribuck’s comment look out of place.

However, when Ribuck joined in on Unicode thread, he entered with a question:

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