Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Bitcoin Foundation Financial Standards Working Group Leads the Way for Mainstream Bitcoin Adoption

Press Release
The Bitcoin Foundation, Inc.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 7, 2014) — The Bitcoin Foundation (/)’s Financial Standards Working Group is underway with chairperson Beth Moses, an aerospace engineer, formerly with NASA and now with Virgin Galactic, at the helm. The group’s priorities for 2014 Q4 and 2015 Q1 will focus on applying for ISO 4217 approval for a Bitcoin currency code as well as drawing up recommendations for a Bitcoin currency symbol and Bitcoin subunits.

“Standardization is an important step towards removing obstacles for mainstream adoption — this is especially true with a technology for financial innovation that is global in reach,” said Jon Matonis, Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation.

The first task of the Financial Standards Working Group will be to apply for ISO 4217 approval for a Bitcoin currency code. Obtaining an internationally recognized currency code for Bitcoin will enable more fluid international transactions and currency conversion. ISO 4217 is the International Standard for currency codes and currencies are traditionally represented as a 3-letter alphabetic code. Currently, BTC is the leading candidate as it is in common use globally. However, ISO 4217 standards expect a leading letter “X” for global commodities like gold (XAU) and emergent supranational currencies like the precursor to the Euro (XEU). To this effect, some leading foreign exchange tools and services have already adopted the leading code “XBT” such as Xe.com, Oanda and Bloomberg.

Secondly the working group will examine the options for and recommend a Bitcoin currency unicode symbol. A currency symbol (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Currency_symbols) is a graphic symbol used as a shorthand for a currency’s name, especially in reference to amounts of money. Many are familiar with $ for USD, € for Euro and ¥ for Yuan. Currently, the leading symbols for Bitcoin are B , ฿, and Ƀ. The working group will deploy a consensus based process for reaching an agreement for the official currency symbol. In addition, the working group will recommend Bitcoin subunits. In a currency, there is usually a main unit (base), and a subunit that is a fraction of the main unit. Currencies today operate with two decimal spaces to the right ($1.00). In Bitcoin, there are currently eight so one could theoretically pay you 0.00000001 or one hundred-millionth of a Bitcoin. Not only is this confusing for consumers, it does not fit in existing systems and software for accounting practices.

With a shared goal of achieving standardization for mainstream adoption, the volunteer working group of 20 Bitcoin Foundation members is led by volunteer chair Beth Moses, who led the standardization and testing of extravehicular interfaces for the International Space Station while at NASA. Like the International Space Station, Bitcoin is an emerging technology with global implications that requires a shared, basic language in order to enable successful mainstream utilization.

The working group will be hosting roundtable discussions with industry leaders, experts, and stakeholders in the coming weeks.

Follow the foundation blog (../../blog/) or on twitter @BTCFoundation (https://twitter.com/BTCFoundation) for further developments.


ABOUT // Established in July 2012, the Bitcoin Foundation (/) is the world’s first and leading member- driven non-profit digital currency trade organization dedicated to serving the business, technology, government relations, and public affairs needs of the Bitcoin community. The foundation works to protect and standardize the Bitcoin protocol and software, to broaden the use of Bitcoin through public education and by fostering a safe and sane legal and regulatory environment, and to support local Bitcoin efforts by connecting a network of Bitcoin communities worldwide. Think Globally, Act Locally. Join us! (../../join/)

CONTACT // Bitcoin Foundation (/)Jinyoung Lee Englund

Director of Marketing & Communications

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