In the early days of Bitcoin (BTC), it was easy to buy a whole coin, or even several coins. After all, when Laszlo Hanyecz bought two pizza pies in 2010, he did so with 10,000 BTC. At the time, the Bitcoin price was about 0.004 USD, meaning a dollar would buy you 250 BTC. In the really early days, there was even a faucet which gave out 5 BTC to each unique visitor per day!
But those days are long gone, and with the Bitcoin price hovering above 40,000 USD lately, buying a whole Bitcoin (BTC) just isn’t an option for most people. But what’s the alternative? It’s simpler than you might think, and that’s to buy a fraction of bitcoin. Yes, it’s possible to buy a piece of a BTC, as in less than a whole 1 BTC and, better yet, it’s super easy to do so.
What are Bitcoin fractions?
Just like centralized (or fiat) currency—that is, government-backed currency—is split into different denominations, bitcoin is as well. What do we mean? The US dollar is divided into smaller pieces, whereby a quarter is 0.25 USD, a dime is 0.10 USD, a nickel is 0.05 USD, and a penny is 0.01 USD.
Bitcoin fractions work the same way, with different bitcoin units equal to various pieces of BTC. Of course, Bitcoin units aren’t just fractions of BTC—they also come in larger sizes (just like dollars come in bills of 5, 10, 20, and 100 USD)
So what are some of the bitcoin units that exist, and how much are they worth in relation to 1 BTC?
The smallest unit of Bitcoin
The smallest unit of bitcoin currently available on the main Bitcoin blockchain is the Satoshi. Named after BTC’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, it’s equal to 0.00000001 bitcoin. At a Bitcoin price of 40,000 USD, that’s the equivalent of 0.0004 USD, or one four-hundredth of a cent! Pretty small. It’s unlikely you’ll buy or send just one Satoshi, but the option exists.
If you use the Lightning Network, which is a level 2 network built on top of Bitcoin and designed for sending small values really quickly at super low fees, you’ll notice sub-satoshi amounts. Indeed, the Lightning Network uses millisatoshi – or one thousandth of a satoshi – as its smallest monetary unit. However, as millisatoshis aren’t used on the main Bitcoin network (although in theory, they could be in future) you can’t transfer millisatoshi amounts from Lightning back to your regular Bitcoin wallet.
Hal Finney, the recipient of the first Bitcoin transaction sent by Satoshi Nakamoto, gets the second smallest unit of Bitcoin named after him. It’s 0.0000001 Bitcoin, or 0.001 USD.
Other Bitcoin denominations
From here the names of the Bitcoin denominations get a bit more standard:
MicroBit = 0.000001 BTC, or roughly the equivalent of 0.01 USD
MilliBit = 0.001 BTC, or about 10 USD
CentiBit = 0.01 BTC, about 100 USD
DeciBit = 0.1 BTC, 1000 USD at a BTC price of 10,000 USD
How to buy Bitcoin fractions
What do you do if you want to buy a Bitcoin fraction? Coinmama makes it easy to buy a piece of a Bitcoin, whether it’s a CentiBit, a DeciBit, or another denomination. There’s a minimum order amount of 60 USD, which in Satoshi terms is a whole lot!
Sign up for a Coinmama account. You’ll need to enter your name and email address, a password, and your country of residence.
Get verified for purchase. Add your personal details as well as a copy of your ID and a selfie of yourself holding that ID. This helps us know you’re really you, and keeps your account safe. Once you’ve uploaded documents, our verification team will review your application and can approve you in as little as 15 minutes.
Choose how much you want to buy. Do you want to buy a tenth of a Bitcoin a hundredth of a Bitcoin or something else? Decide on the amount and click buy, or choose one of our packages.
Enter your wallet address. If you don’t already have a Bitcoin wallet address, you can learn more about how to create one here. Once you’ve entered your payment details, you’ll receive an email asking you to confirm your wallet address. Make sure to check that it’s correct!
Enter your payment details. Choose credit/debit card or bank transfer, and enter your details.
WOOOHOOO!! Your Bitcoin is on its way!
Ready for your very own fraction of a Bitcoin? You can, of course, buy a whole one, but if you’re not ready to take the plunge, sign up for Coinmama today to get started with a piece of a Bitcoin.