Bitcoin News: Bitcoin Symbol and Code to Be Standardised soon

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The Bitcoin Foundation’s Financial Standards Working Group has shed new light on its priorities for the next six months, announcing it will attempt to standardise bitcoin’s code, currency symbol and subunits over that period.

The group’s formal plan of action follows its first emergence as an unnamed standards committee this June, when a post on the Bitcoin Foundation community forum called for volunteers for the initiative.

The Bitcoin Foundation framed the group as one that will seek to smooth bitcoin’s path to mainstream adoption by creating commonly accepted symbols for bitcoin as a currency and ensuring the digital currency’s compliance with international standards.

Emphasizing this position, Bitcoin Foundation executive director Jon Matonis said: “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.”

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The first task for the foundation will be to apply for ISO 4217 approval, which would lead to an industry-approved bitcoin currency code. ISO codes are a global standard for banking and business, and compliance would more closely integrate bitcoin, enabling “more fluid transactions and currency conversions”.

The current code, BTC, does not comply with ISO 4217, which requires the first letter used in global commodities to be ‘X’. For example, gold is classified as XAU. Emerging supranational currencies like the euro are also classified with an X, so the precursor to the euro used the XEU code. The group will also seek to create a Unicode-approved bitcoin symbol, an issue that has long been debated by the bitcoin community.

Without a Unicode symbol, there is no option for displaying a symbol in a standard computer typeface. While seemingly small, many community members have argued that the issue could hinder long-term adoption, as both online and print media are forced to use non-standard workarounds.

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The working group is run by volunteers and headed by NASA veteran Beth Moses, who has previously helped standardise and test extravehicular interfaces for the International Space Station. Moses is currently designing and building equipment and facilities for Virgin Galactic – flights for which are already on sale for BTC. Or is it XBT?

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