Cryptocoin Guides

What’s the difference between XBT and BTC?

Why does bitcoin have two abbreviations?

When people in the currency circle see ETH, they all know it is ethereum, but the symbols of bitcoin are different on different platforms. Most platforms use BTC, while bitmex USES XBT, and COBE USES XBT for bitcoin futures.

First of all, these two symbols represent bitcoin, there is no doubt about this, so you should not recognize XBT in the future, but these two symbols are not in accordance with international standards.

Before Bitcoin hit the mainstream, the only existing Bitcoin ticker was BTC (the logical shorthand that doesn’t raise any additional questions). As mentioned above, the BTC ticker was created by Bitcoin’s elusive creator Satoshi Nakamoto, so there was no need to come up with another variant — everyone perfectly understands what BTC is.

So, what is XBT? When the popularity of the flagship currency started skyrocketing (along with its price), there was a need for a currency code, but the problem was that the ‘BTC’ ticker name actually violated the ISO 4217 standard. According to these rules, the first two letters of the currency symbol are supposed to represent the country (case in point: USD where ‘US’ stands for the United States). When it comes to Bitcoin, there was an issue with Bhutan — the ngultrum (BTN), the country’s national currency, created roadblocks given that its very first letters coincide with that of Bitcoin.

Where did XBT come from? Special codes are also given in ISO 4217, including the code for “supranational” currencies in use in many countries, the code for programs, and the code for quasi-currencies, such as the precious metal codes gold (XAU), silver (XAG), palladium (XPD), and platinum (XPT), which are composed of their element symbols with the prefix “X”. The same is true of supranational currencies such as the eastern Caribbean dollar (XCD), the Pacific franc (XPF), the central African franc (XAF) and the west African franc (XOF). The reason for using X in these codes is to avoid conflicts with the currency code of a future country. Since bitcoin is also similar to a supra-national currency, some people use this rule to define the bitcoin abbreviation as XBT.

Both BTC and XBT do not meet the requirements of ISO4217, so COBE USES XBT while CME USES BTC. Code inconsistency can sometimes cause problems, so daofu believes that when bitcoin has a unified name, it will be really popular. In the future, there may be a third bitcoin acronym, which is the only way to formalize bitcoin

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