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What is the difference between BTC and XBT?

by Crypto Coin Dude
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BTC and XBT

While the majority of exchanges use the ticker symbol BTC for Bitcoin, some use XBT. Exchanges that use XBT include BitMeX and Kraken. This post will explore what the difference between BTC and XBT actually is.


The origins of the BTC ticker

Before Bitcoin went global, its ticker was BTC. This is the logical short hand version of the name.

The BTC ticker was created by Bitcoin’s elusive creator Satoshi Nakamoto, and it worked very well – everyone knew what BTC was – and there was no need to change…until…


XBT and international standards

National currency ticker symbols have been defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in ISO 4217 as: the first two letters designate the country, the third the name of the currency. For example, Japan’s currency code is JPY — JP for Japan and Y for yen.

By contrast, value preservation and transaction funds other than local currencies begin with an X. For example, gold, silver, and platinum have the tick symbols XAU, XAG, and XPT respectively.

The abbreviation ‘XBT’ therefore comes from the ISO: if a currency is not associated with a particular country, it should begin with an “X”, hence ‘XBT’.

In fact, in reflection on ISO, BTC would conflict with Bhutan’s currency which is BTN (Bhutanese Ngultrum)!


BTC and XBT: what’s more accepted

There is no consensus between cryptocurrency exchanges on which Bitcoin ticker should be universally accepted.

Coinbase, a major San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange, uses BTC. Meanwhile, Kraken, a Coinbase competitor, uses XBT.

In fact, if you go to other platforms even more tickers related to Bitcoin can be seen.

On Yahoo Finance, you won’t likely see BTC or XBT. They normally use the NYXBT ticker that represents the NYSE Bitcoin Index created by the New York Stock Exchange back in 2015.


Round up

And that’s the difference between BTC and XBT.

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