Are The Bitcoin Symbols ‘XBT’ & ‘BTC’ Different?

Spoiler: No, XBT is not different from BTC. These two symbols are used synonymously to refer to ‘Bitcoin’.

But I think only knowing the spoiler information is not enough, and it is my duty on CoinSutra to tell you everything important surrounding Bitcoin.

So right now, we are going to talk about Bitcoin’s ticker symbol – i.e. BTC (aka XBT).

I am sure some of you might be thinking:

  • Why do we need two ticker symbols?

To answer this, let’s remember that Bitcoin is not a sovereign currency, meaning it is not a national currency produced by any specific entity.

It exists with no single point of origin.

And being nationless and identity-less is what makes it decentralized. This is what takes it out of the control of anyone. But this brings a few challenges…

One of those challenges is how and what to name it.

It’s just like having a type of food that goes by different names in different countries or different communities. This happens because there is no standard procedure for naming.

Similarly, Bitcoin, being decentralized, is called by two different abbreviated names (i.e BTC and XBT) because there is no one in charge to set naming standards.

But the interesting thing is that even the founder of Bitcoin (Satoshi Nakamoto) didn’t give an abbreviation to Bitcoin. I believe he did this purposely so that the community could have full control over the coin.

Also, Satoshi mentioned the word “Bitcoin” only twice in Bitcoin’s white paper. He did this because it’s not the name that matters but rather the overall concept.

Why Is It Called BTC?

Bitcoin is called BTC because it makes logical sense – the acronym follows the sound of the name.

So this has been the prevailing Bitcoin symbol.

But now, some have also started using the symbol XBT.

Let’s see why…

Why Is It Called XBT?

The popular ticker name ‘BTC’ violates ISO 4217, and as according to this standard, it goes against the currency of Bhutan.

What?! What does Bhutan have to do with this?!

According to ISO 4217, which defines rules for national currencies and their nomenclatures and also non-government-backed assets such as Gold (XAU) and Silver (XAG), the first 2 letters of the 3 letter character should denote the country code and the last letter should denote the initial letter of the national currency.

For example…

  • CNY (Chinese Yuan) – China (CN) and its national currency Yuan
  • JPY (Japanese Yen) – Japan (JP) and its national currency Yen
  • USD (United States Dollar) – United States (US) and its national currency Dollar
  • CND (Canadian Dollar) – Canada (CN) and its national currency Dollar
  • INR (Indian Rupee) – India (IN) and its national currency Rupee

So “BTC” conflicts with Bhutan’s currency which is BTN (Bhutanese Ngultrum).

That’s why some use the alternative ticker name “XBT”.

Here is a screenshot from a popular exchange BitMEX where XBT sign is used to denote Bitcoin:

Exchanges Using Symbol XBT

Some exchanges use XBT, but not all. Also, most merchants are still referring to Bitcoin as BTC.

A couple of exchanges that I know of using XBT are:

The Confusion (XBT or BTC)

One of the main reasons for talking about this topic is to brush off the confusion over Bitcoin’s two ticker symbols. Why?

Because Bitcoin is bigger than its symbols.

Also, some new users in the cryptosphere tend to get confused by XBT and XRP.

Ripple is XRP and Bitcoin is XBT. Don’t get confused.

Also, don’t get trapped in scams or schemes run by people telling you that XBT and BTC are two different currencies. They’re not.

Which Do I Like Better?

If you ask me which symbol I like best, then I would without a doubt say ‘BTC’ because it naturally sounds more like a short form of ‘Bitcoin’ and also contains all the important syllables.

Also, since it goes beyond “traditional” currencies and commodities, I don’t feel it’s important to follow the mold of any international naming standard.

BTC sounds better, looks better, and for my taste, is better.

So that’s all from my side in this article. I hope that clears up some doubts!

Which Bitcoin symbol do you prefer? XBT or BTC? Do you think both are terrible? What would you call the almighty Bitcoin instead? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Here are a few hand-picked educational posts that you should read next:

3 thoughts on “Are The Bitcoin Symbols ‘XBT’ & ‘BTC’ Different?”

  1. If BTC & XBT are the same then why is there such a difference in price in Barchart?

    see below :

    Bitcoin – USD (^BTCUSD)
    16,469.80 -722.40 (-4.20%) 00:17 CT [CRYPTO]

    Gemini 4Pm Bitcoin Auction Price ($XBTS)
    17,285.89 +2,084.32 (+13.71%) 16:00 ET [INDEX-CBOE]

  2. XBT can’t be deposited on Binance so it’s not the same as BTC. Where can XBT be exchanged? I got on itbit but now am concerned that I’m not able to trade into other crypto becuase they itbit only trades XBT

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Howdy, Welcome to the popular cryptocurrency blog CoinSutra. Here at CoinSutra, we write about Bitcoin, wallet management, online security, making money from Bitcoin & various aspects of cryptocurrencies. You can read more about CoinSutra on the “About” page.
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