Upcoming proposal for Bitcoin sign

Ken Shirriff ken.shirriff at gmail.com
Mon Sep 7 11:26:59 CDT 2015

On Sun, Sep 6, 2015 at 10:10 PM, Martin J. Dürst <duerst at it.aoyama.ac.jp>

> Hello Ken,
> You write "The bitcoin sign and baht symbol are two unrelated symbols that
> have some visual similarity.", but don't really give any supporting
> information for that claim.

Thanks for your comments, Martin. Asmus Freytag gave a detailed response,
but I'd like to add a few things.

The bitcoin sign is unrelated to the baht in origin. The bitcoin sign was
first used in an icon replacing
the software's "BC" logo with the bitcoin sign logo, showing the roots of
the bitcoin sign are the letter B. There's no historical connection to the
baht, unlike the multiple uses of $ which are historically related.

The baht sign and the bitcoin sign are viewed as two distinct symbols by
most of the Bitcoin community. Evidence for this is the bitcoin.org forum,
which implemented a special mechanism to insert the bitcoin sign in text.
This was done because the baht sign are bitcoin sign are considered
different by the community. If the bitcoin sign were considered
interchangeable with ฿, it would have been much easier to just use ฿.
Other evidence is the development of special fonts to display the bitcoin

I believe (based on my reading) that the Thai community views the baht sign
and the bitcoin sign as two distinct symbols. I have never seen the bitcoin
sign used to represent baht (except one case widely viewed as a mistake
As a thought experiment, consider a font that rendered the baht sign with
the bitcoin glyph. I expect this would be extremely unpopular in Thailand,
showing the bitcoin sign is not just a glyph variant of the baht sign. I
linked to a couple articles from Thailand criticizing use of ฿ as
"stealing" the baht sign, but use of the bitcoin sign is not viewed as a
problem, showing that the bitcoin sign is not viewed in Thailand as a
variant of the baht sign.

Visually, the bitcoin sign and baht sign are distinct. The bitcoin sign is
almost invariably represented with two vertical bars, which are not visible
through the center of the B. This is how it is described on the bitcoin wiki
<https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Bitcoin_symbol>. The baht sign is almost
invariably represented with one vertical bar, which is visible through the
B. (I couldn't find any official definition of the baht sign.) This is a
different situation from the dollar sign, where single-bar and double-bar
forms are interchangeable. A font can't provide a single glyph that will be
satisfactory for both baht and bitcoin signs.

To summarize, the bitcoin community and the Thai community both view the
bitcoin sign and baht sign as two separate symbols. They shouldn't be


> For example, searching for images of bitcoin and bath symbols shows that
> the Bitcoin usually has two vertical bars, which however show only above
> and below the B, whereas the baht sign usually has one bar going through
> the B.
> But first, this distinction is not always maintained. Second, I extremely
> strongly doubt that people are making the distinction in handwriting. The
> 'bath form' of the symbol is much easier to write by hand that the 'bitcoin
> form', and so most people in handwriting will use the former even for
> bitcoins. Just try to correctly write the four little strokes of the
> 'bitcoin form', and you will understand easily.
> Regards,   Martin.
> On 2015/09/06 00:24, Ken Shirriff wrote:
>> Thanks for your comment, Mark. I've rewritten the baht section. Let me
>> know
>> if this addresses your concerns.
>> Another alternative is ฿ THAI CURRENCY SYMBOL BAHT. The bitcoin sign and
>> baht symbol are two unrelated symbols that have some visual similarity.
>> They are not variants of the same symbol, unlike single-bar and double-bar
>> dollar signs. Some websites use the baht symbol to represent bitcoins due
>> to the lack of the bitcoin symbol in Unicode. However, this is considered
>> by some to be “hijacking” and “stealing” of the bhat symbol. [footnote]
>> While the same symbol can be used for two currencies (e.g. $ for dollars
>> and pesos), reusing the baht symbol for bitcoin is not a good solution
>> when
>> two different symbols currently exist.
>> Footnote:
>> Some Bitcoin enthusiasts want to hijack the symbol for Thailand’s
>> currency,
>> Tech in Asia.
>> https://www.techinasia.com/bitcoin-enthusiasts-steal-symbol-thailands-currency/
>> To ฿ or not to Ƀ: Bitcoin debates stealing Thai baht's identity.
>> http://bangkok.coconuts.co/2014/04/22/bh-or-not-b-bitcoin-movement-debates-stealing-thai-bahts-identity
>> Ken
>> On Sat, Sep 5, 2015 at 7:14 AM, Mark Davis ☕️ <mark at macchiato.com> wrote:
>> At one point, the proposal states:
>>> Another alternative is ฿ THAI CURRENCY SYMBOL BAHT. This has the
>>> advantage
>>> of already being in Unicode and somewhat resembling the Bitcoin sign. A
>>> major disadvantage is this symbol is already in use as a currency symbol
>>> for a different currency, so using it to represent Bitcoin will lead to
>>> confusion.The Baht and the Bitcoin sign are two different symbols for two
>>> different currencies.
>>> Currency symbols are quite often used for very different currencies, with
>>> very different values. The $, for example, is used for currencies all
>>> over
>>> the world, including many not called 'dollar'. I'd suggest that you amend
>>> your proposal to address why the case of Bitcoin and Baht are different
>>> than the case of Dollar and Peso (and other currencies using $).
>>> Mark <https://google.com/+MarkDavis>
>>> *— Il meglio è l’inimico del bene —*
>>> On Thu, Sep 3, 2015 at 4:27 PM, Ken Shirriff <ken.shirriff at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>> I'm putting together a proposal for the Bitcoin sign to be added to
>>>> Unicode, so I wanted to check here if people have any
>>>> comments/concerns/objections.
>>>> I'm aware of the previous rejected proposal L2/11-130
>>>> <http://www.unicode.org/L2/L2011/11129-bitcoin.pdf> and I address the
>>>> issues from its rejection
>>>> <http://www.unicode.org/L2/L2011/11116.htm#127-A57>. In particular, my
>>>> proposal includes many examples of the symbol in running text. I also
>>>> checked with bitcoin.org that they have no trademark on the logo.
>>>> Please let me know of any other potential issues.
>>>> Ken
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