Re: Upcoming proposal for Bitcoin sign

From: Asmus Freytag (t) <>
Date: Sun, 6 Sep 2015 23:24:51 -0700
On 9/6/2015 10:10 PM, Martin J. Dürst wrote:
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.

Actually, I would come to the opposite conclusion. I don't see the evidence yet that there is anything that can be unified.

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.

Unlike the dollar sign, for which there was a rich typographical history of alternating designs based on the letter S with various slashes, your research confirms (as do my my own searches) that for symbols based on the letter B, that alternation isn't applied.

Just because an S with a single stroke, two strokes, the end of two strokes, and even the ends a single stroke have been interchangeably used for various currencies, the same does not have to be true for any other currency symbol based on stroked letters (except, that we know, because this has been researched, that the S is not alone, but nobdody has demonstrated that it is the case for the B).

But first, this distinction is not always maintained.

This statement would need corroboration. I have failed to find a single counter example in moderately persistent image searches. (The only exception is the effort to substitute U+0243).

Whereas for the dollar, the first screenful of images  had all the variations on it (except the one with the ends to two strokes).

Similar for the Baht (no variation).

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.

And the question I would ask is whether that is an appropriate argument. In some styles of handwriting the letter "u" looks like "u with macron". This is not an argument to unity the two.

I have considerable doubt whether any shortcuts in handwriting will strongly influence the modern rendering of digitally encoded currency symbols.

Granted, the full range of alternate glyphs tends to only get established over time. However, as long as the two user groups cannot be demonstrated to cross recognize the other depiction as an ordinary variant of their intended symbol, I would strongly caution against unification.

In my experience, the widest variety of symbol depiction is found in advertising and price labels (anywhere where the symbol represents a unit and not a "logo"). That's why I ran  searches for "sign", "symbol", "font", "price tag" etc. Bitcoin doesn't have enough usage history to show up with a lot of printed price tags, but the Baht does.

I have not been able to find the "websites" that use Baht for bitcoin, but I have been able to find the sites that argue for using U+0243.

My argument is essentially that when you claim that two shapes are alternate glyphs of the same character, as opposed to two separate characters, then you'd want the alternation to be common. Because the claim is that most users would recognize both forms as the same symbol. So, for the dollar, we can confirm that quickly with any image search, for Bitcoin/Baht we cannot, and in fact the separate identity appears more plausible.


PS: Now, just to make the story more complicated, it's true that occasionally some character has perfectly normal alternate glyph representations that are not always easily recognizable in isolation. Fraktur or scripts shapes of Latin capitals come to mind. In most of these cases, strong context (like all the text being in the same font) allows the reader to make identification anyway. That's something I think not applicable to currency symbols. Unless the variant glyphs can be demonstrated (as the were for S and Y based symbols) we can't simply assume they are there.

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.


Some Bitcoin enthusiasts want to hijack the symbol for Thailand’s currency,
Tech in Asia.
To ฿ or not to Ƀ: Bitcoin debates stealing Thai baht's identity.


On Sat, Sep 5, 2015 at 7:14 AM, Mark Davis ☕️ <> 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 <>

*— Il meglio è l’inimico del bene —*

On Thu, Sep 3, 2015 at 4:27 PM, Ken Shirriff <>

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

I'm aware of the previous rejected proposal L2/11-130
<> and I address the
issues from its rejection
<>. In particular, my
proposal includes many examples of the symbol in running text. I also
checked with that they have no trademark on the logo.

Please let me know of any other potential issues.


Received on Mon Sep 07 2015 - 01:27:20 CDT

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