Bitcoin coin

Bitcoin is a decentralized cryptocurrency and there is no standard or anyone to dictate what it should be or how its name should sound like. Even Satoshi Nakamoto, the founder of Bitcoin, didn’t give an abbreviation to it. Since there is no one in charge to set naming standards, Bitcoin is called by two different abbreviated names: BTC and XBT.

The acronym follows the sound of the name Bitcoin, so it is called BTC. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? But how was the XBT name created? Let’s take a closer look!


As you already may know XBT cryptocurrency is your Bitcoin (XBT).  But why do we need two ticker symbols? To answer this question, let’s remember that Bitcoin is not a national currency produced by any specific country. It exists with no single point of origin.

Since Bitcoin (XBT) is nationless that’s what it makes a decentralized coinAnd it means that nobody can control it. But this is where a few challenges appear. And one of them is the currency name, because there is no standard procedure for naming. This is how we got two different abbreviated names for one crypto: BTC and XBT. Nobody has enough power to set naming standards for a decentralized currency. I believe even the founder of Bitcoin Satoshi Nakamoto didn’t give an abbreviation to Bitcoin on purpose, so that the community could have full control over the coin.

XBT vs BTC: What’s the difference?

Well, the original acronym given to the cryptocurrency at its emergence in 2008 was BC (who would ever know). But on the exchanges people would start using the three-letter BTC like an ISO code of a currency or stock on Wall Street. However, BTC doesn’t actually follow the International Standard Organization (ISO 4217). According to ISO, 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. On the other hand, “BTC” conflicts with Bhutan’s currency which is BTN (Bhutanese Ngultrum).

As Bitcoin gained more popularity and interest, in August 2013 BTC Geek leaked that Bloomberg terminal had added the coin as XBT to its ticker in 2013. This abbreviation conforms to ISO 4217 since the first letters of a country code denotes the country. And since Bitcoin is not associated with any country, just like Gold (XAU) and Silver (XAG), it gets an X. XBT also meets international banking standards.

What is XBT on Kraken?

As you understand, it might take some time (maybe even lots of time) till all exchanges and Bitcoin lovers would agree to switch to XBT or stick with the BTC, or invent something new. As for now, just a few exchanges have switched to XBT symbol for trading Bitcoin on their websites. And Kraken is one of them.


XBT is not different from BTC as both of them refer to Bitcoin. Just remember that BTC is the preference of the native Bitcoin community while XBT is used in traditional finance settings. It remains to be seen how it will be used in the long term. And what Bitcoin symbol do you prefer: XBT or BTC?

Read also: TOP-10 Best Places to Buy Bitcoin