Is Bitcoin the same thing as bitcoin? Not necessarily. While the difference is by no means definite or official, there are some general guidelines that most writers in the Bitcoin community tend to agree on. The AP Stylebook explains the two terms fairly well.
“Bitcoin is a digital currency. As a concept, Bitcoin is capitalized. The currency unit, bitcoin, is lowercase.”
Bitcoin the concept covers a gigantic range of topics, but bitcoin the currency is specific. A good rule of thumb would be to capitalize Bitcoin all the time except for when we’re talking about actual units of bitcoin. Some people call it a currency, some people call it an asset, and some people call it money, but the bottom line is that there is a certain type of bitcoin that is quantifiable. For example:
“I bought that silver bar for 2 bitcoins.”
“The bitcoin price is around $250 right now.”
“I donated 0.5 BTC to my favorite organization.”
In that last example, we used bitcoin’s three-letter abbreviation in place of the actual word. Almost always, when preceded by a number, BTC and bitcoin(s) can be used interchangeably. When referring to the bitcoin price, is seems right to use the lowercase bitcoin because we are talking about the price of one single unit of currency.
In any other situation, Bitcoin should probably be capitalized. Bitcoin is a network and a protocol. Bitcoin can also be an adjective. For example:
“I love that Amagi Metals supports Bitcoin.”
“I want to be a part of the Bitcoin community.”
“Do you think Bitcoin is ready for mainstream adoption?”
Most of the time, it should be clear whether we’re talking about units of bitcoin or the broader form of Bitcoin, but anytime we’re unsure, we’ll lean towards capitalizing the word.
Hopefully these thoughts bring you some insight and clarification. As we continue to write about all the latest on Bitcoin here at Free Market News, we’ll do our best to follow these general capitalization rules.
Daniel Brown is the editor-in-chief of You, Me, and BTC. There, he co-hosts the planet’s most entertaining Bitcoin podcast and writes about various crypto topics. He also works for Liberty.me, preparing content pages, bug testing, and doing anything else that needs to be done.