If you’ve recently been introduced to cryptocurrency trading (shorting & longing for quick profits), you might often see Bitcoin being labeled with the acronym XBT. The 3-character word is different from the all popular BTC that most of us are used to. So what is XBT? And what exactly is the difference when talking about BTC vs XBT? In this article, we take a look at the two terms and offer a short and concrete answer to your questions.

BTC vs XBT: What is the difference between the acronyms?

In terms of cryptocurrency, BTC and XBT are exactly the same thing; they both represent Bitcoin. Some exchanges prefer to refer to the popular cryptocurrency as BTC, while others have adopted the newer standard XBT. The reason actually has to do with the popularity and legitimacy of Bitcoin as a currency. So, when you are wondering what is XBT bitcoin, it’s good to remember the following:

The XBT is an abbreviation that was given to Bitcoin from the International Standards Organization (ISO), which maintains a list of currencies recognized internationally. Bitcoin was added to the list just a few years ago, and the reason behind its infamous abbreviation has to do with its country of origin. According to the ISO, if a currency isn’t associated with a country, its abbreviation should begin with X, hence the XBT BTC difference. 

So, is XBT the same as BTC?

Essentially yes! You can refer to the popular cryptocurrency using both terms, even though BTC is more widely adopted by the public. For many, the difference between BTC and XBT is all about its eventual adoption from more traditional financial instruments, which will allow it to become a more mainstream store of value.

When looking at cryptocurrency exchanges, we can see that platforms that hold an e-money or banking license will tend to present Bitcoin as XBT. Other platforms that operate outside the jurisdiction of the USA (Binance.com) lists the popular cryptocurrency is BTC.

BTC or XBT? Why the confusion?

Is XBT same as BTC? Even though there is a lot of information available proving that the two are essentially the same, there is still a lot of confusion going on. Here is why:

  1. Bitcoin isn’t a national currency: there’s no universal standard, and agreement by practice is the rule.
  2. Bitcoin has existed for over ten years: Some banking and trading institutions still use the old acronym, and the public is more used to the older version.
  3. XBT or BTC is Official or Unofficial: Different groups choose to use whichever acronym they prefer, based on their own experience.

Is XBT and BTC the same? The answer lies with ISO

The International Standards Organization (ISO) is an NGO founded in 1947. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and supports 164 member countries. Its job is to set standards for weights and measures to facilitate international business and commerce. It sets standards from manufacturing to technology and food safety.

The ISO also sets abbreviations for currencies, and this is where the XBT abbreviation comes from. In short, they follow a specific set of protocols which introduces a little known or new currency to the financial markets.

XBT comes from ISO 4217

According to ISO 4217, which defines these abbreviations for currencies backed by countries and other assets, the first two letters should denote a country code and the lame of the currency. In the case of assets like gold and silver, the symbols start with X, XAU for gold (X and then the chemical symbol for Gold, AU), and XAG for silver, the same arrangement. 

Countries have currencies denominated in a similar way:

Is XBT same as BTC? Summing up the differences

Some exchanges or bloggers will use the older BTC abbreviation, as they have their codes and notoriety built-in BTC. Even now, the Google volume for BTC far outpaces that for XBT, but this will change as XBT becomes more adopted by exchanges and institutional traders. Even now, you’ll see sometimes BTC (XBT) or XBT (BTC), which is a transition. 

If you’d like to start trading XTC options today, open up your account on Bitlevex today and get started trading!