Looking for a Bitcoin Stock Symbol? We've Got Them All

This post was updated on 1/14/2021

As the Bitcoin price goes higher, more investors are seeking out information on the No. 1 cryptocurrency. And one of their first instincts is to search for a Bitcoin stock symbol.

The first thing to know is that Bitcoin is a decentralized digital asset. It's not a company. So, strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a "Bitcoin stock symbol."

There are crypto and Bitcoin-oriented companies one could describe as "Bitcoin stocks." And each one of those, if publicly traded, will have a stock symbol.

Bitcoin is an asset that trades primarily on exchanges designed specifically for cryptocurrencies. In such places, you will see a Bitcoin ticker symbol (as opposed to a stock symbol).

While the most widely accepted Bitcoin ticker symbol is BTC, there are a few others that investors may encounter and should know about. In particular, multiple "forks" of Bitcoin have created separate, alternative, but similarly named versions of the cryptocurrency - each with its own name and ticker symbol.

Below you'll find all the known Bitcoin ticker symbols as well as a few of the stock symbols of the most popular crypto-related investments.

A Bitcoin Ticker Symbol Glossary

The following ticker symbols are associated with Bitcoin itself:

  • Bitcoin Ticker Symbol No. 1: BTC: BTC is essentially an abbreviation that sprung up because the Bitcoin sign, a capital "B" with two short horizontal lines extending from the top and two from the bottom, could not be duplicated on a keyboard. It's almost always the code you will see representing Bitcoin on a cryptocurrency exchange (Kraken being a notable exception, see below). BTC is also the symbol you use to look up the Bitcoin price in various currencies in a Google search. So to find the current price of one bitcoin in U.S. dollars, you'd type "BTC USD."
  • Bitcoin Ticker Symbol No. 2: XBT: Bitcoin is sometimes thought of as an asset, but it usually trades as a currency, paired with other cryptocurrencies as well as other fiat currencies such as the U.S. dollar and the euro. When Bloomberg decided to list Bitcoin on its terminals, BTC wouldn't work. The issue is that symbols for foreign currencies must start with letters that identify the originating country. The letters "BT" belong to Bhutan. And more to the point, Bitcoin is not associated with any country or government - it's decentralized by design. The rule is that non-sovereign currencies must start with an "X." So Bloomberg came up with XBT (this is similar to gold's XAU and silver's XAG). Foreign exchange sites use the ticker symbol XBT for Bitcoin. The Kraken exchange also uses XBT instead of BTC to denote Bitcoin.
  • Bitcoin Ticker Symbol No. 3: $BTC, $BTC.X: Investors use the "$" in front of stock symbols to tag stocks on Twitter. It works with cryptocurrencies as well. If you want to quickly find a lot of Bitcoin comments on Twitter, just type in $BTC. The website StockTwits uses a slight variation, $BTC.X. Comments from StockTwits can easily be posted to Twitter, so you may see that variant on Twitter as well.

Ticker Symbols of the Bitcoin Forks

One of the most confusing things about Bitcoin for newcomers is that there are so many versions of it. Know that Bitcoin with no other modifier is the one true Bitcoin.

The others are "hard forks" that split off from the original. While these forked versions share many similarities with the original, the coins are not interchangeable. Also, the prices of these forked versions of Bitcoin tend to be a mere fraction of the original.

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Also, the mining power behind these forked versions are much, much lower than that which backs the original Bitcoin. That means these alternate versions of Bitcoin are much less secure. Specifically, hackers could gain control of the network in a "51% attack" in which they could hijack users' coins.

This is not an exhaustive list - there are more than a dozen of these - but this list covers the alternative Bitcoin ticker symbols you're most likely to see:

  • Bitcoin Cash (Ticker symbol: BCH): Bitcoin Cash was created in 2017 by a hard fork of the original Bitcoin protocol. The main difference from the original Bitcoin is that it allows for larger-sized blocks in its blockchain (and thus for more transactions per block). Main proponent Roger Ver represents it as "the real Bitcoin," which it is not.
  • Bitcoin Satoshi's Vision (Ticker symbol: BSV): Bitcoin SV forked from Bitcoin Cash in 2018 over disagreements to changes in the protocol code. It supports even larger blocks than Bitcoin Cash. BSV's main proponent, Dr. Craig Wright, has claimed without evidence to be Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto.
  • Bitcoin Gold (Ticker symbol: BTG): Bitcoin Gold split from the original Bitcoin blockchain in October 2017. This fork changed the mining protocol to make it possible for people to mine BTG with graphics cards rather than expensive ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) mining equipment. The Bitcoin Gold founders were concerned that the high cost was causing miner centralization. It was not intended as a competitor to the original Bitcoin.
  • Bitcoin Diamond (Ticker symbol: BCD): Bitcoin Diamond split from the original Bitcoin blockchain in November of 2017. The main distinguishing feature is that it multiplies the total number of coins created by 10. So while the supply of original Bitcoin is capped at 21 million, the supply cap of Bitcoin Diamond is 210 million. This was an alternative approach to solving scalability.

Some Company Bitcoin Stock Symbols You Should Know

Investors that don't want to buy Bitcoin outright can seek exposure via more conventionally traded assets.

Although the Securities and Trade Commission (SEC) has dragged its feet on approving a Bitcoin ETF, investors do have an over-the-counter (OTC) option.

The seven-year-old Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (OTC: GBTC) tracks the price of Bitcoin. You can see that its symbol includes "BTC" - smart marketing on the part of Grayscale. The caveat here is that GBTC typically trades at a steep premium to its net asset value, so you're overpaying to get exposure to Bitcoin.

You can also use equities to dip your toes into crypto.

For those who want to play it safe, you can buy stocks of companies that are only partly involved in Bitcoin and crypto. They range from blue chips like International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) to payment innovators like PayPal Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL) and Square Inc. (NYSE: SQ).

A more ambitious play is MicroStrategy Inc. (NASDAQ: MSTR), which last year decided to adopt Bitcoin for its balance sheet reserves. Last year, the firm bought more than $1 billion worth of Bitcoin.

You also have a group of small crypto companies that became publicly traded after a reverse merger. Some of these penny stocks only jumped on the blockchain bandwagon for a quick profit back in 2017, but a few of the Bitcoin mining stocks are worth a look.

These include: Hive Blockchain Technologies Ltd. (OTC: HVBTF); Riot Blockchain Inc. (NASDAQ: RIOT); and Marathon Patent Group Inc. (NASDAQ: MARA).

The first major fully Bitcoin-centric stock will be Coinbase, which is planning its initial public offering in 2021. In addition, the Bakkt exchange, a subsidiary of Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (which owns the New York Stock Exchange), is set to go public via a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) this year.

Those events should open the door to many more crypto IPOs over the next several years.

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About the Author

David Zeiler, Associate Editor for Money Morning at Money Map Press, has been a journalist for more than 35 years, including 18 spent at The Baltimore Sun. He has worked as a writer, editor, and page designer at different times in his career. He's interviewed a number of well-known personalities - ranging from punk rock icon Joey Ramone to Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Over the course of his journalistic career, Dave has covered many diverse subjects. Since arriving at Money Morning in 2011, he has focused primarily on technology. He's an expert on both Apple and cryptocurrencies. He started writing about Apple for The Sun in the mid-1990s, and had an Apple blog on The Sun's web site from 2007-2009. Dave's been writing about Bitcoin since 2011 - long before most people had even heard of it. He even mined it for a short time.

Dave has a BA in English and Mass Communications from Loyola University Maryland.

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