It’s easy to get lost in the lexicon of cryptocurrency.
Gwei, Ether, Wei – these sound like sci-fi terms but the concepts behind them are more familiar than you think.
Like fiat or physical currency, cryptocurrencies are broken down by denominations, like pennies to a dollar. Ether, the currency of the Ethereum network, is broken into many denominations.
Think of the smallest unit of ether – wei – as a penny. It takes a whole bunch of wei to make an ether. 10^18 wei, to be exact.
10^9 wei is a gwei. Gwei is most commonly used when talking about gas (network transaction fees). Rather than saying your gas cost is 0.000000001 ether you can say 1 gwei..
Whether you start at wei and go up, or start at ether and go down the denominations follow standard metric prefixes.
Most of those denominations aren’t needed for the average enthusiast. The majority of transactions will use ether & gwei. Understand wei for technical cred and you should be set.
Basically imperceptible, digital dust. It's really only used for technical cases and writing code.
Most commonly used for Gas (network transaction fees). You need a lot to really be valuable.
Pocket change. More tangible than a Nano but not as valuable as an Ether.
The most common denomination. In most substantial transactions you'll think in terms of Eth.
Each denomination has its own slang. Nicknames based off influential figures from the world of cryptography. A nod to founding figures the same way a $100 bill features Ben Franklin. Not mentioned below are Ada Lovelace (KWEI), Charles Babbage (MWEI), and Nick Szabo (TWEI).
Wei Dai. Formulated the concepts of all modern cryptocurrencies.
Claude Shannon. The Father of Information Theory. Codebreaker and crypto-analysis guru.
Hal Finney. Cypherpunk master and the first human to receive a Bitcoin from Satoshi.
Vitalik Buterin. Wunderkind creator of Ethereum.
50 PWEI or FINNEY
20 GWEI or SHANNON
Some of these names may become encoded in the culture of crypto, some may fade to vapor. In any case, now you can use your new understanding to impress your friends. 50 finney for lunch. 20 gwei for gas.
Wondering how much your lunch will cost in gwei? Use the Ethereum unit converter to find out.