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What is Gwei?

What is Gwei?

Whether you’re new to Ethereum or a hardened veteran, you’ve likely come across the word Gwei before. The most common situation where you’d notice the word gwei is when choosing a gas price for your Ethereum transaction that won’t make you wait or get stuck. And even then, you probably just paid attention to the amount of gas and not the name of the unit.

1,000,000 Gwei = 1 ETH

Gwei is a unit of ether which stands for gigawei, or rather 1,000,000,000 wei. Wei is the smallest unit or the base unit of ether. You can think of wei like what cents are to the US dollar or satoshis are to Bitcoin. The denominations of ether follow a measurement system akin to the metric system.

Chart of ether units

Each denomination of ether also has a special nickname dedicated to individuals that influenced the creation of Ethereum. The base unit wei is named after Wei Dai. Whereas, another name for gwei is a shannon.

Wei Dai

Wei Dai created b-money, a proposed electronic cash system, in 1998 which later  influenced the design of Bitcoin. B-money is also cited in the Bitcoin whitepaper. Some in the Bitcoin community even go as far as claiming Wei Dai is Satoshi Nakamoto.

Charles Babbage

Henry Babbage (1791-1871) was an English mathematician and mechanical engineer who is considered the father of the computer. Babbage’s designs for his analytical engine, a mechanic computer, would go on to inspire modern computer scientists. Modern recreations of his designs have been successful in proving his idea would have worked if it was feasible to build.

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), brilliant mathematician and daughter of the poet Lord Byron, collaborated with Babbage. She wrote what many consider the first computer program which would have derived Bernoulli numbers had the engine ever been built. She also had the idea of applying punchcards from weaving looms to input a sequence of instructions into Babbage’s analytical engine.

Claude Shannon

Claude Shannon (1916-2001) was an American mathematician and electrical engineer known as “the father of information theory.” Shannon also designed early digital circuits which could solve Boolean algebra. His work laid the groundwork for the digital computers and networks we use today.

Nick Szabo

In 1998, Nick Szabo designed bit gold, a decentralized digital currency also said to have influenced Satoshi Nakamoto’s design of Bitcoin. Szabo proposed and coined the term “smart contracts.” He is yet another person suspected of possibly being Satoshi Nakamoto despite his repeated denials.

Hal Finney

Hal Finney (1956-2014) was a cryptographic activist, developer for the PGP Corporation, creator of reusable proof of work, and early Bitcoin contributor. Finney was even the first recipient of a Bitcoin transaction, sent from Satoshi Nakamoto himself. He unfortunately passed away in August 2014 from complications due to ALS.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this brief stroll through the history of computer science. Thanks for reading!

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