A penny weighs 2.5 grams. I'll round your 178 micorgrams per goldtoshi to 250 micrograms to make the division easy. A goldtoshi is one ten-thousanth the weight of a penny.
Here's why it matters. The protocol only defines satoshis. There's nothing in there about bitcoins, "bitcoin" is just a user interface shorthand for 100,000,000 satoshis. So although you can't do an actual bitcoin split like a stock split, you can just start talking about a different unit that represents fewer satoshis. A millibitcoin is 100,000 satoshis.
And people argue for doing this, because over a thousand dollars for a bitcoin "sounds expensive" even though it's absolutely no different than saying one dollar per millibitcoin. Since bitcoin is presently all about momentum speculation, getting people to talk in terms of centibitcoins or millibitcoins would no doubt spark a huge jump in the price -- it certainly worked that way for dot coms which is why they did stock splits so often. Here's an argument for jumping straight to microbitcoins:
Here's one about jumping all the way to satoshis (but he gets the divisor wrong):
and there are lots more anywhere bitcoins are discussed.
But here's the thing: the only floor is the satoshi, and there are 2.1 quadrillion of them. In what sense is that scarce? Saying that bitcoin is scarce because there can only be 21 million of them is just playing with the units to make the number in front of the units look small. What it really means is that there are only 21 million hundred-mega-satoshis. Just like the national debt is only a 170,000, as long as you measure it in hundred-mega-dollars.
Want DP delivered to your inbox daily? Subscribe here: