Gwei is a denomination of Ether (ETH), the cryptocurrency which is used to pay for goods and services on the Ethereum blockchain. Specifically, it refers to 1,000,000,000 Wei, which is the smallest ETH denomination possible (just as cents are to dollars or satoshi is to Bitcoin). A gwei literally means gigawei.
Gwei is the most commonly used denomination of Ether because it is used when referring to gas on the Ethereum network. Gas fees – which is a measure of how much someone is willing to pay for a transaction or smart contract operation on the Ethereum network to be executed – are shown in Gwei. Because these gas fees are so minimal, it doesn’t make sense to refer to them in ETH, as it would have many decimal places.
One ETH equals 1,000,000,000 Gwei. Looking at it the other way, one Gwei equates to 0.000000001 ETH. When referred this way, it can be also called a nano Ether. This is because it is one-billionth, or one nano, of an Ether.
This table lays out the different denominations of ETH and how much they are worth.
|Unit||Value in Wei||Value in ETH|
|Kwei (kilo wei)||1e3 wei||0.000000000000001|
|Mwei (mega wei)||1e6 wei||0.000000000001|
|Gwei (giga wei)||1e9 wei||0.000000001|
|Twei (tera wei)||1e12 wei||0.000001|
|Pwei (peta wei)||1e15 wei||0.001|
Each of these denominations also has a nickname – of figures who either directly or indirectly had some influence in the creation of Ethereum.
- Wei – named after Wei Dai, a ‘godfather’ of the crypto movement who conceived many of the concepts behind cryptocurrency.
- Kwei – nicknamed babbage. Named after Charles Babbage, an English mathematician who first conceived the idea of a programmable computer.
- Mwei – nicknamed lovelace. Named after Ada Lovelace, an English mathematician who wrote a computer program for Charles Babbage’s prototype.
- Gwei – nicknamed shannon. Named after Claude Shannon, an American mathematician who is known for laying down the foundations for information theory.
- Twei – nicknamed szabo. Named after Nick Szabo, a computer scientist who is known for being a crypto pioneer, and for his research into digital currency.
- Pwei – nicknamed finney. Named after Hal Finney, a renowned cryptographer who received the first ever Bitcoin from its creator Satoshi Nakamoto.
- Ether – nicknamed buterin. Named after Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum.