Wei is the smallest unit of ether (ETH), the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network. It represents the most granular denomination of Ethereum, and one ether is equivalent to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 wei (1 followed by 18 zeros), making wei a quintillionth of an ether.Wei is the fundamental unit of Ethereum’s cryptocurrency, offering precision and granularity in transactions.
The naming of wei pays tribute to Wei Dai, a cryptography activist, and early contributor to the field of cryptocurrency. Wei Dai’s work, particularly his support for strong cryptography and privacy-focused technologies, laid the groundwork for the development of digital currencies and blockchain technology.
Ether, being highly divisible, offers various sub-units, each with its informal name and quantity. These sub-units include kwei (or babbage), mwei, gwei (or shannon), microether, milliether, and ether, each representing a different order of magnitude in relation to wei.
Wei is particularly useful for describing small-value transactions and calculating transaction fees on the Ethereum network, especially as the price of ETH fluctuates. It allows users to work with precise values even when dealing with microtransactions or setting gas limits for transactions.