On StackOverflow I found multiple advices to stick with BigDecimal in Java instead of reinventing the wheel.

Despite that, I decided to create my custom class, and I would ask if that was a good idea and pros or cons about my design in comparsion to BigDecimal. The reasons to choose custom implementation and characteristic of my design are:

  • no double/float constructors like in BigDecimal (risk of mistake) - long internally with 8 decimal places - this restrics min/max to ~10 bilion but system is cryptocurrency-targeted so typical values are small.
  • no difference in "0.0" and "0.00" as BigDecimal have
  • simple SQL compatibility by BIGINT column
  • hard connection to currency object/code - cannot create amount wihtout currency and also cannot do arthimethic/comparsion of two values in different currencies
  • Control of creation possible values to not overflow long (-10 bilion to 10 bilion)
  • internal overflow protection on computations

Do you think that those reasons as good to choose custem implementation instead of BigDecimal?

To minimize risks I have cover very lot of situations by unit test and also use BigDecimal for initial conversion from string:

BigDecimal decimal = new BigDecimal(value);
... check MIN/MAX allowed values ...
BigDecimal multiplied = decimal.multiply(new BigDecimal(String.valueOf(DECIMAL_DIVIDER)));
long internalResult = multiplied.toBigInteger().longValue();
return new Amount(internalResult, cryptoCurrency.getInternalCode());

1 Answer 1


Your reasons for creating a custom class are perfectly valid. If your system was only working with a single currency, the argument for creating a custom class would be much weaker. But with multiple currencies, I think a custom class is almost a must.

Note that your custom class could use a BigDecimal internally to hold the amount, if it was a good match for what you actually need to do. If a long matches your model better, then go ahead with that.

  • 2
    A similar approach - Quantity and specifically a use-case of Money - shows up in Martin Fowler's Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture. He briefly addresses the value of this approach in a system without multiple currencies and also has some code snippets suggesting useful additional methods you might want to add. Feb 10, 2014 at 12:58

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