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Introducing BRIT

April 11th 2014

What is the best way to provide Bitcoin users with high quality wallet software ? How do the devs get paid ?

This article describes how we plan to do this for MultiBit HD. We call it the Burton-Rowe Income Technique (BRIT).


With MultiBit HD we are introducing a client fee of 1,000 satoshi per spend. This compares favourably with the current minimum miner's fee of 10,000 satoshi. This fee will go towards further development of MultiBit HD. We will also use the funds raised to support upstream projects that MultiBit HD relies upon (such as Bitcoinj, XChange etc).

By charging a client fee we can avoid intrusive or privacy-breaking alternatives.


MultiBit has been in the Bitcoin space since 2011. In that time it has seen continuous development and improvement. Recently we celebrated 1.5 million downloads.

Supporting a virtual metropolis of users and writing new features is now a full time job for a team of developers. On top of that since October 2013 we've been working hard on the next version of MultiBit - MultiBit HD - which has a much better interface and a deterministic wallet.

We're fortunate to be in this position to contribute to the Bitcoin community, and to enable us to keep paying the bills we had to design a way to get income according to these principles:

  • Must be open source under MIT license
  • No gathering or selling of information to third parties
  • No in-app advertising
  • Zero upfront cost
  • Must be decentralised apart from an anonymous initial contact
  • Fees must be extremely low
  • Must allow income to be allocated to other parties efficiently
  • All communications must rely on encrypted messages to prevent snooping, MITM and replay attacks

The result was the creation of a micro-payment system, BRIT, with a client fee of 1,000 satoshi per transaction sent.

At $500 per bitcoin this is 0.5 cents for each transaction sent. The price of a latte in a New York Starbucks is about $4 which equates to 800 sends through MultiBit HD.

There is no charge for receiving bitcoin. As this fee is below the Bitcoin dust limit of 5432 satoshi we bundle up these small amounts so that you pay once every twenty to thirty sends from your wallet.

Developer notes

BRIT contains some interesting cryptography which we think will be of interest to Bitcoin developers. We also hope that it will be of use to developers of open source applications that are not Bitcoin-specific (such as Inkscape, GIMP, Libre Office etc). Perhaps one day we will see BRIT used as the basis of pay-as-you-go open source software. Support for BRIT can be implemented without the need for any Bitcoin processing code in the application beyond a simple web confirmation of payment.

All the payment code, both client and server side, will be released under the MIT licence for other teams to use freely. Right now the BRIT Server code and documentation is available for examination on GitHub. The client code is currently within the MultiBit HD repo which will be opened in the coming weeks.

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