XDM Wallet Communications Substrate

Ty Everett (ty@projectbabbage.com)


Cross-document messaging enables web-based applications to communicate with one another in a secure manner, without allowing the two applications to manipulate each other's DOM trees. It defines a mechanism by which messages can be sent and received, with browser-based attestation of the origin of each message. We define the framework and conventions for operating a BRC-56 wallet over XDM, enabling a parent page that runs a wallet to communicate with one or multiple child pages that run applications.


BRC-56 defines a suite of abstract messages used by applications and wallets to facilitate various Bitcoin and MetaNet operations that enable micropayments, protect user privacy and ensure secure authentication without the need for each application to maintain a separate user account. While BRC-5 defines a method of using a BRC-56 wallet over HTTP on the local machine, some mobile devices are unable to support running HTTP servers due to platform-specific limitations. Additionally, it is sometimes desirable for a MetaNet environment to run fully in the browser, enabling users to access their identities on devices or platforms where a desktop-based BRC-5 client cannot be installed. This specification provides a ubiquitous communications substrate enabling the use of BRC-56 functionality across a wide range of devices and deployment contexts, including fully in-browser experiences.


We specify that the parent page runs the wallet, responding to messages from child pages. This has several advantages:

  • The wallet can always pop-up any necessary permission popups or user-interactive authorization screens without interference from client pages

  • When the user visits the parent page, they log in once, then they can access any applications after login

  • Multiple applications, all running in the same parent page, can access and utilize the BRC-56 wallet at once

  • Reducing the number of wallets running in parallel reduces the chances of UTXO synchronization or corruption issues

  • It is possible to run the parent wallet page locally, connecting to remote services only when required by specific applications

  • If a specific application was the parent and the wallet was a child, failure of the parent page to respond could constitute failure of a user to access their identity or assets, which might otherwise be available through another application

Application Message Sending and Processing

We start with the message relay interface defined by XDM. JavaScript code for sending messages from the application to the wallet is as follows:

new Promise((resolve, reject) => {
  const id = 'abcdabcd' // get a random message ID
  window.addEventListener('message', async e => {
    if (e.data.type !== 'CWI' || !e.isTrusted || e.data.id !== id || e.data.isInvocation) return
    if (e.data.status === 'error') {
      const err = new Error(e.data.description)
      err.code = e.data.code
    } else {
    type: 'CWI',
    isInvocation: true,
    call: 'getVersion',
    params: {}
  }, '*')

We stipulate that:

  1. All messages (requests, responses and errors) have a type property equal to CWI (this value, which stands for Computing with Integrity, is historical)

  2. A random message ID is generated by the application

  3. The application listens for new, incoming response messages. As part of the listener, the application:

    • Drops any events without the correct type in the event data

    • Drops any events where isTrusted is not true

    • Drops any events where the event data contains the isInvocation flag, denoting any outgoing messages that were echoed back

    • Drops any events where the event data contains an id field other than the one generated by step 2

    • Handles any error messages if the event's data contains a status field equal to error, relying on the code and description fields to construct an appropriate error

    • Otherwise, if no errors are detected, the application is now free to make use of the result field from the event's data payload, which will be the response from the wallet as specified by the relevant BRC standard for the specific message being sent

  4. With the listener in place and ready to process the response when it arrives, the application now constructs and sends the message to the wallet through the parent window:

    • Like all messages, the outgoing message contains a type field equal to CWI

    • An isInvocation flag is set to true, allowing listeners to easily drop outgoing messages rather than trying to process them as responses

    • The id that was generated in step 2 is included. The same id must be used by wallets when sending back the response

    • The call determines which message is being sent. Specific call values are defined below

    • The params field comprises the specific parameters as specified in BRCs that define specific message types

This application-side interface facilitates exchanging and receiving messages with the BRC-56 wallet over XDM. We now proceed to how the wallet handles its side of the interaction.

Wallet Message Receipt, Processing and Response

The wallet listens for incoming messages and replies to the originator with appropriate responses after obtaining permission from the user (if applicable) and processing the request. Some JavaScript code that implements this functionality is provided:

window.addEventListener('message', async e => {
  if (e.data.type !== 'CWI' || !e.isTrusted || typeof e.data.call !== 'string') return

  // This is where the wallet will do its processing, based on `call` and `params`.

  // ... in a rudamentary implementation ...

  if (e.data.call === 'createAction') { // BRC-1
    try {
      let result = await doBRC1Thing({
        originator: e.origin // You might let BRC1Thing know which app is sending the request, for permission purposes
        type: 'CWI', result, id: e.data.id
      }, e.origin)
    } catch (error) {
        type: 'CWI',
        id: e.data.id,
        status: 'error',
        code: error.code || 'ERR_UNKNOWN',
        description: error.message
      }, e.origin)
  } else if (e.data.call === 'encrypt') { // BRC-2 encrypt
    try {
      let result = await doBRC2Thing({
        originator: e.origin // You might let BRC2Thing know which app is sending the request, for permission purposes
        type: 'CWI', result, id: e.data.id
      }, e.origin)
    } catch (error) {
        type: 'CWI',
        id: e.data.id,
        status: 'error',
        code: error.code || 'ERR_UNKNOWN',
        description: error.message
      }, e.origin)
  } // ... implement all functions ...


We stipulate, before any client applications are loaded which might send any messages to the wallet, that the wallet running on the parent page must bind a message event handler that:

  1. Upon receipt of a message with an event data field type not equal to CWI will drop the message

  2. Upon receipt of an untrusted message, or one without a call will drop the message

  3. Upon receipt of a message with an unknown or unsupported call will proceed to step 6

  4. Based on the call and params will perform the necessary steps as required by the relevant BRC specifications for the specific operation

  5. Compose a response message and send it back to the originator, the response message comprising an event payload with the following fields:

    • A type value of CWI

    • The id that was specified by the application when the message was created

    • A result value that is the result of the operation being performed, as specified by the particular operation

  6. In case of any errors with the operation, the wallet will instead send back a response message comprising an event payload with the following fields:

    • A type value of CWI

    • A status value of error

    • The id that was specified by the application when the message was created

    • A relevant code for the error, as specified by the particular operation in question

    • A human-readable description for the error

Values for call Associated with Various Message Types

For each of the message pairs (request and response) incorporated into BRC-56, we specify the existence of a corresponding XDM message pair with a specific call value:

Message Pair

call Value

Specific Implementation Notes

BRC-1 Transaction Creation


BRC-2 Encryption


BRC-2 Decryption


BRC-3 Signature Creation


BRC-3 Signature Verification


BRC-53 Certificate Creation


BRC-53 Certificate Verification


BRC-56 HMAC Creation


BRC-56 HMAC Verification


BRC-56 Public Key Derivation


BRC-56 Certificate List


This call name prefix is historical and retained for compatibility

BRC-56 Version Request


BRC-56 Network Request


BRC-56 Authentication Request


BRC-56 Async Auth Request



Implementers of applications and wallets will need to create and process XDM messages in the manner described, according to the various fields and properties as required by BRC-56, and in a manner consistent with the reference implementation, which is the Babbage SDK's XDM substrate functionality.

Implementation questions should be directed to the author.

One (crude) example of a deployed architecture in which a parent page uses XDM to communicate with child application pages, facilitating the operation of multiple client applications which communicate with the parent wallet, has been implemented by the Babbage team at BabbageOS.com.

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