The MultiBit HD support library for Bitcoin hardware wallets (e.g. Trezor, KeepKey etc)
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Multibit is Deprecated - Do Not Use

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Dear Bitcoin Community,

It is time for us to let Multibit go.

KeepKey acquired Multibit a little over 1 year ago. At the time, the engineers who originally built and supported Multibit had announced that they would no longer be working on it or providing support. Multibit played an important role in the Bitcoin infrastructure. We felt that it was important for Multibit to continue and hoped that with our existing support and development teams, we would be able to keep Multibit alive.

The reality is that Multibit is in need of a lot of work. It has stubborn bugs that have caused us and Multibit users much grief. Additionally, Bitcoin has gone through a fundamental change in regards to the way fees work. The addition of SegWit in the coming weeks will mean the Multibit software has fallen still further behind.

Unfortunately, KeepKey simply does not have the resources to support the current issues, nor to rebuild Multibit to ensure ideal user experience. By focusing our attention on the KeepKey device, we will continue building and improving the best hardware wallet available.

Thus, KeepKey will discontinue support and maintenance of Multibit, effective immediately.

We recommend that all Multibit users discontinue using it and you move your keys to other wallet software of your choosing.

Next Steps for Multibit Users

Videos that demonstrate how to move your wallet to Electrum are available on YouTube.

Please note that the version of Electrum available for download today (version 2.8.3) doesn’t fully support the importing Multibit HD wallet words. The version shown in the Multibit HD video is the soon-to-be-released next version.

Multibit was a fantastic piece of software in its time, and we want to thank the Multibit developers for such an important contribution to Bitcoin’s history.


Ken Heutmaker

CTO, KeepKey

Status: Build Status

Project status

Released: Verified working with various Trezor firmware editions across Windows, Mac and Linux.

MultiBit Hardware

MultiBit HD (MBHD) supports hardware wallets through a common API which is provided here under the MIT license.

Hardware wallet implementers can free themselves of the burden of writing their own wallet software by using MBHD or they can use the API provided here to create their own and take advantage of the code and utilities provided.

One example of a supported hardware wallet is the Trezor and full examples and documentation is available for review.


  • hid4java - Java library wrapping hidapi using JNA
  • Google Protocol Buffers (protobuf) - for the most efficient and flexible wire protocol
  • Google Guava - for excellent Java support features
  • Java 7+ - to remove dependencies on JVMs that have reached end of life

Code examples

The code example below is for a Trezor hardware wallet. You can replace Trezor with KeepKey if you are using one instead.


Configure and start the hardware wallet service as follows:

// Use factory to statically bind the specific hardware wallet
TrezorV1HidHardwareWallet wallet = HardwareWallets.newUsbInstance(

// Wrap the hardware wallet in a suitable client to simplify message API
HardwareWalletClient client = new TrezorHardwareWalletClient(wallet);

// Wrap the client in a service for high level API suitable for downstream applications
hardwareWalletService = new HardwareWalletService(client);

// Register for the high level hardware wallet events

// Start the service

Subscribe to Guava events coming from the Trezor client as follows:

public void onHardwareWalletEvent(HardwareWalletEvent event) {

  switch (event.getEventType()) {
      // Wait for device to be connected
      // Get some information about the device
      Features features = hardwareWalletService.getContext().getFeatures().get();"Features: {}", features);
      // Treat as end of example
      // Treat as end of example


Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What hardware wallets do you support ?

At present we support

What use cases do you support ?

At present there is support and examples for the following high level use cases:

  • Attachment/detachment detection
  • Wipe device to factory settings
  • Load wallet with known seed phrase (insecure)
  • Create wallet on device with PIN and external entropy (secure)
  • Request address using chain code
  • Request public key using chain code
  • Sign transaction (integrates with Bitcoinj Transaction)
  • Request cipher key (deterministically encrypt/decrypt based on a chain code)
  • Sign message
  • Change PIN

Not supported since it's not on our critical path. If you really want it to be included then please raise an issue stating your case and perhaps offering a Bitcoin bounty to give us an incentive.

  • Recover device (just visit or
  • Upload firmware (better to use vendor's own website to be sure)
  • Verify message using chain code (MultiBit HD already supports this)
  • Encrypt/decrypt based on AES key (we are not a message client)

Why Google Protocol Buffers ?

We believe that the use of Google Protocol Buffers for "on the wire" data transmission provides the best balance between an efficient binary format and the flexibility to allow a wide range of other languages to access the device. Having your device speak "protobuf" means that someone can rip out the .proto files and use them to generate the appropriate accessor code for their language (e.g. Ruby).

Do you support git submodules for .proto files ?

Yes. While you can have treat your module within the MultiBit Hardware project as the single point of (Java) reference, you don't have to.

You are also free to offer up your .proto files as common libraries that remain in your repo and under your control. We then include them as a git submodule. This is the approach taken by the Trezor development team and enables them to retain complete control over the wire protocol, while allowing MultiBit Hardware to implement support in a phased approach.

Why no Listener pattern ?

The Guava library offers the EventBus which is a much simpler way to manage events within an application. Since MultiBit HD uses this internally and will be the primary consumer of this library it makes a lot of sense to mandate its use.

How do I get my hardware included ?

While we welcome a wide variety of hardware wallet devices into the Bitcoin ecosystem, supporting them all through MultiBit HD gives rise to some obvious problems:

  • maintaining compatibility for legacy versions (variants, quirks, deprecated functionality etc)
  • verifying the security of the wallet (robust enough for mainstream users, entropy source etc)
  • simplicity of use (mainstream users must find it easy to obtain and use)

Thus the current situation is that the MultiBit Hardware development team is only supporting devices very closely modelled on the Trezor device, but in time we would like to open up support for other leading hardware wallet vendors.

Please feel free to raise an issue to discuss your requirements.

Getting started

MultiBit Hardware uses the standard Maven build process and can be used without having external hardware attached. Just do the usual

$ cd <project directory>
$ mvn clean install

and you're good to go. Your next step is to explore the examples (see later for details).

Collaborators and the protobuf files

If you are a collaborator (i.e. you have commit access to the repo) then you will need to perform an additional stage to ensure you have the correct version of the protobuf files:

$ cd <project directory>
$ git submodule init
$ git submodule update

This will bring down the .proto files referenced in the submodules and allow you to select which tagged commit to use when generating the protobuf files. See the "Updating protobuf files" section later.

MultiBit Hardware does not maintain .proto files. Periodically we will update the protobuf files through the following process (based on an update to the Trezor protobuf):

$ cd trezor/src/main/trezor-common
$ git checkout master
$ git pull origin master
$ cd ../../..
$ mvn -DupdateProtobuf=true clean compile
$ cd ..
$ git add trezor
$ git commit -m "Updating protobuf files for 'trezor'"
$ git push

We normally expect the HEAD of the submodule origin master branch to represent the latest production release, but that's up to the owner of the repo.

Read the wiki for detailed instructions

Have a read of the wiki pages which gives comprehensive instructions for a variety of environments.

Working with a production Trezor device

After purchasing a production Trezor device do the following:

Plug in the device to the USB port and wait for initialisation to complete.

Attempt to discover the device using the TrezorV1FeaturesExample through the command line not the IDE:

cd examples
mvn clean compile exec:java -Dexec.mainClass="org.multibit.hd.hardware.examples.trezor.usb.step1.TrezorV1FeaturesExample"

This will list available devices on the USB and select a Trezor if present. It relies on the MultiBit Hardware project JARs being installed into the local repository (e.g. built with mvn clean install).

Working with a production KeepKey device

After purchasing a production KeepKey device do the following:

Plug in the device to the USB port and wait for initialisation to complete.

Attempt to discover the device using the KeepKeyV1FeaturesExample through the command line not the IDE:

cd examples
mvn clean compile exec:java -Dexec.mainClass="org.multibit.hd.hardware.examples.keepkey.usb.step1.KeepKeyV1FeaturesExample"

This will list available devices on the USB and select a KeepKey if present. It relies on the MultiBit Hardware project JARs being installed into the local repository (e.g. built with mvn clean install).

Working with a Raspberry Pi emulation device

A low-cost introduction to the Trezor is the use of a Raspberry Pi and the Trezor Shield development hardware available from Satoshi Labs. Please read the instructions on how to set up your RPi + Shield hardware.

Configuring a RPi for socket emulation

Note your RPi's IP address so that you can open an SSH connection to it.

If you're using a laptop enable DHCP and plug in the device's network cable.

On Unix you can issue the following command to map the local network (install with brew for OSX):

$ nmap

Replace the IP address range with what IP address your laptop

Change the standard script to use the following:

$ python trezor/ -s -t socket -p -d -dt socket -dp

This will ensure that the Shield is serving over port 3000 with a debug socket on port 2000.

Warning Do not use this mode with real private keys since it is unsafe!

Run it up with

$ sudo ./

You should see the Shield OLED show the Trezor logo.

Configuring a RPi for USB emulation

Apply power to the RPi through the USB on the Trezor Shield board. Connect a network cable as normal.

After the blinking lights have settled, test the USB device is connected:

  • lsusb for Linux
  • system_profiler SPUSBDataType for Mac
  • reg query hklm\system\currentcontrolset\enum\usbstor /s for Windows (untested so might be a better way)

You should see a CP2110 HID USB-to-UART device.

Establish the IP address of the RPi and SSH on to it as normal.

Use the standard script but ensure that RPi Getty is turned off:

$ sudo nano /etc/inittab
$ #T0:23:respawn:/sbin/getty -L ttyAMA0 115200 vt100

This will ensure that the Shield is using the UART reach the RPi GPIO serial port with a debug socket on port 2000.

Warning Do not use this mode with real private keys since it is unsafe!

Run it up with

sudo ./

You should see the Shield OLED show the Trezor logo.

If you want your Raspberry Pi to be a dedicated USB Trezor device then adding the following commands will cause the emulator software to be run on boot up

$ sudo ln -s /home/pi/trezor-emu/rpi-init /etc/init.d/trezor
$ sudo update-rc.d trezor defaults


The following are known issues and their solutions or workarounds.

I'm seeing Device not connected in the logs

Check that you don't have an open browser window to or perhaps another application (such as MultiBit HD) that is holding a connection to the device open.

My production Trezor/KeepKey doesn't work on Ubuntu

Out of the box Ubuntu classifies HID devices as belonging to root. You can override this rule by creating your own under /etc/udev/rules.d:

$ sudo gedit /etc/udev/rules.d/99-trezorhid.rules

Make the content of this file as below:

# Trezor HID device
ATTRS{idProduct}=="0001", ATTRS{idVendor}=="534c", MODE="0660", GROUP="plugdev"
# KeepKey HID device
ATTRS{idProduct}=="0001", ATTRS{idVendor}=="2b24", MODE="0660", GROUP="plugdev"

Save and exit from root, then unplug and replug your production device. The rules should take effect immediately. If they're still not running it may that you're not a member of the plugdev group. You can fix this as follows (assuming that plugdev is not present on your system):

$ sudo addgroup plugdev
$ sudo addgroup yourusername plugdev 

When running the examples I get errors indicating iconv is missing or broken

The iconv library is used to map character sets and is usually provided as part of the operating system. MultiBit Hardware will work with version 1.11+. We have seen problems with running the code through an IDE where iconv responds with a failure code of -1.

This often indicates that an older version of the hidapi library is present on your system and probably needs to be updated to match that provided by the hid4java project.

Closing notes

All trademarks and copyrights are acknowledged.