Skip to content
Branch: master
Find file History
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Type Name Latest commit message Commit time
Failed to load latest commit information.

Billing Service

Contents of this article assume the reader's familiarity with the concepts of Business Networks. Please see Corda Solutions website for more information.

Billing Service requires Corda 4 as a minimum version, as it heavily relies on the Reference States.

Please see Billing Demo App for an example of how to integrate Billing Service into your CorDapp.

Billing Service can be used for billing and metering on Business Networks. Billing Service has a notion of Billing Chips that can be included into Corda transactions which participants need to pay for. Billing Chips never cross a single transaction boundaries (when created, Billing Chips can be consumed in an exactly one transaction) and hence never cause privacy leaks. All Billing Chips are attached to their respective Billing States, that accumulate the total spent amount and can be safely reported back to the BNO without leaking the transaction history where the Billing Chips have been involved into.

We felt that there is a need for a dedicated billing pattern as many suggested approaches we have encountered leak privacy. For example if you were to use tokens to implement billing on Business Networks, then there would be no way for a member to report the actual spent amount, without leaking the transactions where the tokens have been used in.

Billing States Evolution is depicted on the diagram below. The diagram is created in Corda Modelling Notation. Please see this link for more details.

Billing State Evolution

The billing / metering workflow consists of the following steps:

  1. The BNO issues a BillingState to each of their Business Network members. The BNO can either pre-allocate an amount that a member can spent (bounded state), or leave the amount empty which would effectively allow the member to spent an unlimited number of Billing Chips (unbounded state, can be used for transaction metering). Billing States might include an expiry date, after which the states can not be used anymore. Billing States may also include a externalId which can be used to differentiate amongst multiple active billing states for a member.
  2. A member unilaterally (the BNO's signature is not required) chips offs one or multiple Billing Chips from their Billing State. Chipping off increments the spent amount of the associated Billing State.
  3. A member includes Billing Chips as inputs to a transaction he(she) needs to pay for. Paid-for transactions never contain Billing States as inputs and hence Billing States don't carry along any private transaction history. However, the valid Billing States must be included as reference inputs to prevent an expired, revoked or returned states from being used. Developers must define a logic in their contracts code that verifies that each of the required transaction participants had included enough of the Billing Chips as inputs.
  4. In the end of the billing period the BNO requests each BN member to return their Billing State. In response to that, the members attach back all unspent Billing Chips to the respective Billing States, which decrements the spent amount value and then return Billing States to the BNO. The returned Billing States and the associated Billing Chips can not be used to pay for transactions anymore.
  5. The BNO bills the members based on the reported spent amounts. After all obligations have been settled, the BNO unilaterally closes all returned states.
  6. The BNO can also unilaterally (a member's signature is not required) revoke Billing States as a result of a governance action. The revoked Billing States and the associated Billing Chips can not be used to pay for transactions anymore.

Billing State Machine is depicted on the diagram below. The diagram is created in Corda Modelling Notation. Please see this link for more details.

Billing State Machine

What Billing Service is not:

  • Billing Service is not a tokens framework. The service was designed to solve the billing and the metering problems specifically and is not intended to be used outside of these areas. Consider using Corda Tokens SDK as a general purpose tokens framework.
  • Billing Service doesn't solve the settlement problem. Consider using Corda Settler for settlement of obligations.

How It Works

Data Model

The data model is represented with BillingState, BillingChipState and BillingContract classes.

BillingContract governs the evolution of both Billing and BillingChip states. The following commands are supported:

  • Issue - to issue a BillingState.
  • Return - to return a BillingState in the end of the billing period.
  • Revoke - to revoke a BillingState as a result of a governance action.
  • Close - to close a BillingState when all obligations are settled.
  • ChipOff - to chip off BillingChipState from a BillingState.
  • AttachBack - to attach back unspent BillingChipStates to their BillingState.
  • UseChip - to use BillingChipStates inside a business transaction.

A BillingState can exist in one of the following statuses:

  • ACTIVE - the states that can be used to pay for transactions
  • RETURNED - the states that have been returned to the BNO in the end of the billing period.
  • REVOKED - the states that have been revoked by the BNO as a result of a governance action.
  • CLOSED - the states that have been fully settled.

Issuing a BillingState

A BillingState can be issued via IssueBillingStateFlow. The flow should be called by the BNO.

class IssueBillingStateFlow(
    private val owner : Party, // a party to issue the BillingState to
    private val amount : Long, // the maximum amount of the Billing Chips that can be chipped off from this Billing State. Can be 0 for an unbounded spending.
    private val expiryDate : Instant? = null, // the Billing State's expiry date. All transactions that include Billing States with an expiry date defined must also contain a Time Window.
    private val externalId : String? = null // a billing externalId to differentiate between multiple active billing states.  

Chipping Off

Actual business transactions should never contain BillingStates as inputs to prevent the private transaction history from being leaked.

BillingChipStates can be chipped off from BillingStates via ChipOffBillingStateFlow. The flow has to be invoked by a member who owns the BillingState. Chipping off doesn't require the BNO's signature.

class ChipOffBillingStateFlow(private val billingState : StateAndRef<BillingState>, // a reference to the Billing State to chip off from
                              private val chipAmount : Long, // an amount of each individual Billing Chip. ChipOffBillingStateFlow can chip off multiple BillingStateChips of the same amount in one go. 
                              private val numberOfChips : Int = 1, // a number of chips to chip off from the billingState. The total chipping-off amount is equal to numberOfChips * chipAmount.
                              private val timeTolerance : Duration = TIME_TOLERANCE // a time tolerance for the transaction Time window. Used only if the [billingState] defines an expiry date.

Using Chips

MemberBillingDatabaseService provides a number of convenience methods for fetching BillingChipStates from the vault:

class MemberDatabaseService {
    fun getBillingStateByLinearId(linearId : UniqueIdentifier) : StateAndRef<BillingState>? 
    fun getOurActiveBillingStates() : List<StateAndRef<BillingState>> 
    fun getOurActiveBillingStatesForExternalId(externalId: String) : List<StateAndRef<BillingState>>
    fun getOurActiveBillingStatesByIssuer(issuer : Party) : List<StateAndRef<BillingState>> 
    fun getBillingChipStatesByBillingStateLinearId(billingStateLinearId : UniqueIdentifier) : List<StateAndRef<BillingChipState>> 
    fun getBillingChipStateByLinearId(chipLinearId : UniqueIdentifier) : StateAndRef<BillingChipState>? 
    fun getOurBillingChipStatesByIssuer(issuer : Party) : List<StateAndRef<BillingChipState>> 

To start using billing / metering you would need to:

  1. Add a logic to your contract code, that verifies that each of the transaction participants has included enough of the Billing Chips as transaction inputs.
  2. When building a transaction in your flows, add BillingChipStates as transaction inputs with the respective BillingStates as reference inputs.
  3. Add a UseChip command for each of the billable participants.
  4. Add a transaction time window if any of the Billing States defines an expiry date. The lower boundary of the time window must be greater or equal to the latest of the expiry dates.

Returning a BillingState

In the end of the billing period, the BNO can request a member to return their BillingState via RequestReturnOfBillingStateFlow:

class RequestReturnOfBillingStateFlow(
    private val billingState : StateAndRef<BillingState> // the Billing State to return

To request a member to return all of their BillingStates (in the cases when there can be multiple of those) use RequestReturnOfBillingStateForPartyFlow:

class RequestReturnOfBillingStateForPartyFlow(
    private val party : Party // the party that is required to return their BillingStates

When returning the states, each member would automatically attach all of the unused BillingChipStates back to their respective BillingStates to decrement the spent amount.

Revoking a BillingState

BNOs can use RevokeBillingStateFlow to revoke a BillingState as a result of a governance action. Revocation doesn't require the member's signature.

class RevokeBillingStateFlow(
    private val billingState : StateAndRef<BillingState> // the BillingState to revoke

To revoke all BillingStates for a party (in the cases when there can be multiple of those) use RevokeBillingStatesForPartyFlow.

class RevokeBillingStatesForPartyFlow(
    val party : Party // the party to revoke the states from

Closing a BillingState

After a BillingState's obligations are settled, the BillingState can be closed via CloseBillingStateFlow.

class CloseBillingStateFlow(
    private val billingState : StateAndRef<BillingState> // the BillingState to close

How to add Billing Service to your project

Add the following lines to the repositories and dependencies blocks of your build.gradle file:

    repositories {
        maven {
          url ''

    dependencies {
        cordapp "com.r3.businessnetworks:billing-app:2.0"
        cordapp "com.r3.businessnetworks:billing-contracts-and-states:2.0"

Deploying the Billing Service

Getting the Jars

You will need 2 jars to run the Billing Service

  • billing-app:X.0.jar
  • billing-contracts-and-states:X.0.jar

If the version is 2.0, then you will also need (this is bundled for 3.0 onwards):

  • businessnetworks-utilities-2.0.jar

You can get the jars from the r3 artifactory:

Alternatively, you can build the project from source, from corda-solutions directory run: ./gradlew build

Install the Jars on the node

  1. Place the billing-app:X.0.jar and billing-contracts-and-states:X.0.jar into your node's cordapp directory.

  2. Create/ move into the cordapps/config directory.

  3. Create a billing-app.conf file with the following content, updated for your specific network details:

    notaryName = "O=Notary, L=London, C=GB"
    bnoName = "O=BNO, L=London, C=GB"
  4. Restart the node.

You can’t perform that action at this time.