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burn-stream is a world-writable append-only log using burned bitcoins.

Build Status npm

A burn stream is a series of special Bitcoin transactions that can be efficiently retrieved by any client, including a simplified payment verification client. Burn streams should be usable in many different applications. Anyone can write to a burn stream. Each message in a burn stream has a weight that quantifies how much money the writer burned in order to perform the write.

This library presents a burn stream as a Javascript object stream. Here's an example message that this library might produce. It says, "okay" with a weight of 100,000 satoshis.

  message: <Buffer 6f 6b 61 79>,
  satoshis: 100000,
  output: <instance of bitcore.Transaction.Output>,
  burnieTx: <output from a burnie stream>

This library is based on burnie and webcoin.

Getting started


Run npm install burn-stream.


See example.js.

Note that burn-stream does not guarantee that the data will be delivered in chronological order.


See burn-stream-writer.

Creating a burn stream

You may want to create a new burn stream for your application. In this case, you'll need to create an app config file. For a working example, see example-config.json.


  • networkName must be livenet or testnet.
  • You can generate an unspendable address with Adam Krellenstein's unspendable library.
  • The shorter your binary prefix, the more information you'll be able to fit into your messages, but the more accidental collisions you'll get.
  • Ensure that the block hash of your checkpoint is correct.

The burn-stream protocol

The burn-stream protocol is a simple way of storing data in the Bitcoin blockchain. It emphasizes ease of implementation and compatibility with SPV clients. Anyone can write or read from any burn stream.

Burn stream

A burn stream is a sequence of special transactions in the Bitcoin blockchain, intended for a particular purpose. Each burn stream has two identifiers:

  • An obviously unspendable address, e.g. mvBurnStreamDemoXXXXXXXXXXXXX2cyY3.
  • A short binary prefix for OP_RETURN messages, e.g. burnz.

It's probably not a good idea to reuse an existing burn stream for a different purpose, because this changes the contract of the existing burn stream.


A BurnStream transaction is a special Bitcoin transaction. It must include an "indexing output" for efficiently locating the transaction and one or more "data outputs" that contain the data. It may include any number of additional arbitrary outputs, such as a change outputs.

A BurnStream transaction may include arbitrary inputs.

Indexing output

The purpose of the indexing output is to efficiently indicate that a transaction is part of a particular burn stream; other than that, it doesn't contain any data. The indexing output is simply a pay-to-PubkeyHash output that is sent to the obviously unspendable address for that burn stream (e.g. mvBurnStreamDemoXXXXXXXXXXXXX2cyY3).

This output will let the transaction be picked up by SPV clients by using a BIP 37 Bloom filter. The presence of an indexing output may allow burn-stream to make use of future Bitcoin enhancements, such as ultimate blockchain compression. It's worth noting that this is currently a controversial use of a P2PKH transaction.

It is recommended to pay more than the dust threshold to the burn address. Since the dust threshold may change, it's better to be on the safe side by leaving a margin.

Data outputs

The purpose of a data output is to store binary data.

A data output is an OP_RETURN output containing the prefix for the stream (e.g. burnz), plus some binary data.

It is not recommended to send any bitcoins to data outputs, unless you're using them for weighting. It is also not recommended to exceed the default relay length for OP_RETURN transactions.

Message weights

Every message in a stream has a weight associated with it, measured in satoshis. The weight is used to measure the writer's level of commitment to the message.

Call the amount spent to the indexing output y. Given data outputs i in 1...D where each output spends x_i satoshis, the weight for data output i is x_i + y * x_i / sum(x_1 ... x_D). In the case where sum(x_1 ... x_D) = 0, the weight for data output i is x_i + y / D.


A world-writable append-only log using burned bitcoins






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