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Author Topic: href payto: proposal  (Read 1108 times)
ploum
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May 08, 2011, 11:21:47 PM
 #1

A very common use-case with bitcoin is to visit a website asking for payment or donation with a bitcoin address like 1QHRvXFt6gQuafYUVbfRRpocrkKcqT3Sby, to copy it, to paste it in your bitcoin client to make the payment.

I propose to make a new protocol understood by browsers who would be payto:.

(As example, we already have mailto: and, in Ubuntu, apt: )

The proposed syntax is very simple:

Code:
<a href="payto:1QHRvXFt6gQuafYUVbfRRpocrkKcqT3Sby">Send me a donation of your choice</a>

Would open a payment window in the bitcoin client, with the amount field left to blank. The user have to fill the amount and press OK to send the money.


Code:
<a href="payto:1QHRvXFt6gQuafYUVbfRRpocrkKcqT3Sby?25">Alpaga socks checkout: 25 bitcoins</a>

The following link would open the payment window within the bitcoin client with the amount field set to 25.

As you can see, it could make payments a lot more user-friendly.

Things to consider:

1) An extension adding support for payto: should be written for major browsers. The fact that Ubuntu added the support for apt: easily should give us some confidence.

2a) The official bitcoin client might need to be modified to accept an external command opening a new payment window. It should be standardized to allow other clients to do the same.

2b) Maybe there should be a big warning/confirmation/cancellation timeframe to avoid people clicking on a link then clicking on OK without realizing. The confirmation window should probably indicate the URL where you clicked, with the originators of the SSL certificate (biggest warning if it's not an https website), like:

"The website fritalk.com asked you to pay 25 bitcoins. Fritalk.com is certified by "Fritalk corporation". Once agreed, this transaction could not be cancelled.   [Cancel the transaction] [Send 25btc to Fritalk.com now] "


What do you think?

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BitterTea
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May 08, 2011, 11:25:29 PM
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There's a URI scheme very similar to what you propose already implemented in a few pieces of software. I think it's actually been implemented in some form in the main Bitcoin client, but there is some dispute over the implementation details.

https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/URI_Scheme
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May 09, 2011, 02:58:27 AM
 #3

FYI: The YouTube video "How to buy a Pizza with Bitcoin" shows a Firefox plugin which helps handle your Bitcoin payments.

Nice idea ploum, but...
Your idea is asking the browser to interact with the PC in a way which is not commonly done, for security reasons.

If you search the web, you can find at least a couple examples of a protocol for ' ssh:// ' (for example) which runs on your browser. "Geeks" can follow the tutorial and enjoy launching PuTTY from a URL/Browser Link, but you are not (ever) going to get the mainstream browsers to add this to their core code.

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ploum
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May 09, 2011, 07:20:19 AM
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If you search the web, you can find at least a couple examples of a protocol for ' ssh:// ' (for example) which runs on your browser. "Geeks" can follow the tutorial and enjoy launching PuTTY from a URL/Browser Link, but you are not (ever) going to get the mainstream browsers to add this to their core code.

As long as bitcoin is not mainstream, it doesn't make sense to have it mainstream anyway but having a Firefox/Chrome extension would be already a huge step. We could advertise those extensions on bitcoin.org. People downloading the client could then download the extension. People using online-wallet like mybitcoin could use another extension.

Now, there's the security concern but I believe that it could be addressed. After all, mailto: was, AFAIK, never abused to make people send SPAM or Viruses. Which means it is secure enough.

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May 09, 2011, 09:34:21 AM
 #5

FYI:
ssh:// links require a 'custom' change* to the Windows registry.
*Referring to the ' ssh:// ' version I'm familiar with which does not require a browser plugin.

(Some type of) Bitcoin payto:// URL's already exist for Firefox, obviously with a browser plugin.

The exact format you mentioned (i.e  <a href="payto:1QHRvXFt6gQuafYUVbfRRpocrkKcqT3Sby">Send me a donation of your choice</a>) is certainly possible. I like your idea, just simply pointing out that getting it into all browsers would be a stretch.



There's a URI scheme very similar to what you propose already implemented in a few pieces of software. I think it's actually been implemented in some form in the main Bitcoin client, but there is some dispute over the implementation details.

https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/URI_Scheme

Proposed specification...
So those ideas are being developed and then each browser company/project needs to eventually accept and use the specs (that code does not currently work, in standard browsers), is that correct?

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May 09, 2011, 12:10:58 PM
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The bitcoin: URI linked in the second post has been implemented and is waiting around in a pull request for when Gavin (+others) get a chance to look it over.  It maps the proper windows registry keys in the installer, but Linux and Mac are a bit harder.  Linux should be doable but it depends on Gnome vs KDE and such plus there is no installer so it will have to be done manually for now.  Mac is a different story and it looks like they don't pass URLs like every other OS so someone will have to implement that manually.

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Luke-Jr
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May 09, 2011, 02:08:51 PM
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All the clients besides the wx one on bitcoin.org support bitcoin: URIs (including Spesmilo, which sets up Windows and KDE to use it). I wrote a patch for the wx client a couple weeks ago, but it seems like due to the developers of that client's bigotry, it will either not be merged, or will be molested to break compatibility (against my express wishes when I released it) before being merged.

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May 09, 2011, 02:13:54 PM
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I wrote a patch for the wx client a couple weeks ago, but it seems like due to the developers of that client's bigotry, it will either not be merged, or will be molested to break compatibility (against my express wishes when I released it) before being merged.
Luke, I'm sorry, but when votes are held (votes written by you on this forum) and they vote specifically to change the protocol to kill unused features in it, that is not bigotry.  Have you ever seen a bitcoin: link?  If they aren't used yet, changing the spec doesn't break anything.

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May 09, 2011, 02:56:12 PM
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Luke, I'm sorry, but when votes are held (votes written by you on this forum) and they vote specifically to change the protocol to kill unused features in it, that is not bigotry.  Have you ever seen a bitcoin: link?  If they aren't used yet, changing the spec doesn't break anything.
UseFUL features, killed by bigots to make things harder for people who don't happen to have the same PREFERENCES as them. Yes, bitcoin: URIs have been/are used.

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