32 releases (16 breaking)

new 0.17.5 Jun 16, 2024
0.16.0 May 7, 2024
0.14.1 Mar 31, 2024
0.12.2 Dec 23, 2023
0.1.0 Jun 18, 2023

#258 in Data structures

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Used in 4 crates


5.5K SLoC

Blockchain Commons Gordian Envelope for Rust

by Wolf McNally


The Gordian Envelope protocol specifies a structured format for hierarchical binary data focused on the ability to transmit it in a privacy-focused way. Envelopes are designed to facilitate "smart documents" and have a number of unique features including: easy representation of a variety of semantic structures, a built-in Merkle-like digest tree, deterministic representation using CBOR, and the ability for the holder of a document to selectively encrypt or elide specific parts of a document without invalidating the document structure including the digest tree, or any cryptographic signatures that rely on it.

Getting Started

bc-envelope = "0.17.5"


Gordian Envelope is currently specified in this IETF Internet Draft.

Gordian Principles

Gordian Envelope is a reference implementation meant to display the Gordian Principles, which are philosophical and technical underpinnings to Blockchain Commons' Gordian technology. This includes:

  • Independence. how does it demonstrate independence
  • Privacy. how does it demonstrate privacy
  • Resilience. how does it demonstrate resilience
  • Openness. how does it demonstrate openness

Blockchain Commons apps do not phone home and do not run ads. Some are available through various app stores; all are available in our code repositories for your usage.


Status - Community Review

Gordian Envelope is currently in a community review stage. We would appreciate your consideration and/or testing of the libraries. Obviously, let us know if you find any mistakes or problems. But also let us know if the API meets your needs, if the functionality is easy to use, if the usage of Rust feels properly standardized, and if the library solves any problems you are encountering when doing this kind of coding. Also let us know how it could be improved and what else you'd need for this to be just right for your usage. Comments can be posted to the Gordian Developer Community.

Because this library is still in a community review stage, it should not be used for production tasks until it has had further testing and auditing.

See Blockchain Commons' Development Phases.

Version History


Unless otherwise noted (either in this /README.md or in the file's header comments) the contents of this repository are Copyright © 2020 by Blockchain Commons, LLC, and are licensed under the spdx:BSD-2-Clause Plus Patent License.

In most cases, the authors, copyright, and license for each file reside in header comments in the source code. When it does not, we have attempted to attribute it accurately in the table below.

This table below also establishes provenance (repository of origin, permalink, and commit id) for files included from repositories that are outside of this repo. Contributors to these files are listed in the commit history for each repository, first with changes found in the commit history of this repo, then in changes in the commit history of their repo of their origin.

File From Commit Authors & Copyright (c) License
exception-to-the-rule.c or exception-folder https://github.com/community/repo-name/PERMALINK https://github.com/community/repo-name/commit/COMMITHASH 2020 Exception Author MIT


To build Gordian Envelope you'll need to use the following tools:

  • autotools - Gnu Build System from Free Software Foundation (intro).

Other prerequisites include:



The following external libraries are used with Gordian Envelope:

Libraries may be marked as use (the current version of the library is used), fork (a specific version has been forked to the BCC repos for usage), or include (files from a specific version have been included).

Derived from ...

This Gordian Envelope project is either derived from or was inspired by:

Subsequent Usage

Adapted by ...

These are adaptations, conversions, and wrappers that make Gordian Envelope available for other languages:

Used by ...

These are other projects that directly use Gordian Envelope:

Libraries may be marked as use (the current version of our repo is used), fork (a specific version of our repo has been forked for usage), or include (files from a specific version of our repo have been included).

Used with ...

These are other projects that work with or leverage Gordian Envelope:

Financial Support

Gordian Envelope is a project of Blockchain Commons. We are proudly a "not-for-profit" social benefit corporation committed to open source & open development. Our work is funded entirely by donations and collaborative partnerships with people like you. Every contribution will be spent on building open tools, technologies, and techniques that sustain and advance blockchain and internet security infrastructure and promote an open web.

To financially support further development of Gordian Envelope and other projects, please consider becoming a Patron of Blockchain Commons through ongoing monthly patronage as a GitHub Sponsor. You can also support Blockchain Commons with bitcoins at our BTCPay Server.

Project Sponsors

Thanks to our project sponsors for their support of Gordian Envelope:




We encourage public contributions through issues and pull requests! Please review CONTRIBUTING.md for details on our development process. All contributions to this repository require a GPG signed Contributor License Agreement.


The best place to talk about Blockchain Commons and its projects is in our GitHub Discussions areas.

Gordian Developer Community. For standards and open-source developers who want to talk about interoperable wallet specifications, please use the Discussions area of the Gordian Developer Community repo. This is where you talk about Gordian specifications such as Gordian Envelope, bc-shamir, Sharded Secret Key Reconstruction, and bc-ur as well as the larger Gordian Architecture, its Principles of independence, privacy, resilience, and openness, and its macro-architectural ideas such as functional partition (including airgapping, the original name of this community).

Gordian User Community. For users of the Gordian reference apps, including Gordian Coordinator, Gordian Seed Tool, Gordian Server, Gordian Wallet, and SpotBit as well as our whole series of CLI apps. This is a place to talk about bug reports and feature requests as well as to explore how our reference apps embody the Gordian Principles.

Blockchain Commons Discussions. For developers, interns, and patrons of Blockchain Commons, please use the discussions area of the Community repo to talk about general Blockchain Commons issues, the intern program, or topics other than those covered by the Gordian Developer Community or the Gordian User Community.

Other Questions & Problems

As an open-source, open-development community, Blockchain Commons does not have the resources to provide direct support of our projects. Please consider the discussions area as a locale where you might get answers to questions. Alternatively, please use this repository's issues feature. Unfortunately, we can not make any promises on response time.

If your company requires support to use our projects, please feel free to contact us directly about options. We may be able to offer you a contract for support from one of our contributors, or we might be able to point you to another entity who can offer the contractual support that you need.


The following people directly contributed to this repository. You can add your name here by getting involved. The first step is learning how to contribute from our CONTRIBUTING.md documentation.

Name Role Github Email GPG Fingerprint
Christopher Allen Principal Architect @ChristopherA <ChristopherA@LifeWithAlacrity.com> FDFE 14A5 4ECB 30FC 5D22 74EF F8D3 6C91 3574 05ED
Wolf McNally Contributor @WolfMcNally <Wolf@WolfMcNally.com> 9436 52EE 3844 1760 C3DC  3536 4B6C 2FCF 8947 80AE

Responsible Disclosure

We want to keep all of our software safe for everyone. If you have discovered a security vulnerability, we appreciate your help in disclosing it to us in a responsible manner. We are unfortunately not able to offer bug bounties at this time.

We do ask that you offer us good faith and use best efforts not to leak information or harm any user, their data, or our developer community. Please give us a reasonable amount of time to fix the issue before you publish it. Do not defraud our users or us in the process of discovery. We promise not to bring legal action against researchers who point out a problem provided they do their best to follow the these guidelines.

Reporting a Vulnerability

Please report suspected security vulnerabilities in private via email to ChristopherA@BlockchainCommons.com (do not use this email for support). Please do NOT create publicly viewable issues for suspected security vulnerabilities.

The following keys may be used to communicate sensitive information to developers:

Name Fingerprint
Christopher Allen FDFE 14A5 4ECB 30FC 5D22 74EF F8D3 6C91 3574 05ED

You can import a key by running the following command with that individual’s fingerprint: gpg --recv-keys "<fingerprint>" Ensure that you put quotes around fingerprints that contain spaces.


~235K SLoC