Rust Bitcoin library
Latest commit 4b73c32 Oct 12, 2016 @apoelstra committed on GitHub Merge pull request #18 from rotwatsb/GetAddr
Add GetAddr message


Rust Bitcoin Library

Library with support for de/serialization, parsing and executing on data structures and network messages related to Bitcoin and other blockchain-based currencies.


Supports (or should support)

  • De/serialization of Bitcoin protocol network messages
  • De/serialization of blocks and transactions
  • Script de/serialization and execution
  • Blockchain validation and utxoset building
  • Private keys and address creation, de/serialization and validation (including full BIP32 support)
  • Pay-to-contract support as in Appendix A of the Blockstream sidechains whitepaper


To use rust-bitcoin, just add the following to your Cargo.toml.

bitcoin = "0.3"

Known limitations


This library must not be used for consensus code (i.e. fully validating blockchain data). It technically supports doing this, but doing so is very ill-advised because there are many deviations, known and unknown, between this library and the Bitcoin Core reference implementation. In a consensus based cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin it is critical that all parties are using the same rules to validate data, and this library is simply unable to implement the same rules as Core.

Given the complexity of both C++ and Rust, it is unlikely that this will ever be fixed, and there are no plans to do so. Of course, patches to fix specific consensus incompatibilities are welcome.

Memory Usage

Currently this library's UTXO-set support is limited to an in-RAM hash tree. It can be serialized and deserialized to disk to avoid recomputing it all the time, but needs to be in memory to be used, which currently requires several gigabytes of RAM.

Patches are welcome. This is a priority but not a high one, due to lack of developer time.


Currently the documentation is very sparse. Patches to add usage examples and to expand on existing docs would be extremely appreciated.

Policy on Altcoins/Altchains

Patches which add support for non-Bitcoin cryptocurrencies by adding constants to existing enums (e.g. to set the network message magic-byte sequence) are welcome. Anything more involved will be considered on a case-by-case basis, as the altcoin landscape includes projects which frequently appear and disappear, and are poorly designed anyway and keeping the codebase maintainable is a large priority.

In general, things that improve cross-chain compatibility (e.g. support for cross-chain atomic swaps) are more likely to be accepted than things which support only a single blockchain.