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README.md

Seth

Seth is an Ethereum client tool—like a "MetaMask for the command line"—maintained by the DappHub collective.

👵 If you're a command-line hacker, Seth will make you go "It's a Unix system—I know this!"

📠 If you're doing blockchain automation, Seth is an excellent base for deploy scripts, integration tests, and bots.

💸 If you love open source finance, Seth is a sci-fi future where you can manage funds from the command line.

New: Seth supports signing transactions with Ledger Nano S hardware wallets—even if you use a remote RPC node like Infura's.

"One indicator I look for in a healthy open source project is how many useful tools come out of its team as a side effect of their efforts." —@danfinlay

"Looks like a great set of CLI tools, very devopsy." —Andreas Antonopolous

"The Unix approach you've taken is perfect." —immutability


Contents


Installing

Seth is distributed as part of the Dapp tools suite.

Configuration

Seth has options that can be specified via command-line flags or environment variables.

Seth looks in the following places for configuration, in descending order of precedence:

  • ./.sethrc
  • XDG_CONFIG_HOME/seth/sethrc
  • ~/.sethrc

The configuration is loaded as a shell script (Bash 4 syntax). This is a convenient place to set default options by exporting environment variables.

Example .sethrc file

# Use Infura's mainnet node for all RPC calls
export SETH_CHAIN=ethlive

# Set an address as the default sender
export ETH_FROM=0xd08f67044c53d723686e002c5b880f73674e164c

# Look for my key files in a custom directory
export ETH_KEYSTORE=~/secrets/ethereum

Note that flags given to the seth command will override these settings.

Connecting to the blockchain

By default, Seth assumes a local RPC node on the standard port.

You can specify another RPC URL using the variable ETH_RPC_URL or the flag --rpc-url.

Alternatively, you can use a default remote node (operated by Infura) using the variable SETH_CHAIN or the flag --chain (or -C). Allowed values: ethlive (aka mainnet), ropsten, kovan, and rinkeby.

Note: If you frequently use Seth with the Infura nodes, you should sign up for an Infura API key and use your custom URL:

export ETH_RPC_URL=https://mainnet.infura.io/<API-KEY>

Key management and signing

By default, Seth does not use the RPC node for key management or signing transactions. Instead, it uses keys stored on your machine, as well as your Ledger Nano S hardware wallet (if present). Thus, you do not need to "unlock" your account in Geth or Parity.

Seth looks for keys in the standard directories of Geth and Parity. To configure a custom location for your key files, use the ETH_KEYSTORE variable or the --keystore flag.

If your key is protected with a password, Seth will prompt you each time you make a transaction. If you are confident in your computer security, and you want to (say) run a bot script, you can set the ETH_PASSWORD variable (flag: --password) to point to a file containing your password.

If you do want to use the RPC node for key management and signing, set the ETH_RPC_ACCOUNTS variable or use the --rpc-accounts flag. This probably means you need to use Geth's or Parity's account management tools to "unlock" your account.

Note: Seth uses the ethsign tool for signing transactions. This tool uses Geth as a library.

Hardware wallets

Seth will scan for Ledger Nano S hardware wallets by default.

The Ledger wallet is only available to Seth while it is unlocked, in the Ethereum app, and with browser mode off.

On Linux, you may have to enable some USB permissions. See the Ledger Wallet Linux instructions.

When you use a sending address that belongs to the hardware wallet, Seth will automatically use it for signing transactions.

Note: Seth currently only looks for the first four addresses derived from your seed phrase. If the sending address is not one of those, Seth will not be able to sign transactions.

Your address

When making transactions or doing read-only calls, Seth takes the sending address from the ETH_FROM variable or the --from flag.


Basic usage: a tutorial

This section assumes that you have something like the example .sethrc file specifying how to connect to the blockchain and a default sender address.

Ether transactions

Here is how you might use seth send to send one wei—the smallest possible amount of ether—to the Ethereum Foundation's donation address:

$ seth send --value 1 0xfB6916095ca1df60bB79Ce92cE3Ea74c37c5d359
seth-send: warning: `ETH_GAS' not set; using default gas amount
Ethereum account passphrase (not echoed):
seth-send: Published transaction with 0 bytes of calldata.
seth-send: 0xe428d4bb148ded426777ae892578507e4f394f608ad9d3a9d0229e8348ba72e3
seth-send: Waiting for transaction receipt...
seth-send: Transaction included in block 4908738.

Helper commands

The $(...) shell syntax for "command substitution" is very useful with Seth. It allows the output of one command to become a parameter to another. An example follows.

Generally, you don't transact in terms of wei amounts, but in fractional amounts of ether. You can convert an ether amount into a wei amount using seth --to-wei. Here, we send 1.5 ETH:

$ fund=0xfB6916095ca1df60bB79Ce92cE3Ea74c37c5d359
$ seth send --value $(seth --to-wei 1.5 eth) $fund

There is also seth --from-wei for converting wei amounts into a more readable notation.

For more advanced blockchain interactions, the helpers seth --abi-decode, seth --from-ascii, and seth --from-bin are also useful.

Checking ether balances

Now you can use seth balance to see how much is in the donation fund:

$ seth balance 0xfB6916095ca1df60bB79Ce92cE3Ea74c37c5d359
2963.72865500027557173E+18

You can use seth ls to check the ether balances of your own accounts:

$ seth ls
0xCC41D9831E4857B4F16914A356306fBeA734183A    0.24E+18
0xD9ceccea2BEE9a367d78658aBbB2Fe979b3877Ef    0.03409E+18

Reading from contracts

The basic tool to read information from a contract is seth call, which performs a call without publishing a transaction.

For example, you can read the total supply of the MakerDAO governance token using the ERC20 ABI:

$ MKR_TOKEN=0x9f8F72aA9304c8B593d555F12eF6589cC3A579A2
$ seth call $MKR_TOKEN "totalSupply()"
0x00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000d3c21bcecceda1000000

If the ABI function has parameters, you can supply them as additional arguments; for example, to check the balance of the MakerDAO fund:

$ MKR_FUND=0x7Bb0b08587b8a6B8945e09F1Baca426558B0f06a
$ seth call $MKR_TOKEN "balanceOf(address)" $MKR_FUND
0x0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000050d7e9ff54cf2725f61b

(See also token for a more convenient way to use ERC20 tokens.)

You can also use seth logs to read event logs from a contract or seth code to get a contract's bytecode.

Transacting with contracts

The seth send tool is not only capable of sending ether, but also of constructing, signing, and publishing contract transactions. This requires that you know the exact ABI method to use.

For example, to approve access to some of your Dai for the OasisDEX decentralized exchange using the ERC20 approval interface:

$ DAI=0x89d24A6b4CcB1B6fAA2625fE562bDD9a23260359
$ OASIS=0x14FBCA95be7e99C15Cc2996c6C9d841e54B79425
$ amount=$(seth --to-wei 0.5 ether)
$ seth send $DAI "approve(address,uint256)" $OASIS $amount

(Again, see token for a more convenient way to interact with ERC20 tokens.)

See seth send for details on passing arguments, doing asynchronous transactions, exit codes, and so on.


Commands

seth --abi-decode

Extract return values from hex data.

seth --abi-decode "<name>(<in-types>)(<out-types>)" <hexdata>

Decodes <hexdata> according to <out-types> (<in-types> are ignored).

seth --from-ascii

Convert text data into hex data.

seth --from-ascii <text>...

seth --from-bin

Convert binary data into hex data.

seth --from-bin <data.bin >data.hex

Reads binary data from standard input and prints it as hex data.

seth --from-wei

Convert a wei amount into another unit (ETH by default).

seth --from-wei <value> [<unit>]

The unit may be wei, gwei, eth, or ether.

seth --to-wei

Convert an ETH amount into wei.

seth --to-wei <value> [<unit>]

The unit may be wei, gwei, eth, or ether.

seth age

Show the timestamp of a block (the latest block by default).

seth age [--block <block>]

seth balance

Show the ether balance of an account.

seth balance [--block <block>] <account>

seth block

Print a table of information about a specific block.

seth block [--json] <block> [<field>]

If <field> is given, print only the value of that field.

The <block> may be either a block hash or a block number.

seth call

Call a contract without updating the blockchain.

seth call [<options>] <to> <sig> [<args>...]
seth call [<options>] <to> <calldata>

When given <sig> of the form <name>(<types>), perform ABI encoding to infer the calldata.

When <sig> also includes a return type, as name(<in-types>)(<out-types>), then also decode the return value.

Otherwise <calldata> should be hex data.

Flag Variable Default Synopsis
--block ETH_BLOCK latest block number
--from ETH_FROM n/a simulated sender
--gas ETH_GAS n/a simulated gas quantity
--value ETH_VALUE 0 simulated ether value

seth calldata

Pack a signature and an argument list into hexadecimal calldata.

seth calldata <sig> [<args>...]
seth calldata <file>
seth calldata <data>

When called with <sig> of the form <name>(<types>...), then perform ABI encoding to produce the hexadecimal calldata.

If <file> is given—containing at least one slash character—then treat it as a file name to read, and proceed as if the contents were passed as <data>.

Given <data>, ensure it is hexadecimal calldata starting with 0x and normalize it to lowercase.

seth chain

Print the symbolic name of the current blockchain by checking the genesis block hash.

Outputs one of ethlive, etclive, kovan, ropsten, morden, rinkeby, or unknown.

seth code

Print the bytecode of a contract.

seth code [--block <block>] <address>

If <block> is not given, the default is latest.

seth estimate

Estimate how much gas a transaction is likely to use, using the RPC node's gas estimation.

seth estimate [<options>] <to> <sig> [<args>]
seth estimate [<options>] <to> <sig> [<args>]
seth estimate [<options>] --create <code> <sig> [<args>]
seth estimate [<options>] --create <code> <data>

Options are similar to seth send, but no transaction is published.

seth events

Print the decoded events of a contract.

seth events [--block <block>] [--follow] <address>

To use this command, you need to set the SETH_ABI variable:

export SETH_ABI=$(seth abi "event Foo(uint bar);")

To use a JSON ABI file:

export SETH_ABI=$(seth --decorate-abi $(cat abi.json))

With --follow, the command blocks waiting for new events (like tail -f).

See also seth logs which does not decode events.

seth keccak

Print the Keccak-256 hash of an arbitrary piece of data.

seth keccak <data>

Note: this uses the RPC node for hashing, which may be inefficient.

seth logs

Print the undecoded transaction logs of a contract.

seth logs [--block <block>] [--follow] <address>

With --follow, the command blocks waiting for new events (like tail -f).

See also seth events which decodes logs using an ABI specification.

seth ls

Display a list of your accounts and their ether balances.

See Key management and signing for details on how Seth finds your accounts.

seth mktx

Make and signs a transaction without publishing it.

seth mktx [<options>] <to> <sig> [<args>]
seth mktx [<options>] <to> <calldata>

Options are as for seth send but no transaction is published.

See also seth publish for publishing a signed transaction.

seth nonce

Show the number of transactions successfully sent from an address (its nonce).

seth nonce [--block <block>] <address>

seth publish

Publish an already signed transaction to the blockchain.

seth publish [<txdata>]

If <txdata> is not given, read it from standard input instead.

seth receipt

Wait for a transaction receipt to appear and print it in tabular form.

seth receipt [--async] <txhash> [<field>]

Print all fields of the transaction receipt unless <field> is specified.

Unless --async is given, wait indefinitely for the receipt to appear.

seth send

Sign and publish a transaction to the blockchain.

seth send [<options>] <to> <sig> [<args>]
seth send [<options>] <to> [<data>]
seth send [<options>] --create <code> <sig> [<args>]
seth send [<options>] --create <code> [<data>]
Flag Variable Default Synopsis
--block ETH_BLOCK latest block number
--from ETH_FROM n/a sender
--gas ETH_GAS node decides gas quantity
--gas-price ETH_GAS_PRICE node decides gas price
--value ETH_VALUE 0 ether value
--create SETH_CREATE create contract
--resend SETH_RESEND reuse nonce
--async SETH_ASYNC don't wait
--status SETH_STATUS check success

See Key management and signing for details on how Seth signs transactions.

With --async, just print the transaction hash. Otherwise, wait for the receipt and print as with seth receipt.

With --status (which excludes --async), check the status field of the transaction receipt and exit with an error code if the transaction failed. This is a post-Byzantium feature and will soon become the default behavior.

seth storage

Show the raw value of a contract's storage slot.

seth storage [--block <block>] <address> <slot>

seth tx

Print a table of information about a transaction.

seth tx <txhash> [<field>]

Show all fields unless <field> is given.