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Rest API for blockchain
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  2. Other 1.7%
Branch: master
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Helium Blockchain API

The Helium Blockchain API is a full blockchain node that exposes a JSON API which can be consumed by client applications like mobile applications or block explorers.

Build status


In order to run a local instance of the API a number of dependencies must be met.

(Note: These are required to build and run this node. Releases will be built in the future which require no external dependencies)


If using macOS make sure you have Homebrew installed. We'll use it to install the following dependencies

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

Native Dependencies

$ brew install autoconf automake wget yasm gmp libtool cmake clang-format lcov doxygen libsodium


For macOS:

$ brew install elixir

For Ubuntu/Debian, the default package manager is woefully out of date so follow instructions

$ wget && sudo dpkg -i erlang-solutions_1.0_all.deb
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install esl-erlang
$ sudo apt-get install elixir


Install PostgreSQL if you haven't already and configure it with a default postgres/postgres user/pasword for now.

For macOS:

$ brew install postgresql
$ initdb /usr/local/var/postgres
$ brew services start postgresql

For Ubuntu/Debian,

$ sudo apt install postgresql
$ sudo -u postgres psql postgres
$ sudo -u postgres createuser --superuser $USER

NOTE: please edit config/prod.exs with your database credentials, otherwise it is assumed environment variables of DATABASE_USER, DATABASE_PASS, DATABASE_NAME, and DATABASE_HOST are present.

Clone blockchain-api

Clone this blockchain-api repo:

$ git clone

Fetch Elixir Dependencies

cd into blockchain-api and use mix to fetch the erlang/elixir dependencies.

$ mix deps.get

Using the API

Building a release

Unless you're doing some development and need debugging you'll want to build a prod release.

cd into the blockchain-api folder and then run:

$ make release

Starting the API

Once the API has been built, you can start it by running:

$ make prod-start

This will connect the node to the main network and use the genesis block contained in the priv/prod folder.

You can check that the API is running by visiting http://localhost:4001/ from a web browser. You should get an ok response.

NOTE: by default, the config/prod.exs configuration file assumes that the base directory is /var/data/blockchain-api/prod and that the API server should be running on either the PORT environment variable or port 4001. Please edit the port and base_dir variables in prod.exs as desired for your configuration.

The API also expects an environment variable called GOOGLE_MAPS_API_KEY to be set, which is used to reverse lookup the hotspot location.

The API routes are temporarily documented on Postman.

Using the CLI

Now that everything is working as intended, we can run a couple of quick CLI commands.

Firstly, check whether we are connected to the network and have a few peers:

$ _build/prod/rel/blockchain_api/bin/blockchain-api peer book -s

We can also check our block height:

$ _build/prod/rel/blockchain_api/bin/blockchain-api status height

Or run:

$ _build/prod/rel/blockchain_api/bin/blockchain-api

To get a list of commands.

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