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bitcoin utils and protocol in ruby.
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This is a ruby library for interacting with the bitcoin protocol/network.

Some of the main features are:

  • bitcoin utility functions for base58, ECC, etc. (Bitcoin::Util)

  • parse/create (almost?) all protocol messages (Bitcoin::Protocol)

  • connect to peers and exchange messages (Bitcoin::Network::Node, NODE)

  • load the blockchain from the network and stay in sync (WITHOUT verification yet!)

  • store and the blockchain and query for txouts (Bitcoin::Storage)

  • script implementation, create/run scripts and verify signatures (Bitcoin::Script)

  • create transactions (and even blocks!) (Bitcoin::Protocol, Bitcoin::Builder)

  • manage keys (Bitcoin::Key) in a wallet (Bitcoin::Wallet, WALLET)

  • there is even a highly experimental(!) Bitcoin::Gui


We assume you already have a ruby 1.9 compatible interpreter and rubygems environment.

git clone; cd bitcoin-ruby
ruby -Ilib bin/bitcoin_node

if you want to install it system-wide, just build the gem and install it

gem build bitcoin-ruby.gemspec && gem install bitcoin-ruby-0.0.1.gem

now you can just call bitcoin_node from anywhere.

Note that some aspects of the library (such as networking, storage, etc.) need additional dependencies which are not specified in the gemspec. The core requirements are intentionally kept to a minimum, so nobody has to install unneeded dependencies.

  • eventmachine to run a node / connect to peers

  • sequel, sqlite3/pg/mysql to use a storage backend

  • em-dns or nslookup to get peer addrs from DNS seeds

  • gir_ffi for the gui

  • bacon to run the specs


There is a NODE which connects to the network and downloads the blockchain into a database. see Bitcoin::Network::Node.

It also opens an extra socket for clients to connect where they can call certain methods, ask for information or register callbacks for events. see Bitcoin::Network::CommandClient.

There is a WALLET implementation to manage a set of keys, list balances and create transactions. see Bitcoin::Wallet

Library Usage

There are different aspects to the library which can be used separately or in combination. Here are some Ideas of what you could do. There are also some scripts which you can run, see EXAMPLES.


Generate a Bitcoin::Key

key = Bitcoin::generate_key
key #=> [<privkey>, <pubkey>]

Get the address from a public key

address = Bitcoin::pubkey_to_address(key[1])
address #=> <bitcoin address>

Check if an address is valid

Bitcoin::valid_address?(address) #=> true

Blocks / Transactions parsing

Parse a Bitcoin::Protocol::Block

raw_block ='spec/bitcoin/fixtures/rawblock-0.bin', 'rb') {|f|}
blk =
blk.hash #=> 00000000839a8e6886ab5951d76f411475428afc90947ee320161bbf18eb6048
blk.tx.count #=> 1
blk.to_hash #=> ...
Bitcoin::Protocol::Block.from_json( blk.to_json )

Parse a Bitcoin::Protocol::Tx

raw_tx ='spec/bitcoin/fixtures/rawtx-01.bin', 'rb') {|f|}
tx =
tx.hash #=> 6e9dd16625b62cfcd4bf02edb89ca1f5a8c30c4b1601507090fb28e59f2d02b4 #=> 1
tx.out.size #=> 2
tx.to_hash #=> ...
Bitcoin::Protocol::Tx.from_json( tx.to_json )[0].pk_script).to_string
#=> "OP_DUP OP_HASH160 b2e21c1db922e3bdc529de7b38b4c401399e9afd OP_EQUALVERIFY OP_CHECKSIG"

Transaction verification / Scripts

Get the matching transactions (in this example tx1 is the spending transaction)

rawtx1 ="spec/bitcoin/fixtures/rawtx-f4184fc596403b9d638783cf57adfe4c75c605f6356fbc91338530e9831e9e16.bin", 'rb') {|f|}
rawtx2 ="spec/bitcoin/fixtures/rawtx-0437cd7f8525ceed2324359c2d0ba26006d92d856a9c20fa0241106ee5a597c9.bin", 'rb') {|f|}
tx1 =
tx2 =

Then simply ask the transaction to verify an input

tx1.verify_input_signature(0, tx2) #=> true


If you want to control the Bitcoin::Script yourself, you can do so

txin =
txout = tx2.out[txin.prev_out_index]
script = + txout.pk_script)

result = do |pubkey, sig, hash_type|
  hash = tx1.signature_hash_for_input(0, nil, txout.pk_script)
  Bitcoin.verify_signature(hash, sig, pubkey.unpack("H*")[0])
result #=> true

Create Transactions


Node / Network connections

The Bitcoin::Network::Node can connect to peers and download the blockchain into a Bitcoin::Storage backend. For now it works completely self-contained:

node = # options = {:network => :bitcoin, ...}

In the future you will be able to register callbacks to the node and control many aspects of its operation yourself. Also see NODE.

If you want to implement your own node, see lib/bitcoin/connection.rb or lib/bitcoin/network/node.rb for examples.

Storage / Database backends

There is support for multiple database backends, but currently the only stable one is the Bitcoin::Storage::Backends::SequelStore backend. All backends implement the interface defined in Bitcoin::Storage::Backends::StoreBase and return Bitcoin::Storage::Models.

store = Bitcoin::Storage.sequel(:db => "sqlite://bitcoin.db") # in-memory db
store.get_head #=> block
txouts = store.get_txouts_for_address("15yN7NPEpu82sHhB6TzCW5z5aXoamiKeGy")
txouts.first.value #=> 5000000000
txouts.first.type #=> :pubkey
txouts.first.get_address #=> "15yN7NPEpu82sHhB6TzCW5z5aXoamiKeGy"

See Bitcoin::Storage::Backends::StoreBase, Bitcoin::Storage::Backends::SequelStore and Bitcoin::Storage::Models for details.


Always trying to improve, any help appreciated! If anything is unclear to you, let us know!

Documentation is generated using RDoc

rake rdoc

The specs are also a good place to see how something works.


The specs can be run with

rake bacon

or, if you want to run a single spec

ruby spec/bitcoin/bitcoin_spec.rb

If you make changes to the code or add functionality, please also add specs.


If you are curious or like to participate in development, drop by #bitcoin-ruby on!

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