Python FFI bindings for secp256k1 💫
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README.md

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Python FFI bindings for libsecp256k1 (an experimental and optimized C library for EC operations on curve secp256k1).

Installation

pip install secp256k1

Precompiled binary packages (wheels)

Precompiled binary wheels is available for Python 2.7, 3.3, 3.4, and 3.5 on Linux. To take advantage of those you need to use pip >= 8.1.0.

In case you don't want to use the binary packages you can prevent pip from using them with the following command:

pip install --no-binary secp256k1

Installation with compilation

If you either can't or don't want to use the binary package options described above read on to learn what is needed to install the source pacakge.

There are two modes of installation depending on whether you already have libsecp256k1 installed on your system:

Using a system installed libsecp256k1

If the library is already installed it should usually be automatically detected and used. However if libsecp256k1 is installed in a non standard location you can use the environment variables INCLUDE_DIR and LIB_DIR to point the way:

INCLUDE_DIR=/opt/somewhere/include LIB_DIR=/opt/somewhere/lib pip install --no-binary secp256k1
Using the bundled libsecp256k1

If on the other hand you don't have libsecp256k1 installed on your system, a bundled version will be built and used. In this case only the recovery module will be enabled since it's the only one not currently considered as "experimental" by the library authors. This can be overridden by setting the SECP_BUNDLED_EXPERIMENTAL environment variable:

SECP_BUNDLED_EXPERIMENTAL=1 pip install --no-binary secp256k1

For the bundled version to compile successfully you need to have a C compiler as well as the development headers for libffi and libgmp installed.

On Debian / Ubuntu for example the necessary packages are:

  • build-essential
  • automake
  • pkg-config
  • libtool
  • libffi-dev
  • libgmp-dev

On OS X the necessary homebrew packages are:

  • automake
  • pkg-config
  • libtool
  • libffi
  • gmp

Command line usage

Generate a private key and show the corresponding public key
$ python -m secp256k1 privkey -p

a1455c78a922c52f391c5784f8ca1457367fa57f9d7a74fdab7d2c90ca05c02e
Public key: 02477ce3b986ab14d123d6c4167b085f4d08c1569963a0201b2ffc7d9d6086d2f3
Sign a message
$ python -m secp256k1 sign \
	-k a1455c78a922c52f391c5784f8ca1457367fa57f9d7a74fdab7d2c90ca05c02e \
	-m hello

3045022100a71d86190354d64e5b3eb2bd656313422cdf7def69bf3669cdbfd09a9162c96e0220713b81f3440bff0b639d2f29b2c48494b812fa89b754b7b6cdc9eaa8027cf369
Check signature
$ python -m secp256k1 checksig \
	-p 02477ce3b986ab14d123d6c4167b085f4d08c1569963a0201b2ffc7d9d6086d2f3 \
	-m hello \
	-s 3045022100a71d86190354d64e5b3eb2bd656313422cdf7def69bf3669cdbfd09a9162c96e0220713b81f3440bff0b639d2f29b2c48494b812fa89b754b7b6cdc9eaa8027cf369

True
Generate a signature that allows recovering the public key
$ python -m secp256k1 signrec \
	-k a1455c78a922c52f391c5784f8ca1457367fa57f9d7a74fdab7d2c90ca05c02e \
	-m hello

515fe95d0780b11633f3352deb064f1517d58f295a99131e9389da8bfacd64422513d0cd4e18a58d9f4873b592afe54cf63e8f294351d1e612c8a297b5255079 1
Recover public key
$ python -m secp256k1 recpub \
	-s 515fe95d0780b11633f3352deb064f1517d58f295a99131e9389da8bfacd64422513d0cd4e18a58d9f4873b592afe54cf63e8f294351d1e612c8a297b5255079 \
	-i 1 \
	-m hello

Public key: 02477ce3b986ab14d123d6c4167b085f4d08c1569963a0201b2ffc7d9d6086d2f3

It is easier to get started with command line, but it is more common to use this as a library. For that, check the next sections.

API

class secp256k1.PrivateKey(privkey, raw, flags)

The PrivateKey class loads or creates a private key by obtaining 32 bytes from urandom and operates over it.

Instantiation parameters
  • privkey=None - generate a new private key if None, otherwise load a private key.
  • raw=True - if True, it is assumed that privkey is just a sequence of bytes, otherwise it is assumed that it is in the DER format. This is not used when privkey is not specified.
  • flags=secp256k1.ALL_FLAGS - see Constants.
Methods and instance attributes
  • pubkey: an instance of secp256k1.PublicKey.

  • private_key: raw bytes for the private key.

  • set_raw_privkey(privkey)
    update the private_key for this instance with the bytes specified by privkey. If privkey is invalid, an Exception is raised. The pubkey is also updated based on the new private key.

  • serialize() -> bytes
    convert the raw bytes present in private key to a hexadecimal string.

  • deserialize(privkey_ser) -> bytes
    convert from a hexadecimal string to raw bytes and update the pubkey and private_key for this instance.

  • tweak_add(scalar) -> bytes
    tweak the current private key by adding a 32 byte scalar to it and return a new raw private key composed of 32 bytes.

  • tweak_mul(scalar) -> bytes
    tweak the current private key by multiplying it by a 32 byte scalar and return a new raw private key composed of 32 bytes.

  • ecdsa_sign(msg, raw=False, digest=hashlib.sha256) -> internal object
    by default, create an ECDSA-SHA256 signature from the bytes in msg. If raw is True, then the digest function is not applied over msg, otherwise the digest must produce 256 bits or an Exception will be raised.

    The returned object is a structure from the C lib. If you want to store it (on a disk or similar), use ecdsa_serialize and later on use ecdsa_deserialize when loading.

  • ecdsa_sign_recoverable(msg, raw=False, digest=hashlib.sha256) -> internal object
    create a recoverable ECDSA signature. See ecdsa_sign for parameters description.

NOTE: ecdsa_sign_recoverable can only be used if the secp256k1 C library is compiled with support for it. If there is no support, an Exception will be raised when calling it.

  • schnorr_sign(msg, raw=False, digest=hashlib.sha256) -> bytes
    create a signature using a custom EC-Schnorr-SHA256 construction. It produces non-malleable 64-byte signatures which support public key recovery batch validation, and multiparty signing. msg, raw, and digest are used as described in ecdsa_sign.

  • schnorr_generate_nonce_pair(msg, raw=False, digest=hashlib.sha256) -> (internal object, internal object)
    generate a nonce pair deterministically for use with schnorr_partial_sign. msg, raw, and digest are used as described in ecdsa_sign.

  • schnorr_partial_sign(msg, privnonce, pubnonce_others, raw=False, digest=hashlib.sha256) -> bytes
    produce a partial Schnorr signature, which can be combined using schnorr_partial_combine to end up with a full signature that is verifiable using PublicKey.schnorr_verify. privnonce is the second item in the tuple returned by schnorr_generate_nonce_pair, pubnonce_others represent the combined public nonces excluding the one associated to this privnonce. msg, raw, and digest are used as described in ecdsa_sign.

    To combine pubnonces, use PublicKey.combine.

    Do not pass the pubnonce produced for the respective privnonce; combine the pubnonces from other signers and pass that instead.

class secp256k1.PublicKey(pubkey, raw, flags)

The PublicKey class loads an existing public key and operates over it.

Instantiation parameters
  • pubkey=None - do not load a public key if None, otherwise do.
  • raw=False - if False, it is assumed that pubkey has gone through PublicKey.deserialize already, otherwise it must be specified as bytes.
  • flags=secp256k1.FLAG_VERIFY - see Constants.
Methods and instance attributes
  • public_key: an internal object representing the public key.

  • serialize(compressed=True) -> bytes
    convert the public_key to bytes. If compressed is True, 33 bytes will be produced, otherwise 65 will be.

  • deserialize(pubkey_ser) -> internal object
    convert the bytes resulting from a previous serialize call back to an internal object and update the public_key for this instance. The length of pubkey_ser determines if it was serialized with compressed=True or not. This will raise an Exception if the size is invalid or if the key is invalid.

  • combine(pubkeys) -> internal object
    combine multiple public keys (those returned from PublicKey.deserialize) and return a public key (which can be serialized as any other regular public key). The public_key for this instance is updated to use the resulting combined key. If it is not possible the combine the keys, an Exception is raised.

  • tweak_add(scalar) -> internal object
    tweak the current public key by adding a 32 byte scalar times the generator to it and return a new PublicKey instance.

  • tweak_mul(scalar) -> internal object
    tweak the current public key by multiplying it by a 32 byte scalar and return a new PublicKey instance.

  • ecdsa_verify(msg, raw_sig, raw=False, digest=hashlib.sha256) -> bool
    verify an ECDSA signature and return True if the signature is correct, False otherwise. raw_sig is expected to be an object returned from ecdsa_sign (or if it was serialized using ecdsa_serialize, then first run it through ecdsa_deserialize). msg, raw, and digest are used as described in ecdsa_sign.

  • schnorr_verify(msg, schnorr_sig, raw=False, digest=hashlib.sha256) -> bool
    verify a Schnorr signature and return True if the signature is correct, False otherwise. schnorr_sig is expected to be the result from either schnorr_partial_combine or schnorr_sign. msg, raw, and digest are used as described in ecdsa_sign.

  • ecdh(scalar) -> bytes
    compute an EC Diffie-Hellman secret in constant time. The instance public_key is used as the public point, and the scalar specified must be composed of 32 bytes. It outputs 32 bytes representing the ECDH secret computed. If the scalar is invalid, an Exception is raised.

NOTE: ecdh can only be used if the secp256k1 C library is compiled with support for it. If there is no support, an Exception will be raised when calling it.

class secp256k1.ECDSA

The ECDSA class is intended to be used as a mix in. Its methods can be accessed from any secp256k1.PrivateKey or secp256k1.PublicKey instances.

Methods
  • ecdsa_serialize(raw_sig) -> bytes
    convert the result from ecdsa_sign to DER.

  • ecdsa_deserialie(ser_sig) -> internal object
    convert DER bytes to an internal object.

  • ecdsa_serialize_compact(raw_sig) -> bytes
    convert the result from ecdsa_sign to a compact serialization of 64 bytes.

  • ecdsa_deserialize_compact(ser_sig) -> internal object
    convert a compact serialization of 64 bytes to an internal object.

  • ecdsa_signature_normalize(raw_sig, check_only=False) -> (bool, internal object | None)
    check and optionally convert a signature to a normalized lower-S form. If check_only is True then the normalized signature is not returned.

    This function always return a tuple containing a boolean (True if not previously normalized or False if signature was already normalized), and the normalized signature. When check_only is True, the normalized signature returned is always None.

  • ecdsa_recover(msg, recover_sig, raw=False, digest=hashlib.sha256) -> internal object
    recover an ECDSA public key from a signature generated by ecdsa_sign_recoverable. recover_sig is expected to be an object returned from ecdsa_sign_recoverable (or if it was serialized using ecdsa_recoverable_serialize, then first run it through ecdsa_recoverable_deserialize). msg, raw, and digest are used as described in ecdsa_sign.

    In order to call ecdsa_recover from a PublicKey instance, it's necessary to create the instance by settings flags to ALL_FLAGS: secp256k1.PublicKey(..., flags=secp256k1.ALL_FLAGS).

  • ecdsa_recoverable_serialize(recover_sig) -> (bytes, int)
    convert the result from ecdsa_sign_recoverable to a tuple composed of 65 bytesand an integer denominated as recovery id.

  • ecdsa_recoverable_deserialize(ser_sig, rec_id)-> internal object
    convert the result from ecdsa_recoverable_serialize back to an internal object that can be used by ecdsa_recover.

  • ecdsa_recoverable_convert(recover_sig) -> internal object
    convert a recoverable signature to a normal signature, i.e. one that can be used by ecdsa_serialize and related methods.

NOTE: ecdsa_recover* can only be used if the secp256k1 C library is compiled with support for it. If there is no support, an Exception will be raised when calling any of them.

class secp256k1.Schnorr

The Schnorr class is intended to be used as a mix in. Its methods can be accessed from any secp256k1.PrivateKey or secp256k1.PublicKey instances.

Methods
  • schnorr_recover(msg, schnorr_sig, raw=False, digest=hashlib.sha256) -> internal object
    recover and return a public key from a Schnorr signature. schnorr_sig is expected to be the result from schnorr_partial_combine or schnorr_sign. msg, raw, and digest are used as described in ecdsa_sign.

  • schnorr_partial_combine(schnorr_sigs) -> bytes
    combine multiple Schnorr partial signatures. raw_sigs is expected to be a list (or similar iterable) of signatures resulting from PrivateKey.schnorr_partial_sign. If the signatures cannot be combined, an Exception is raised.

NOTE: schnorr_* can only be used if the secp256k1 C library is compiled with support for it. If there is no support, an Exception will be raised when calling any of them.

Constants

secp256k1.FLAG_SIGN
secp256k1.FLAG_VERIFY
secp256k1.ALL_FLAGS

ALL_FLAGS combines FLAG_SIGN and FLAG_VERIFY using bitwise OR.

These flags are used during context creation (undocumented here) and affect which parts of the context are initialized in the C library. In these bindings, some calls are disabled depending on the active flags but this should not be noticeable unless you are manually specifying flags.

Example

from secp256k1 import PrivateKey, PublicKey

privkey = PrivateKey()
privkey_der = privkey.serialize()
assert privkey.deserialize(privkey_der) == privkey.private_key

sig = privkey.ecdsa_sign(b'hello')
verified = privkey.pubkey.ecdsa_verify(b'hello', sig)
assert verified

sig_der = privkey.ecdsa_serialize(sig)
sig2 = privkey.ecdsa_deserialize(sig_der)
vrf2 = privkey.pubkey.ecdsa_verify(b'hello', sig2)
assert vrf2

pubkey = privkey.pubkey
pub = pubkey.serialize()

pubkey2 = PublicKey(pub, raw=True)
assert pubkey2.serialize() == pub
assert pubkey2.ecdsa_verify(b'hello', sig)
from secp256k1 import PrivateKey

key = '31a84594060e103f5a63eb742bd46cf5f5900d8406e2726dedfc61c7cf43ebad'
msg = '9e5755ec2f328cc8635a55415d0e9a09c2b6f2c9b0343c945fbbfe08247a4cbe'
sig = '30440220132382ca59240c2e14ee7ff61d90fc63276325f4cbe8169fc53ade4a407c2fc802204d86fbe3bde6975dd5a91fdc95ad6544dcdf0dab206f02224ce7e2b151bd82ab'

privkey = PrivateKey(bytes(bytearray.fromhex(key)), raw=True)
sig_check = privkey.ecdsa_sign(bytes(bytearray.fromhex(msg)), raw=True)
sig_ser = privkey.ecdsa_serialize(sig_check)

assert sig_ser == bytes(bytearray.fromhex(sig))
from secp256k1 import PrivateKey

key = '7ccca75d019dbae79ac4266501578684ee64eeb3c9212105f7a3bdc0ddb0f27e'
pub_compressed = '03e9a06e539d6bf5cf1ca5c41b59121fa3df07a338322405a312c67b6349a707e9'
pub_uncompressed = '04e9a06e539d6bf5cf1ca5c41b59121fa3df07a338322405a312c67b6349a707e94c181c5fe89306493dd5677143a329065606740ee58b873e01642228a09ecf9d'

privkey = PrivateKey(bytes(bytearray.fromhex(key)))
pubkey_ser = privkey.pubkey.serialize()
pubkey_ser_uncompressed = privkey.pubkey.serialize(compressed=False)

assert pubkey_ser == bytes(bytearray.fromhex(pub_compressed))
assert pubkey_ser_uncompressed == bytes(bytearray.fromhex(pub_uncompressed))

Technical details about the bundled libsecp256k1

The bundling of libsecp256k1 is handled by the various setup.py build phases:

  • During 'sdist': If the directory libsecp256k1 doesn't exist in the source directory it is downloaded from the location specified by the LIB_TARBALL_URL constant in setup.py and extracted into a directory called libsecp256k1

    To upgrade to a newer version of the bundled libsecp256k1 source simply delete the libsecp256k1 directory and update the LIB_TARBALL_URL to point to a newer commit.

  • During 'install': If an existing (system) installation of libsecp256k1 is found (either in the default library locations or in the location pointed to by the environment variable LIB_DIR) it is used as before.

    Due to the way the way cffi modules are implemented it is necessary to perform this detection in the cffi build module _cffi_build/build.py as well as in setup.py. For that reason some utility functions have been moved into a setup_support.py module which is imported from both.

    If however no existing installation can be found the bundled source code is used to build a library locally that will be statically linked into the CFFI extension.

    By default only the recovery module will be enabled in this bundled version as it is the only one not considered to be 'experimental' by the libsecp256k1 authors. It is possible to override this and enable all modules by setting the environment variable SECP_BUNDLED_EXPERIMENTAL.