Difference between revisions of "API reference (JSON-RPC)"

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(Restore last sane Python section; proper money handling is addressed on a different page)
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== Python ==
== Python ==
Save the following file as jsonrpc.py.
For Python, [http://json-rpc.org/wiki/python-json-rpc python-jsonrpc] is perfect.
<source lang="python">
import urllib
import decimal
import json
class JSONRPCException(Exception):
    def __init__(self, rpcError):
        self.error = rpcError
class ServiceProxy(object):
    def __init__(self, serviceURL, serviceName=None):
        self.__serviceURL = serviceURL
        self.__serviceName = serviceName
    def __getattr__(self, name):
        if self.__serviceName != None:
            name = "%s.%s" % (self.__serviceName, name)
        return ServiceProxy(self.__serviceURL, name)
    def __call__(self, *args):
        postdata = json.dumps({"method": self.__serviceName, 'params': args, 'id':'jsonrpc'})
        respdata = urllib.urlopen(self.__serviceURL, postdata).read()
        resp = json.loads(respdata, parse_float=decimal.Decimal)
        if resp['error'] != None:
            raise JSONRPCException(resp['error'])
            return resp['result']       
Python-jsonrpc automatically generates Python methods corresponding to the functions above.
Python-jsonrpc automatically generates Python methods corresponding to the functions above.

Revision as of 15:36, 2 April 2011

Controlling Bitcoin

Run bitcoind or bitcoin -server. You can control it via the command-line or by HTTP-JSON-RPC commands.

You must create a bitcoin.conf configuration file setting an rpcuser and rpcpassword; see Running Bitcoin for details.

Now run:

 $ ./bitcoind
 bitcoin server starting
 $ ./bitcoind help
 # shows the help text

A list of RPC calls will be shown.

 $ ./bitcoind getbalance


Running Bitcoin with the -server argument (or running bitcoind) tells it to function as a JSON-RPC server, but Basic access authentication must be used when communicating with it, and, for security, by default, the server only accepts connections from other processes on the same machine. If your HTTP or JSON library requires you to specify which 'realm' is authenticated, use 'jsonrpc'.

Bitcoin supports SSL (https) JSON-RPC connections beginning with version 0.3.14. See the rpcssl wiki page for setup instructions and a list of all bitcoin.conf configuration options.

To access the server you should find a library for your language.

Proper money handling

See the proper money handling page for notes on avoiding rounding errors when handling bitcoin values.


For Python, python-jsonrpc is perfect. Python-jsonrpc automatically generates Python methods corresponding to the functions above.

  from jsonrpc import ServiceProxy
  access = ServiceProxy("http://user:password@")
  #access.sendtoaddress("11yEmxiMso2RsFVfBcCa616npBvGgxiBX", 10)


Make sure to do:
    gem install rest-client

    h = ServiceProxy.new('http://user:password@')
    puts h.getinfo.call
    puts h.getbalance.call '0'
require 'json'
require 'rest_client'

class JSONRPCException < RuntimeError
    def initialize()

class ServiceProxy
    def initialize(service_url, service_name=nil)
        @service_url = service_url
        @service_name = service_name

    def method_missing(name, *args, &block)
        if @service_name != nil
            name = "%s.%s" % [@service_name, name]
        return ServiceProxy.new(@service_url, name)

    def respond_to?(sym)

    def call(*args)
        postdata = {"method" => @service_name, "params" => args, "id" => "jsonrpc"}.to_json
        respdata = RestClient.post @service_url, postdata
        resp = JSON.parse respdata
        if resp["error"] != nil
            raise JSONRPCException.new, resp['error']
        return resp['result']


The JSON-RPC PHP library also makes it very easy to connect to Bitcoin. For example:

  require_once 'jsonRPCClient.php';
  $bitcoin = new jsonRPCClient('http://user:password@');
  echo "<pre>\n";
  print_r($bitcoin->getinfo()); echo "\n";
  echo "Received: ".$bitcoin->getreceivedbylabel("Your Address")."\n";
  echo "</pre>";


Because PHP has no option to JSON decode to accurate decimal class, you should internally use GMP. Treat each number like a large int with 8 decimal places (this can be trimmed for display).

You will need to get a saner branch and compile it. This treats every monetary value int64 8 decimal strings. So 1 BTC will be "100000000". Use PHP's GMP functions to manipulate these values accurately.

For converting between internal GMP numbers and display/user input, you can use these functions:

# converts a user supplied number to our internal representation
#  3.14 => "314000000"
# accepts strings, floats and ints as input
function numstr_to_internal($numstr)
    return bcmul($numstr, pow(10, 8), 0);
# converts an internal number to an end user number for display as defined by precision
#   314100000 => "3.14"
# accepts GMP numbers, ints and strings as input
function internal_to_numstr($num, $precision=2)
    $repr = gmp_strval($num);
    $repr = bcdiv($repr, pow(10, 8), $precision);
    # now tidy output...
    # trim trailing 0s
    $repr = rtrim($repr, '0');
    # and a trailing . if it exists
    $repr = rtrim($repr, '.');
    return $repr;

$num_internal = numstr_to_internal("3.141");
echo "<p>".$num_internal."</p>";
$num_display = internal_to_numstr($num_internal);
echo "<p>".$num_display."</p>";

If you need to do a decimal division in GMP, then GMP only supports integer division + a remainder (gmp_div_qr). The work-around for this, is to use the bcmath module:

$a = gmp_init("100");
$b = gmp_init("3");
echo "<p>".bcdiv(gmp_strval($a), gmp_strval($b), 3)."</p>";

Note that bcdiv uses strings.

See also: GMP and BC Math manuals.


The easiest way to tell Java to use HTTP Basic authentication is to set a default Authenticator:

  final String rpcuser ="...";
  final String rpcpassword ="...";
  Authenticator.setDefault(new Authenticator() {
      protected PasswordAuthentication getPasswordAuthentication() {
          return new PasswordAuthentication (rpcuser, rpcpassword.toCharArray());

Once that is done, any JSON-RPC library for Java (or ordinary URL POSTs) may be used to communicate with the Bitcoin server.


The JSON::RPC package from CPAN can be used to communicate with Bitcoin. You must set the client's credentials; for example:

  use JSON::RPC::Client;
  use Data::Dumper;
  my $client = new JSON::RPC::Client;
     'localhost:8332', 'jsonrpc', 'user' => 'password'  # REPLACE WITH YOUR bitcoin.conf rpcuser/rpcpassword
  my $uri = 'http://localhost:8332/';
  my $obj = {
      method  => 'getinfo',
      params  => [],
  my $res = $client->call( $uri, $obj );
  if ($res){
      if ($res->is_error) { print "Error : ", $res->error_message; }
      else { print Dumper($res->result); }
  } else {
      print $client->status_line;

.NET (C#)

The communication with rpc service can be achieved using the standard httprequest/response objects. A library for serialising and deserialising Json will make your life a lot easier:

  • JayRock for .NET 4.0
  • Json.Net for .NET 2.0 and above

The following example uses Json.Net:

 HttpWebRequest webRequest = (HttpWebRequest)WebRequest.Create("http://localhost.:8332");
 webRequest.Credentials = new NetworkCredential("user", "pwd");
 /// important, otherwise the service can't desirialse your request properly
 webRequest.ContentType = "application/json-rpc";
 webRequest.Method = "POST";
 JObject joe = new JObject();
 joe.Add(new JProperty("jsonrpc", "1.0"));
 joe.Add(new JProperty("id", "1"));
 joe.Add(new JProperty("method", Method));
 // params is a collection values which the method requires..
 if (Params.Keys.Count == 0)
  joe.Add(new JProperty("params", new JArray()));
     JArray props = new JArray();
     // add the props in the reverse order!
     for (int i = Params.Keys.Count - 1; i >= 0; i--)
        .... // add the params
     joe.Add(new JProperty("params", props));
     // serialize json for the request
     string s = JsonConvert.SerializeObject(joe);
     byte[] byteArray = Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(s);
     webRequest.ContentLength = byteArray.Length;
     Stream dataStream = webRequest.GetRequestStream();
     dataStream.Write(byteArray, 0, byteArray.Length);
     WebResponse webResponse = webRequest.GetResponse();
     ... // deserialze the response

Command line (cURL)

You can also send commands and see results using cURL or some other command-line HTTP-fetching utility; for example:

  curl --user user --data-binary '{"jsonrpc": "1.0", "id":"curltest", "method": "getinfo", "params": [] }' 
    -H 'content-type: text/plain;'

You will be prompted for your rpcpassword, and then will see something like:


See Also