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A collection of tools to enable development in the Cardano ecosystem using the Python programming language.

Project description

Cardano Tools

A python module for interacting with the Cardano blockchain.


You can install Cardano Tools from PyPI:

pip install cardano-tools

The Cardano Tools package supports Python 3.9 and above.


The library provides objects for interfacing with different parts of the Cardano ecosystem: the node, the node CLI, and the wallet server. The basic usage is outlined below. For more help see the example scripts and browse through the code.

The cardano-node and cardano-wallet applications can be run natively, by installing them on your local machine, or via Docker.

Native Cardano Binaries

To run the Cardano node and wallet binaries on your local machine, follow the installation instructions in the respective GitHub README: cardano-node, cardano-wallet.

Docker Cardano Binaries

To avoid building and installing the Cardano node and wallet binaries on your local machine, IOG provides prebuilt Docker containers with a corresponding Docker Compose file. Download this file somewhere on your local machine.

NOTE: Some cardano-cli commands require files to be provided. This poses a problem, as Cardano Tools runs from the local filesystem and the CLI runs within Docker. In order to share files between the two environments, we must setup a bind volume in the cardano-node docker container, which will link a local directory to a directory within the docker container. To do this, we must edit the docker-compose.yml file. The cardano-node section will look like this:

    image: <image_name>
      - node-${NETWORK}-db:/data
      - node-ipc:/ipc
    restart: on-failure

Setup a bind volume in this container by adding the following lines below the node-ipc definition:

      - type: bind
        source: ${CARDANO_TOOLS_PATH}/config
        target: /config

Now set the CARDANO_TOOLS_PATH environment variable to the location where Cardano Tools in installed, e.g.:

export CARDANO_TOOLS_PATH=${HOME}/cardano-tools

Finally run the applications via docker compose:

NETWORK=preview docker compose up -d

This will start up the Cardano node and wallet applications and connect to the specified network (mainnet, preview, preprod)

The Cardano-Node

A cardano-node may be started in passive mode from a Python script using the code:

node = CardanoNode(
    topology=base_path / "mainnet-topology.json",
    database=base_path / "db",
    socket=base_path / "db" / "node.socket",
    config=base_path / "mainnet-config.json",
    show_output=True,  # Optionally print node output to the terminal.

To run the node as a block producer, supply the additional parameters to the CardanoNode object constructor before starting.

node = CardanoNode(
    port=3002,  # defaults to 3001

A running node may then be later stopped by calling node.stop() which sends the SIGINT signal to the node process. This allows the node to shutdown gracefully by closing the database files and results in faster startup times during the next run. This feature may be useful for using Python to automate node restarts.

See the official cardano-node GitHub repository for details on the necessary arguments and files needed for operating the node as well as how to install the binary.

The Cardano-Node CLI

The Cardano-Tools NodeCLI object provides a wrapped interface to functionality within the Cardano CLI. Raw methods are wrapped and provide a simple way to get results from CLI commands into your Python scripts. Also, common tasks that require multiple CLI commands are combined into easy to call methods.

cli = NodeCLI(
    ttl_buffer=1000,          # optional (default 1000)
    network="--mainnet",      # optional (default --mainnet)
    era="--mary-era",         # optional (default --mary-era)

print(f"Tip = {cli.get_tip()}")

Managing Wallets

Many common tasks like checking balances and sending ADA are provided.

# Get and print the ADA balance in an address
addr = open(working_dir + "/mywallet.addr", 'r').read()

# Get and display all the UTxOs currently in a address
print(json.dumps(cli.get_utxos(addr), indent=4, sort_keys=True))

# Send ADA
key_file = "/home/lovelace/cardano-node/owner.skey"
to_addr = "addr_test1qpzft..."
from_addr = "addr_test1qrjpd..."
amt_ada = 10
cli.send_payment(amt_ada, to_addr, from_addr, key_file)

Stake Pool Management

The Cardano-Tools library provides tools to help Cardano Stake-Pool Operators (SPOs) setup and maintain pools.

# Generate a new set of pool keys.
pool_id = cli.create_block_producing_keys(

Remember to keep your cold keys in a secure, off-line, location!

# Stakepool registration inputs
pledges = {
    "owner1": 110_000,
    "owner2": 340_000,
} # ADA
pmt_addr = "addr1..."
args = {
    "pool_name": "TESTS",
    "pool_pledge": sum(pledges.values())*1_000_000,
    "pool_cost": 340*1_000_000,
    "pool_margin": 1.0,
    "pool_cold_vkey":   "keys/TESTS_cold.vkey",
    "pool_vrf_key":     "keys/TESTS_vrf.vkey",
    "pool_reward_vkey": "owner1_pledge_stake.vkey",
    "owner_stake_vkeys": [
    "pool_relays": [
            "port": "3001",
            "host": "",
            "host-type": "single"
    "pool_metadata_url": "",
    "folder": working_dir

# Signatures required (must be present during signing).
witness_files = [
    working_dir / "cold_witness.json",
    working_dir / "fees_witness.json",
    working_dir / "owner1_witness.json",
    working_dir / "owner2_witness.json",

# Create the stake pool registration certificate and the transaction to be 
# signed.
raw_tx = cli.build_raw_transaction(

After the registration transaction is successfully signed by all the required keys (hardware wallets and cold keys), collect the witness files and then sign and send the stake pool registration transaction.

# Apply witness signatures
signed_tx = cli.witness_transaction(raw_tx, witness_files)

# Send the transaction

Minting and Burning Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

The first step in minting an NFT, other than the art work 😉, is to create a policy ID.

# Get hashes of the verification keys from the signing keys.
vkey_hash = cli.get_key_hash("./payment.vkey")

# Time until policy ID closes
genesis = "/home/lovelace/cardano-node/mainnet-shelley-genesis.json"
slots_till_close = cli.days2slots(365, genesis)  # 1 yr
closing_slot = cli.get_tip() + slots_till_close

# Create the minting script
multi_script = cli.build_multisignature_scripts(
    [vkey_hash],  # Supports multiple signing keys

# Generate the policy ID
policy_id = cli.generate_policy(multi_script)

Next, we must create the asset metadata and then store it in a JSON file. This is not specific to the Cardano-Tools library.

metadata = {
    "721": {
        policy_id: policy_id,
        "version": "1.0"
        "COOL_NFT_00": {
            "image": "ipfs://...",

with open("my_nft_metadata.json", 'w') as outfile:
    json.dump(metadata, outfile, indent=4)

Then all we have to do is simply build and send the minting transaction.

# Address that will own the NFT when it is minted. 
addr = "addr1..."

# You can mint more than one NFT at a time but we will do just one here.
asset_names = ["COOL_NFT_00",]

# Since we are minting NFTs and not FTs, set the amounts to 1.
asset_amounts = [1 for i in asset_names]

# Build the minting transaction
tx_file = cli.build_mint_transaction(
    n_wit := 1,  # Number of signing keys in multi-sig script
    ada=3  # Optionally specify some ADA to exist in the UTxO with the NFT

# Sign the transaction
skey = "payment.skey"
signed_tx = cli.sign_transaction(tx_file, [skey,])

# Send the transaction

If you need to burn an NFT, the process is similar.

tx_file = cli.build_burn_transaction(
    n_wit := 1,

Sending an NFT is also covered.

# Address that currently owns the UTxOs 
from_addr = open("payment.addr", 'r').read().strip()

# Address to receive the token
to_addr = "addr1..."

# Asset name to send
asset_name = "COOL_NFT_00"

# Build the sending transaction
tx_file = cli.build_send_tx(
    quantity := 1,

# Sign the transaction
skey1 = "payment.skey"
signed_tx = cli.sign_transaction(tx_file, [skey1])

# Send the transaction
txid = cli.submit_transaction(signed_tx)

The Cardano Wallet

The Cardano-Tools library contains an interface to the Cardano wallet back end, which may be accessed via either the CLI or through HTTP requests.


cw_cli = WalletCLI(


# Find the wallet
wallet = cw_cli.get_wallet_by_name("ADDER_Rewards")

# Print the balance (ADA)

# Use the built-in method

HTTP Server

cw_http = WalletHTTP(

ada_amt = 100.5
rx_address = "addr1...."

wallet = cw_http.get_wallet_by_name("ExampleWallet")

# Get the passphrase from an env variable. DO NOT store in script.
# Example ZSH shell command to save the password in a local variable
# without it being stored in the command history:
#     $ read "?Enter password: " WALLET_PASS
#     $ export WALLET_PASS
passphrase = os.getenv('WALLET_PASS')



The modules include detailed logging for debugging. To enable most log messages, import the logging module and include the following at the beginning of your scripts.


The example scripts illustrate how to enable logging.


This repository uses Poetry as the build system. To get started, clone the repository and install the dependencies.

git clone
cd cardano-tools
poetry install

To run the unit tests with coverage reports use the following:

poetry run pytest --cov=cardano_tools/ --cov-report term-missing


This project is developed and maintained by the team at Viper Staking.

Related Projects

The Cardano-Tools library is also used in the official Viper Staking Docker containers.

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