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Python Ethereum Client

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pyethapp is the python based client implementing the Ethereum cryptoeconomic state machine.

Ethereum as a platform is focussed on enabling people to build new ideas using blockchain technology.

The python implementation aims to provide an easily hackable and extendable codebase.

pyethapp leverages two ethereum core components to implement the client:

  • pyethereum - the core library, featuring the blockchain, the ethereum virtual machine, mining

  • pydevp2p - the p2p networking library, featuring node discovery for and transport of multiple services over multiplexed and encrypted connections



Pyethapp runs on Python 2.7. If you don’t know how to install an up-to-date version of Python, have a look here. It is always advised to install system-dependecies with the help of a package manager (e.g. homebrew on Mac OS X or apt-get on Debian).

Please install a virtualenv environment for a comfortable Pyethapp installation. Also, it is always recommended to use it in combination with the virtualenvwrapper extension.

The Homestead-ready version of Pyethapp is v1.2.0.

Installation on Ubuntu/Debian

First install the system-dependecies for a successful build of the Python packages:

$ apt-get install build-essential automake pkg-config libtool libffi-dev libgmp-dev

Installation of Pyethapp and it’s dependent Python packages via PyPI:

($ mkvirtualenv pyethapp)
$ pip install pyethapp

Installation on OS X

(More detailed instructions can be found in the Mac OS X installation instructions)

First install the system-dependecies for a successful build of the Python packages:

$ brew install automake libtool pkg-config libffi gmp openssl

Installation of Pyethapp and it’s dependent Python packages via PyPI:

($ mkvirtualenv pyethapp)
$ pip install pyethapp

Development version

If you want to install the newest version of the client for development purposes, you have to clone it directly from GitHub.

First install the system dependencies according to your Operating System above, then:

($ mkvirtualenv pyethapp)
$ git clone
$ cd pyethapp
$ python develop

This has the advantage that inside of Python’s lib/python2.7/site-packages there is a direct link to your directory of Pyethapp’s source code. Therefore, changes in the code will have immediate effect on the pyethapp command in your terminal.

Connecting to the network

If you type in the terminal:

$ pyethapp

will show you all available commands and options of the client.

To get started, type:

($ workon pyethapp)
$ pyethapp account new

This creates a new account and generates the private key. The key-file is locked with the password that you entered and they are stored in the /keystore directory. You can’t unlock the file without the password and there is no way to recover a lost one. Do not delete the key-files, if you still want to be able to access Ether and Contracts associated with that account.

To connect to the live Ethereum network, type:

($ workon pyethapp)
$ pyethapp run

This establishes the connection to Ethereum’s p2p-network and downloads the whole blockchain on the first invocation.

For additional documentation how to use the client, have a look at the Wiki.

Data directory:

When running the client without specifying a data-directory, the blockchain-data and the keystore-folder will be saved in a default directory, depending on your Operating System.

on Mac OS X:

~/Library/Application\ Support/pyethapp

on Linux:


This folder also holds the config.yaml file, in which you can modify your default configuration parameters.

To provide a different data-directory, e.g. for additionally syncing to the testnet, run the client with the -d <dir> / --data-dir <dir> argument.

Available Networks

  • Live (Frontier / Homestead)

  • Test (Morden)

Currently there are two official networks available. The “Live Network” is called Frontier (soon to be Homestead) and this is what the client will connect to if you start it without any additional options.

Additionally there is the official test network called Morden which can be used to test new code or otherwise experiment without having to risk real money. Use the –profile command line option to select the test network:

$ pyethapp --profile testnet run


You can interact with the client using the JSONRPC api or directly on the console.


  • Working PoC9 prototype

  • interoperable with the go and cpp clients

  • jsonrpc (mostly)


0.1.0 (2015-01-01)

  • First release on PyPI.

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