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FFI bindings to libsecp256k1

Project description

secp256k1-py Build Status

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

Previously maintained by Ludvig Broberg, now at .


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 :all: 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.

The library bundles its own libsecp256k1 currently, as there is no versioning to allow us to safely determine compatibility with an installed library, especially as we also build all the experimental modules.

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

On OS X the necessary homebrew packages are:

  • automake
  • pkg-config
  • libtool
  • libffi

Command line usage

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

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

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

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.


class secp256k1.PrivateKey(privkey, raw)

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.
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.

  • schnorr_sign(msg, bip340tag, raw=False) -> bytes

create a BIP-340 signature for msg; bip340tag should be a string or byte value which distinguishes this usage from any other usage of signatures (e.g. your program name, or full protocol name). If raw is specified, then bip340tag is not used, and the msg (usually a 32-byte hash) is signed directly.

It produces non-malleable 64-byte signatures which support batch validation.

class secp256k1.PublicKey(pubkey, raw)

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.
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, bip340tag, raw=False) -> bool
    verify a Schnorr signature and return True if the signature is correct, False otherwise. schnorr_sig is expected to be the result from schnorr_sign, msg, bip340tag and raw must match those used in schnorr_sign.

  • ecdh(scalar, hashfn=ffi.NULL, hasharg=ffi.NULL) -> 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. The hashing function can be overridden, but (unlike libsecp256k1 itself) we insist that it produce 32-bytes of output. If the scalar is invalid, an Exception is raised.

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


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 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 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': To support (future) use of system libsecp256k1, and because of the way the way cffi modules are implemented it is necessary to perform system library detection in the cffi build module _cffi_build/ as well as in For that reason some utility functions have been moved into a module which is imported from both.

    By default, the bundled source code is used to build a library locally that will be statically linked into the CFFI extension.

    You can set the environment variable SECP_BUNDLED_NO_EXPERIMENTAL to disable all experimental modules except the recovery module.

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