Introduction

In this tutorial, we are going to introduce Bitcoin using Python. We will be using Python’s bitcoin library, conveniently called bitcoin.

Cover Image

Prerequisites

To get started with Bitcoin using Python, we need,

  • A Computer which can run Python programming environment

  • A basic knowledge of Python or another scripting language

  • Ability to run commands and programs from a command line program

Setup your Computer

Install Python

Download and install python from http://www.python.org/ Make sure to download the Python 3.x as that’s the one we are going to be using in this tutorial.

Install bitcoin python library

After you finish installing Python, open your command line program and execute below command to install bitcoin python library

pip install bitcoin

Hello Bitcoin - Generate a Private key

We will start with a writing a “Hello World” equivalent of Bitcoin in Python. To write your python, you can need a code or text editor which supports writing in ASCII format. You cannot use MS Word of Wordpad for this. You could use Notepad, but we recommend using Atom Code Editor, a free code editor.

Open your favorite editor and type in below code. In this code, we are first importing the bitcoin library. We are then generating a private key using random_key function and we are then displaying the private key on the screen.

from bitcoin import *

my_private_key = random_key()

print(my_private_key)

Save it as a .py file and then open your command line program and run the above program like this.

python <program location and name>

This will print out a private key.

Generate a Public Key

Next we generate a public key. We do this by passing the private key we generated to privtopub function

from bitcoin import *

my_private_key = random_key()

my_public_key = privtopub(my_private_key)

print(my_public_key

Create a bitcoin address

In the previous programs we generated private and public keys. Now, we are going to real bitcoin part. In the below code, we are generating a bitcoin address by passing the public key we generated to pubtoaddr function.

from bitcoin import *

my_private_key = random_key()

my_public_key = privtopub(my_private_key)

my_bitcoin_address = pubtoaddr(my_public_key)

print(addr)

Create a Multi-signature Address

Next, we create a multi-signature bitcoin address. Multi-signature address is an address that is associated with more than one private key. So, we first create 3 public and private keys. We then create a multi-sig by passing the 3 public keys to mk_multisig_script function. Finally, the resulting multi-sig is passed to scriptaddr function to create the multi signature bitcoin address.

from bitcoin import *

my_private_key1 = random_key()

print(‘Private Key 1: ‘ + my_private_key1)

my_public_key1 = privtopub(my_private_key1)

print(‘Public Key 1: ‘ + my_public_key1)

my_private_key2 = random_key()

print(‘Private Key 2: ‘ + my_private_key2)

my_public_key2 = privtopub(my_private_key2)

print(‘Public Key 2: ‘ + my_public_key2)

my_private_key3 = random_key()

print(‘Private Key 3: ‘ + my_private_key3)

my_public_key3 = privtopub(my_private_key3)

print(‘Public Key 3: ‘ + my_public_key3)

my_multi_sig = mk_multisig_script(my_private_key1, my_private_key2, my_private_key3, 2,3)

my_multi_address = scriptaddr(my_multi_sig)

print(‘Multi-Address: ‘ + my_multi_address)

View address transaction history

We can also look at pre-existing bitcoin addresses’ transactional history. We do this passing a valid bitcoin address to function history.

from bitcoin import *

print(history(a_vaid_bitcoin_address))

If you don’t have an address, you can look one up from Blockchain.

Conclusion

In this tutorial, we introduced bitcoin with python. We saw how to get setup with python for bitcoin. We saw how to generate private key, public key and a bitcoin address. We also saw how to create a multi signature bitcoin address and how to look at transactional history of a bitcoin address.

If you would like to dig deeper into Bitcoin and Blockchain Concepts using Python, check it out my Video Course on Packt