Developing DApps

Starting Seth RPC

In order to develop full-stack applications with Seth, we need a way to programatically interact with Seth. Sawtooth provides a general-purpose REST API for submitting queries about the network and generic transactions that could be used for this. However, this would require a complete understanding of the Seth Transaction Family Spec. Instead, Seth comes with a web server that implements much of the Ethereum JSON-RPC API, the seth-rpc server. This interface provides a much higher level interface for developing Seth applications and is the recommended interface.

The seth-rpc server accepts HTTP POST requests from clients, communicates with a sawtooth-validator to fulfill the request, and then responds with the appropriate output. This means you must have a running validator for it to connect to.

First, start a validator and confirm that is is running, as described in Getting Started. Next, you can start the seth-rpc server from the seth container with:

$ seth-rpc --connect tcp://validator:4004 --bind

This will start the server which will begin listening for requests.


You should only bind seth-rpc to for development purposes as it starts listening for requests on all interfaces. This is a potential security risk in production environments.

You can now submit requests to the server. If you are using the docker-compose environment described earlier, port 3030 in the seth container should be forwarded to your host’s port, so you can send requests from your host. For example, you can get the current block number by running curl from a prompt on your host with:

$ curl -d '{"jsonrpc": "2.0", "method": "eth_blockNumber", "id": 1}' -H "Content-Type: application/json" localhost:3030

Deploying Contracts

Contracts can also be deployed using the seth-rpc server. In order to submit any requests that reference specific accounts, that account must be unlocked when seth-rpc is started. Only external accounts that have been imported with the seth client may be unlocked by the seth-rpc server.

To unlock an account when starting seth-rpc pass the --unlock flag and the alias of the account to unlock:

$ seth-rpc --unlock {alias}

To deploy a contract using the unlocked account, you must know its address. If you do not already know the address, you can get it with seth account list. Once you have the account address, you can deploy a contract through the seth-rpc server with the eth_sendTransaction method:

$ curl -d '{"jsonrpc": "2.0", "method": "eth_sendTransaction", "id": 2, "params": [{"from": "0x{address}", "data": "0x{contract}"}]}' -H "Content-Type: application/json" localhost:3030

You should substitute {address} with the address of the unlocked account and {contract} with the contract deployment code. The return value of this call is the id of the contract creation transaction with a 0x prefix. You can use this id to get the result of the contract creation transaction with eth_getTransactionReceipt:

$ curl -d '{"jsonrpc": "2.0", "method": "eth_getTransactionReceipt", "id": 3, "params": [0x{transaction-id}}", "data": "0x{contract}"}]}' -H "Content-Type: application/json" localhost:3030

where {transaction-id} should be substituted with the transaction id returned by eth_sendTransaction. The return value is a JSON object. If the transaction was processed successfully, the object will contain an "address" key that references the address of the newly created contract.


The eth_sendTransaction method is used for both contract creation and contract calls. If the parameters passed include a "to" key, then the transaction is treated as a contract call. Otherwise it is treated as a contract creation.

Calling Contracts

Once a contract has been deployed, it can be called with the eth_sendTransaction method:

$ curl -d '{"jsonrpc": "2.0", "method": "eth_sendTransaction", "id": 2, "params": [{"from": "0x{address}", "data": "0x{input}", "to": "0x{contract}"}]}' -H "Content-Type: application/json" localhost:3030

You should substitute {address} with the address of the unlocked account, {input} with the input data for the contract and {contract} with the address of the deployed contract. The return value of this call is the id of the contract call transaction, which can be used with the eth_getTransactionReceipt method to get the result of the transaction.

Subscribing to Logs

Logs that are generated by contracts, such as Solidity contracts that define and call any event types, can be subscribed to with the eth_newFilter method. More information on how to subscribe to logs generated by Solidity can be found in the Solidity Documentation on Events.

External Libraries

The seth-rpc server implements many of the methods defined by the Ethereum JSON-RPC API. There are several libraries and tools for building applications that depend on this interface, such as Web3 JS and Truffle, and it should be possible to use parts of these libraries with seth-rpc.

As of this writing, compatibility these libraries has not been tested in any way. Help with testing and improving compatibility with these libraries is welcome, including sharing information about how the seth-rpc server is being used, submitting issues that are encountered, and submitting pull requests that improve the seth-rpc server’s compatibility with these libraries.

Supported Ethereum JSON-RPC API Methods

Compatibility Notes

When requesting block objects by hash, the block hash must be 64 bytes instead of 32 bytes.

When returning block objects, the following fields always have the zero value, since they do not have a corollary in Sawtooth:

  • “nonce”
  • “sha3Uncles”
  • “logsBloom”
  • “transactionsRoot”
  • “receiptsRoot”
  • “miner”
  • “difficulty”
  • “totalDifficulty”
  • “extraData”
  • “size”
  • “gasLimit”
  • “uncles”

When returning receipt objects, “cumulativeGasUsed” is always 0.

When returning log objects, “logIndex” is always 0 and “removed” is always false.

Method List

The following JSON-RPC calls are supported. See the Ethereum JSON-RPC API spec for details on parameters and return values.

Method Support Additional Notes
eth_accounts Full  
eth_blockNumber Full  
eth_gasPrice Partial Always returns 0
eth_getBalance Full  
eth_getBlockByHash Partial  
eth_getBlockByNumber Full  
eth_getBlockTransactionCountByHash Full  
eth_getBlockTransactionCountByNumber Full  
eth_getCode Full  
eth_getFilterChanges Partial For pending transaction filters, transactions that committed transactions are returned instead.
eth_getFilterLogs Full  
eth_getLogs Full  
eth_getStorageAt Full  
eth_getTransactionByBlockHashAndIndex Full  
eth_getTransactionByBlockNumberAndIndex Full  
eth_getTransactionByHash Full  
eth_getTransactionCount Full  
eth_getTransactionReceipt Full  
eth_newBlockFilter Full  
eth_newFilter Full  
eth_newPendingTransactionFilter Full  
eth_sendTransaction Full  
eth_sign Full  
eth_uninstallFilter Full  
net_listening Partial Always returns true
net_peerCount Partial Always returns 0
net_version Partial Always returns 19