Getting started


This tutorial introduces cryptoassets.core: what it does for you and how to set up a trivial Bitcoin wallet command line application on the top of it.

cryptoassets.core is a Python framework providing safe, scalable and future-proof cryptocurrency and cryptoassets accounting for your Python application. You can use it to accept cryptocurrency payments, build cryptoasset services and exchanges.


cryptoassets.core is built on the top of Python programming language, community ecosystem and best practices. Python is proven tool for building financial applications and is widely used to develop cryptoassets software and Bitcoin exchanges. cryptoassets.core is

  • Easy: Documented user-friendly APIs.
  • Extensible: Any cryptocurrency and cryptoassets support.
  • Safe: Secure and high data integrity.
  • Lock-in free: Vendor independent and platform agnostics.
  • Customizable: Override and tailor any part of the framework for your specific needs.


  • You can use cryptoassets.core framework in any Python application, including Django applications. Python 3 is required.
  • cryptoassets.core is designed to be extendable to support altcoins and different cryptoassets.
  • cryptoassets.core works with API services (, and daemons (bitcoind, dogecoind). The framework uses term backend to refer these. You either sign up for an account on the API service or run the daemon on your own server (*)
  • Basic SQLAlchemy knowledge is required for using the models API.
  • A separate a cryptoassets helper service process is responsible for communicating between your application and cryptoasset networks. This process runs on background on your server.
  • cryptoassets.core framework is initialized from a configuration, which can be passed in as a Python dictionary or a YAML configuration file.
  • For data integrity reasons, cryptoassets.core database connection usually differs from the default application database connection.
  • At the moment cryptoassets.core is in initial version 0.1 release. Expect the scope of the project to expand to support other cryptoassets (Counterparty, Ethereum, BitShares-X) out of the box.


Please note that running bitcoind on a server requires at least 2 GB of RAM and 25 GB of disk space, so low end box hosting plans are not up for the task.

Interacting with cryptoassets.core

The basic programming flow with cryptoassets.core is

Example command-line application

Below is a simple Bitcoin wallet terminal application using API service as the backend. It is configured to work with Bitcoin Testnet. Testnet Bitcoins are worthless, free to obtain and thus useful for application development and testing.

The example comes with pre-created account on It is recommended that you sign up for your own account and API key and use them instead of ones in the example configuration.

Application code


The example is tested only for UNIX systems (Linux and OSX). The authors do not have availability of Microsoft development environments to ensure Microsoft Windows compatibility.

Here is an example walkthrough how to set up a command line application.

Save this as file.

"""cryptoassets.core example application"""

import os
import warnings
from decimal import Decimal
import datetime

from sqlalchemy.exc import SAWarning

from import CryptoAssetsApp
from cryptoassets.core.configure import Configurator
from cryptoassets.core.utils.httpeventlistener import simple_http_event_listener
from cryptoassets.core.models import NotEnoughAccountBalance

# Because we are using a toy database and toy money, we ignore this SQLLite database warning
    r"^Dialect sqlite\+pysqlite does \*not\* support Decimal objects natively\, "
    "and SQLAlchemy must convert from floating point - rounding errors and other "
    "issues may occur\. Please consider storing Decimal numbers as strings or "
    "integers on this platform for lossless storage\.$",
    SAWarning, r'^sqlalchemy\.sql\.type_api$')

assets_app = CryptoAssetsApp()

# This will load the configuration file for the cryptoassets framework
# for the same path as is
conf_file = os.path.join(os.path.dirname(__file__), "example.config.yaml")
configurer = Configurator(assets_app)

# This will set up SQLAlchemy database connections, as loaded from
# config. It's also make assets_app.conflict_resolver available for us

# This function will be run in its own background thread,
# where it runs mini HTTP server to receive and process
# any events which cryptoassets service sends to our
# process
def handle_cryptoassets_event(event_name, data):
    if event_name == "txupdate":
        address = data["address"]
        confirmations = data["confirmations"]
        txid = data["txid"]
        print("Got transaction notification txid:{} addr:{}, confirmations:{}".
            format(txid, address, confirmations))

def get_wallet_and_account(session):
    """Return or create instances of the default wallet and accout.

    :return: Tuple (BitcoinWallet instance, BitcoinAccount instance)

    # This returns the class cryptoassets.core.coins.bitcoin.models.BitcoinWallet.
    # It is a subclass of cryptoassets.core.models.GenericWallet.
    # You can register several of cryptocurrencies to be supported within your application,
    # but in this example we use only Bitcoin.
    WalletClass = assets_app.coins.get("btc").wallet_model

    # One application can have several wallets.
    # Within a wallet there are several accounts, which can be
    # user accounts or automated accounts (like escrow).
    wallet = WalletClass.get_or_create_by_name("default wallet", session)

    account = wallet.get_or_create_account_by_name("my account")

    # If we don't have any receiving addresses, create a default one
    if len(account.addresses) == 0:
        wallet.create_receiving_address(account, automatic_label=True)

    return wallet, account

# Every time you access cryptoassets database it must happen
# in sidea managed transaction function.
# Use ConflictResolevr.managed_transaction decoreator your function gets an extra
# ``session`` argument as the first argument. This is the SQLAlchemy
# database session you should use to  manipulate the database.
# In the case of a database transaction conflict, ConflictResolver
# will rollback code in your function and retry again.
# For more information see
def create_receiving_address(session):
    """Create new receiving address on the default wallet and account."""
    wallet, my_account = get_wallet_and_account(session)

    # All addresses must have unique label on
    # Note that this is not a limitation of Bitcoin,
    # but service itself.
    wallet.create_receiving_address(my_account, automatic_label=True)

def send_to(session, address, amount):
    """Perform the actual send operation within managed transaction."""
    wallet, my_account = get_wallet_and_account(session)
    friendly_date = datetime.datetime.utcnow().strftime("%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S")
    transaction = wallet.send(my_account, address, amount, "Test send at {}".format(friendly_date))
    print("Created new transaction #{}".format(

def send():
    """Ask how many BTCTEST bitcoins to send and to which address."""
    address = input("Give the bitcoin TESTNET address where you wish to send the bitcoins:")
    amount = input("Give the amount in BTC to send:")

        amount = Decimal(amount)
    except ValueError:
        print("Please enter a dot separated decimal number as amount.")

        send_to(address, amount)
    except NotEnoughAccountBalance:
        print("*" * 40)
        print("Looks like your wallet doesn't have enough Bitcoins to perform the send. Please top up your wallet from testnet faucet.")
        print("*" * 40)

def print_status(session):
    """Print the state of our wallet and transactions."""
    wallet, account = get_wallet_and_account(session)

    # Get hold of classes we use for modelling Bitcoin
    # These classes are defined in cryptoassets.core.coin.bitcoind.model models
    Address = assets_app.coins.get("btc").address_model
    Transaction = assets_app.coins.get("btc").transaction_model

    print("-" * 40)
    print("Account #{}, confirmed balance {:.8f} BTC, incoming BTC {:.8f}". \
        format(, account.balance, account.get_unconfirmed_balance()))

    print("Receiving addresses available:")
    print("(Send Testnet Bitcoins to them to see what happens)")

    for address in session.query(Address).filter(Address.account == account):
        print("- {}: confirmed received {:.8f} BTC".format(address.address, address.balance))
    print("Wallet transactions:")
    for tx in session.query(Transaction):
        if tx.state in ("pending", "broadcasted"):

            # This transactions might not be broadcasted out by
            # cryptoassets helper service yet, thus it
            # does not have network txid yet
            txid = "(pending broadcast)" if tx.state == "pending" else tx.txid

            print("- OUT tx:{} to {} amount:{:.8f} BTC confirmations:{}".format(
                txid, tx.address.address, tx.amount, tx.confirmations))
        elif tx.state in ("incoming", "processed"):
            print("- IN tx:{} to:{} amount:{:.8f} BTC confirmations:{}".format(
                tx.txid, tx.address.address, tx.amount, tx.confirmations))
            print("- OTHER tx:{} {} amount:{:.8f} BTC".format(
      , tx.state, tx.amount))

    print("Available commands:")
    print("1) Create new receiving address")
    print("2) Send bitcoins to other address")
    print("3) Quit")

print("Welcome to cryptoassets example app")

running = True
while running:

    command = input("Enter command [1-3]:")
    if command == "1":
    elif command == "2":
    elif command == "3":
        running = False
        print("Unknown command!")

Example configuration

Save this as example.config.yaml file.


# Cryptoassets.core configuration for example application

    url: sqlite:////tmp/cryptoassets.example.sqlite

# What services we use to run talk to the cryptocurrency networks.
# This will configure us to use pre-defined API service
# testnet accounts for BTC and Doge (coins are worthless)
            class: cryptoassets.core.backend.blockio.BlockIo
            api_key: b2db-c8ad-29d2-c611
            pin: ThisIsNotVerySecret1
            network: btctest
            # walletnotify section tells how we receive
            # transaction updates from the  the backend
            # (new deposits to the backend wallet)
                class: cryptoassets.core.backend.blockiowebsocket.BlockIoWebsocketNotifyHandler

# This section tells how cryptoassets helper process will
# notify your app from events like new incoming transactions
# and outgoing transaction confirmation updates
    # For each event, we send a HTTP webhook notification
    # to your app. Your app should be listening HTTP at localhost:10000
        class: cryptoassets.core.event.http.HTTPEventHandler
        url: http://localhost:10000

Creating the database structure

The example application uses SQLite database as a simple self-contained test database.

Run the command to create the database tables:

cryptoassets-initialize-database example.config.yaml

This should print out:

[11:49:16] cryptoassets.core version 0.0
[11:49:16] Creating database tables for sqlite:////tmp/cryptoassets.example.sqlite

Running the example

The example application is fully functional and you can start your Bitcoin wallet business right away. Only one more thing to do...

...the communication between cryptoasset networks and your application is handled by the cryptoassets helper service background process. Thus, nothing comes in or goes out to your application if the helper service process is not running. Start the helper service:

cryptoassets-helper-service example.config.yaml

You should see something like this:

[00:23:09] [cryptoassets.core.service.main splash_version] cryptoassets.core version 0.0

You might get some connection refused errors, because the app is not up yet. Please ignore those now.

Now leave cryptoassets helper service running and start the example application in another terminal:


You should see something like this:

Welcome to cryptoassets example app

Receiving addresses available:
(Send testnet Bitcoins to them to see what happens)
- 2MzGzEUyHgqBXzbuGCJDSBPKAyRxhj2q9hj: total received 0.00000000 BTC

We know about the following transactions:

Give a command
1) Create new receiving address
2) Send Bitcoins to other address
3) Quit

You will get some Rescanned transactions log messages on the start up if you didn’t change the default credentials. These are test transactions from other example users.

Now you can send or receive Bitcoins within your application. If you don’t start the helper service the application keeps functioning, but all external cryptoasset network traffic is being buffered until the cryptoassets helper service is running again.

If you want to reset the application just delete the database file /tmp/cryptoassets.test.sqlite.

Obtaining testnet Bitcoins and sending them

The example runs on testnet Bitcoins which are not real Bitcoins. Get some testnet coins and send them from the faucet to the receiving address provided by the application.

List of services providing faucets giving out Testnet Bitcoins.

No more than 0.01 Bitcoins are needed for playing around with the example app.

After sending the Bitcoins you should see a notification printed for an incoming transaction in ~30 seconds which is the time it takes for the Bitcoin transaction to propagate through testnet:

Got transaction notification txid:512a082c2f4908d243cb52576cd5d22481344faba0d7a837098f9af81cfa8ef3 addr:2N7Fi392deSEnQgiYbmpw1NmK6vMVrVzuwc, confirmations:0