March 20, 2021

How to generate a new Ethereum address in Python

Overview

Python is one of the most versatile programming languages out there with an abundance of use cases; We can build many applications with Python from client-side to back end. In this guide, we will cover creating an Ethereum address in Python using the Web3Py library.

Prerequisites
  • Python installed in your system (version 3.6+) and Pip3.
  • A text editor.

What is an Ethereum address?

While signing in to any platform on the internet, you need a combination of username and password. Think of Ethereum address as a username with a corresponding private key as the password. Using this combination of address and private key lets you interact with the Ethereum blockchain. An Ethereum address is your identity on the blockchain. It looks like this “0xd5e099c71b797516c10ed0f0d895f429c2781142”, Ethereum address is public and can be shared, but the private key must always be kept secret. Ethereum addresses are generated using a private key. The following is the process of how an Ethereum address is generated:

  • Generate a random private key of (64 (hex) characters / 256 bits / 32 bytes) 
0xf4a2b939592564feb35ab10a8e04f6f2fe0943579fb3c9c33505298978b74893

  •  A Public key is derived from the private key (128 (hex) characters / 512 bits / 64 bytes) using Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) 
0x04345f1a86ebf24a6dbeff80f6a2a574d46efaa3ad3988de94aa68b695f09db9ddca37439f99548da0a1fe4acf4721a945a599a5d789c18a06b20349e803fdbbe3

  • Then Keccak-256 hash function is applied on (128 characters / 64 bytes) public key, which gives out a  (64 characters / 32 bytes) hash string, the last 40 characters / 20 bytes when prefixed with 0x is the Ethereum address.
0xd5e099c71b797516c10ed0f0d895f429c2781142

Following are the few things that need to have an Ethereum address:

  • Receiving/Sending ETH.
  • Sign/Send transactions.
  • Connecting to Applications.

What is Python?

Python is a general-purpose programming language that has a wide range of applications. It has high-level data structures. It is dynamically typed. It has a dynamic binding and many more features, making it a handy tool to develop complex applications as it is used for scripting or “glue code” that connects different components. It can also make system calls on almost all operating systems. Python is a universal language due to its ability to run on nearly every system architecture and omnipresence. Python is an interpreted, interactive, object-oriented programming language.

What is Web3Py?

Web3.py is a Python library that helps you interact with the Ethereum blockchain; using web3Py, one can make backend clients for their decentralized applications (dApps) to handle interaction with blockchain, reading data from it, writing transactions, or executing smart contract logic. The original API was derived from Web3.js JavaScript API but has improved with time to better serve and cater to Python Developers' needs and demands.

Since we are working with Python here, we’ll use Web3.py.

Now, let’s see how we can generate a new Ethereum address in Python.

Generating an Ethereum address in Python

Our first step here would be to check if Python 3.6 or higher is installed on your system; you can check if Python is installed on not by typing the following in your terminal/cmd:

$ python --version

If not installed, you can follow the instructions on the Downloads page of Python’s official website.

We’ll use Web3Py, a Python library used to interact with Ethereum. We’ll install Web3Py using PIP type the following in your terminal/cmd:

$ pip install web3

Note: Python and other library versions cause common installation problems. Therefore, if you face any problem, try setting up a virtual environment and troubleshoot the web3.py installation.

If everything goes right, Web3.py will be installed in your system.

Now, let’s create a Python file and name it address.py, copy-paste the following code into the file:

from eth_account import Account
import secrets
priv = secrets.token_hex(32)
private_key = "0x" + priv
print ("SAVE BUT DO NOT SHARE THIS:", private_key)
acct = Account.from_key(private_key)
print("Address:", acct.address)

Explanation of the code above

Line 1: Importing Account from the eth_account module of Web3.py

Line 2: Importing Python's secrets module, which will help us generate a random hexadecimal string.

Line 3: Generating a random hexadecimal string of 32 bytes / 64 characters and storing it in priv variable

Line 4: Attaching 0x prefix to our 64 character hexadecimal string stored in priv and storing the new string in variable private_key.

Line 5: Printing our Private key with a warning.

Line 6: Creating a new account using the private_key and storing it in variable acct.

Line 7: Printing the address of the account stored in acct variable with a string “Address:”

Now, let’s run our Python program.

$ python address.py

If you followed the instructions correctly, it must give out an output something like this. The first line consists of the private key, and the second line consists of the Ethereum address.



Conclusion

With your own Ethereum address (+ private key) now, you can send transactions and interact with smart contracts, refer to Web3.py’s official documentation for more information.

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