Tooling for offline transaction creation and signing.

jcli transaction

Those familiar with cardano-cli transaction builder will see resemblance in jcli transaction.

There is a couple of commands that can be used to:

  1. prepare a transaction:
    • new create a new empty transaction;
    • add-input
    • add-account
    • add-output
  2. finalize the transaction for signing:
  3. create witnesses and add the witnesses:
    • make-witness
    • add-witness
  4. seal the transaction, ready to send to the blockchain
  5. auth the transaction, if it contains a certificate

There are also functions to help decode and display the content information of a transaction:

  • info displays summary of transaction being constructed
  • data-for-witness get the data to sign from a given transaction
  • fragment-id get the Fragment ID from a transaction in sealed state
  • to-message to get the hexadecimal encoded message, ready to send with cli rest message


  • id get the data to sign from a given transaction (use data-for-witness instead)

Transaction info

On every stage of building a transaction user can display its summary

jcli transaction info <options>

The options are:

  • --prefix <address-prefix> - set the address prefix to use when displaying the addresses (default: ca)

  • --fee-certificate <certificate> - fee per certificate (default: 0)

  • --fee-coefficient <coefficient> - fee per every input and output (default: 0)

  • --fee-constant <constant> - fee per transaction (default: 0)

  • --fee-owner-stake-delegation <certificate-owner-stake-delegation> - fee per owner stake delegation (default: fee-certificate)

  • --fee-pool-registration <certificate-pool-registration> - fee per pool registration (default: fee-certificate)

  • --fee-stake-delegation <certificate-stake-delegation> - fee per stake delegation (default: fee-certificate)

  • --fee-vote-cast <certificate-vote-cast> - fee per vote cast

  • --fee-vote-plan <certificate-vote-plan> - fee per vote plan

  • --output-format <format> - Format of output data. Possible values: json, yaml. Any other value is treated as a custom format using values from output data structure. Syntax is Go text template: (default: yaml)

  • --output <output> - write the info in the given file or print it to the standard output

  • --staging <staging-file> - place where the transaction is going to be saved during its staging phase. If a file is given, the transaction will be read from this file and modification will be written into this same file. If no file is given, the transaction will be read from the standard input and will be rendered in the standard output.

YAML printed on success

balance: 40         # transaction balance or how much input is not spent
fee: 60             # total fee for transaction
input: 200          # total input of transaction
inputs:             # list of transaction inputs, each can be of either "utxo" or "account" kind
  - index: 4        # index of transaction output
    kind: utxo      # constant value, signals that UTxO is used
                    # hex-encoded ID of transaction
    txid: 543326b2739356ab6d14624a536ca696f1020498b36456b7fdfe8344c084bfcf
    value: 130      # value of transaction output
  -                 # hex-encoded account address
    account: 3fd45a64ae5a3b9c35e37114baa099b8b01285f7d74b371597af22d5ff393d9f
    kind: account   # constant value, signals that account is used
    value: 70       # value taken from account
num_inputs: 1       # total number of inputs of transaction
num_outputs: 1      # total number of outputs of transaction
num_witnesses: 1    # total number of witnesses of transaction
output: 100         # total output of transaction
outputs:            # list of transaction outputs
  -                 # bech32-encoded address
    address: ca1swedukl830v26m8hl7e5dzrjp77yctuz79a68r8jl2l79qnpu3uwz0kg8az
    value: 100      # value sent to address
                    # hex-encoded transaction hash, when transaction is complete, it's also its ID
sign_data_hash: 26be0b8bd7e34efffb769864f00d7c4aab968760f663a7e0b3ce213c4b21651b
status: sealed      # transaction status, can be "balancing", "finalizing", "sealed" or "authed"


The following example focuses on using an utxo as input, the few differences when transfering from an account will be pointed out when necessary. Also, the simplified make-transaction command in jcli covers all this process. For more information run:

jcli transaction make-transaction --help

Let's use the following utxo as input and transfer 50 lovelaces to the destination address

Input utxo

UTXO's transaction ID55762218e5737603e6d27d36c8aacf8fcd16406e820361a8ac65c7dc663f6d1c
UTXO's output index0
associated addressca1q09u0nxmnfg7af8ycuygx57p5xgzmnmgtaeer9xun7hly6mlgt3pjyknplu
associated value100

Destination address

address: ca1qvnr5pvt9e5p009strshxndrsx5etcentslp2rwj6csm8sfk24a2wlqtdj6

Create a staging area

jcli transaction new --staging tx

Add input

For the input, we need to reference the utxo with the UTXO's transaction ID and UTXO'S output index fields and we need to specify how many coins there are with the associated value field.

Example - UTXO address as Input

jcli transaction add-input 55762218e5737603e6d27d36c8aacf8fcd16406e820361a8ac65c7dc663f6d1c 0 100 --staging tx

Example - Account address as Input

If the input is an account, the command is slightly different

jcli transaction add-account account_address account_funds --staging tx

Add output

For the output, we need the address we want to transfer to, and the amount.

jcli transaction add-output ca1qvnr5pvt9e5p009strshxndrsx5etcentslp2rwj6csm8sfk24a2wlqtdj6 50 --staging tx

Add fee and change address

We want to get the change in the same address that we are sending from (the associated address of the utxo). We also specify how to compute the fees. You can leave out the --fee-constant 5 --fee-coefficient 2 part if those are both 0.

jcli transaction finalize ca1q09u0nxmnfg7af8ycuygx57p5xgzmnmgtaeer9xun7hly6mlgt3pjyknplu --fee-constant 5 --fee-coefficient 2 --staging tx

Now, if you run

jcli transaction info --fee-constant 5 --fee-coefficient 2 --staging tx

You should see something like this

balance: 0
fee: 11
input: 100
  - index: 0
    kind: utxo
    txid: 55762218e5737603e6d27d36c8aacf8fcd16406e820361a8ac65c7dc663f6d1c
    value: 100
num_inputs: 1
num_outputs: 2
num_witnesses: 0
output: 89
  - address: ca1qvnr5pvt9e5p009strshxndrsx5etcentslp2rwj6csm8sfk24a2wlqtdj6
    value: 50
  - address: ca1q09u0nxmnfg7af8ycuygx57p5xgzmnmgtaeer9xun7hly6mlgt3pjyknplu
    value: 39
sign_data_hash: 0df39a87d3f18a188b40ba8c203f85f37af665df229fb4821e477f6998864273
status: finalizing

Sign the transaction

Make witness

For signing the transaction, you need:

  • the hash of the genesis block of the network you are connected to.
  • the private key associated with the input address (the one that's in the utxos).
  • the hash of the transaction, that can be retrieved in two ways:
    1. sign_data_hash value from jcli transaction info --staging tx or
    2. jcli transaction data-for-witness --staging tx

The genesis' hash is needed for ensuring that the transaction cannot be re-used in another blockchain and for security concerns on offline transaction signing, as we are signing the transaction for the specific blockchain started by this block0 hash.

First we need to get the hash of the transaction we are going to sign.

jcli transaction data-for-witness --staging tx

You should see something like this (the value may be different since it depends on the input/output data)


The following command takes the private key in the key.prv file and creates a witness in a file named witness in the current directory.

jcli transaction make-witness --genesis-block-hash abcdef987654321... --type utxo 0df39a87d3f18a188b40ba8c203f85f37af665df229fb4821e477f6998864273 witness key.prv

Account input

When using an account as input, the command takes account as the type and an additional parameter: --account-spending-counter, that should be increased every time the account is used as input.


jcli transaction make-witness --genesis-block-hash abcdef987654321... --type account --account-spending-counter 0 0df39a87d3f18a188b40ba8c203f85f37af665df229fb4821e477f6998864273 witness key.prv

Add witness

jcli transaction add-witness witness --staging tx

Send the transaction

jcli transaction seal --staging tx
jcli transaction to-message --staging tx > txmsg

Send it using the rest api

jcli rest v0 message post -f txmsg --host

You should get some data back referring to the TransactionID (also known as FragmentID)


Checking if the transaction was accepted

You can check if the transaction was accepted by checking the node logs, for example, if the transaction is accepted

jcli rest v0 message logs -h

- fragment_id: d6ef0b2148a51ed64531efc17978a527fd2d2584da1e344a35ad12bf5460a7e2
  last_updated_at: "2019-06-11T15:38:17.070162114Z"
  received_at: "2019-06-11T15:37:09.469101162Z"
  received_from: Rest
      date: "4.707"
      block: "d9040ca57e513a36ecd3bb54207dfcd10682200929cad6ada46b521417964174"

Where the InABlock status means that the transaction was accepted in the block with date "4.707" and for block d9040ca57e513a36ecd3bb54207dfcd10682200929cad6ada46b521417964174.

The status here could also be:

Pending: if the transaction is received and is pending being added in the blockchain (or rejected).


Rejected: with an attached message of the reason the transaction was rejected.