personal Namespace

The personal API manages private keys in the key store.


Imports the given unencrypted private key (hex string) into the key store, encrypting it with the passphrase.

Returns the address of the new account.

Client Method invocation
Console personal.importRawKey(keydata, passphrase)
RPC {"method": "personal_importRawKey", "params": [string, string]}


Returns all the Ethereum account addresses of all keys in the key store.

Client Method invocation
Console personal.listAccounts
RPC {"method": "personal_listAccounts", "params": []}


> personal.listAccounts
["0x5e97870f263700f46aa00d967821199b9bc5a120", "0x3d80b31a78c30fc628f20b2c89d7ddbf6e53cedc"]


Removes the private key with given address from memory. The account can no longer be used to send transactions.

Client Method invocation
Console personal.lockAccount(address)
RPC {"method": "personal_lockAccount", "params": [string]}


Generates a new private key and stores it in the key store directory. The key file is encrypted with the given passphrase. Returns the address of the new account.

At the geth console, newAccount will prompt for a passphrase when it is not supplied as the argument.

Client Method invocation
Console personal.newAccount()
RPC {"method": "personal_newAccount", "params": [string]}


> personal.newAccount()
Repeat passphrase: 

The passphrase can also be supplied as a string.

> personal.newAccount("h4ck3r")


Decrypts the key with the given address from the key store.

Both passphrase and unlock duration are optional when using the JavaScript console. If the passphrase is not supplied as an argument, the console will prompt for the passphrase interactively.

The unencrypted key will be held in memory until the unlock duration expires. If the unlock duration defaults to 300 seconds. An explicit duration of zero seconds unlocks the key until geth exits.

The account can be used with eth_sign and eth_sendTransaction while it is unlocked.

Client Method invocation
Console personal.unlockAccount(address, passphrase, duration)
RPC {"method": "personal_unlockAccount", "params": [string, string, number]}


> personal.unlockAccount("0x5e97870f263700f46aa00d967821199b9bc5a120")
Unlock account 0x5e97870f263700f46aa00d967821199b9bc5a120

Supplying the passphrase and unlock duration as arguments:

> personal.unlockAccount("0x5e97870f263700f46aa00d967821199b9bc5a120", "foo", 30)

If you want to type in the passphrase and stil override the default unlock duration, pass null as the passphrase.

> personal.unlockAccount("0x5e97870f263700f46aa00d967821199b9bc5a120", null, 30)
Unlock account 0x5e97870f263700f46aa00d967821199b9bc5a120


Validate the given passphrase and submit transaction.

The transaction is the same argument as for eth_sendTransaction and contains the from address. If the passphrase can be used to decrypt the private key belogging to tx.from the transaction is verified, signed and send onto the network. The account is not unlocked globally in the node and cannot be used in other RPC calls.

Client Method invocation
Console personal.sendTransaction(tx, passphrase)
RPC {"method": "personal_sendTransaction", "params": [tx, string]}

Note, prior to Geth 1.5, please use personal_signAndSendTransaction as that was the original introductory name and only later renamed to the current final version.


> var tx = {from: "0x391694e7e0b0cce554cb130d723a9d27458f9298", to: "0xafa3f8684e54059998bc3a7b0d2b0da075154d66", value: web3.toWei(1.23, "ether")}
> personal.sendTransaction(tx, "passphrase")


The sign method calculates an Ethereum specific signature with: sign(keccack256("\x19Ethereum Signed Message:\n" + len(message) + message))).

By adding a prefix to the message makes the calculated signature recognisable as an Ethereum specific signature. This prevents misuse where a malicious DApp can sign arbitrary data (e.g. transaction) and use the signature to impersonate the victim.

See ecRecover to verify the signature.

Client Method invocation
Console personal.sign(message, account, [password])
RPC {"method": "personal_sign", "params": [message, account, password]}


> personal.sign("0xdeadbeaf", "0x9b2055d370f73ec7d8a03e965129118dc8f5bf83", "")


ecRecover returns the address associated with the private key that was used to calculate the signature in personal_sign.

Client Method invocation
Console personal.ecRecover(message, signature)
RPC {"method": "personal_ecRecover", "params": [message, signature]}


> personal.sign("0xdeadbeaf", "0x9b2055d370f73ec7d8a03e965129118dc8f5bf83", "")
> personal.ecRecover("0xdeadbeaf", "0xa3f20717a250c2b0b729b7e5becbff67fdaef7e0699da4de7ca5895b02a170a12d887fd3b17bfdce3481f10bea41f45ba9f709d39ce8325427b57afcfc994cee1b")