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The smart contract language of the æternity blockchain is Sophia. It is a functional language in the ML family, strongly typed and has restricted mutable state.

Before interacting with contracts using the SDK you should get familiar with Sophia itself first. Have a look into aepp-sophia-examples and start rapid prototyping using AEstudio.

The SDK needs to interact with following components in order to enable smart contract interactions on the æternity blockchain:

  • æternity (host your own one or use the public testnet node at
  • aesophia_http (host your own one or use the public compiler at


  • For production deployments you should always host these services by yourself.

1. Specify imports

// node.js import
const { Universal, MemoryAccount, Node } = require('@aeternity/aepp-sdk')
// ES import
import { Universal, MemoryAccount, Node } from '@aeternity/aepp-sdk'

2. Initialize the SDK providing an account

When initializing the SDK you need to provide an account which will be used to sign transactions like ContractCreateTx and ContractCallTx that will be broadcasted to the network.

const node = await Node({
  url: '' // ideally host your own node
const account = MemoryAccount({
  // provide a valid keypair with your secretKey and publicKey
  keypair: { secretKey: SECRET_KEY, publicKey: PUBLIC_KEY }

const client = await Universal({
  nodes: [
    { name: 'testnet', instance: node }
  compilerUrl: '', // ideally host your own compiler
  accounts: [account]


  • You can provide multiple accounts to the SDK.
  • For each transaction you can choose a specific account to use for signing (by default the first account will be used), see transaction options.
    • This is specifically important and useful for writing tests.

3. Initialize the contract instance

const CONTRACT_SOURCE = ... // source code of the contract
const contractInstance = await client.getContractInstance(CONTRACT_SOURCE)


  • If your contract includes external dependencies which are not part of the standard library you should initialize the contract using:
    const filesystem = ... // key-value map with name of the include as key and source code of the include as value
    const contractInstance = await client.getContractInstance(CONTRACT_SOURCE, { filesystem })
  • If your contract is already deployed and you know the contract address you can initialize the contract instance using:
    const contractAddress = ... // the address of the contract
    const contractInstance = await client.getContractInstance(CONTRACT_SOURCE, { contractAddress })
  • Following attributes can be provided in an options object to getContractInstance:
    • aci (default: obtained via http compiler)
      • The Contract ACI.
    • contractAddress
      • The address where the contract is located at.
      • To be used if a contract is already deployed.
    • filesystem (default: {})
      • Key-value map with name of the include as key and source code of the include as value.
    • forceCodeCheck (default: true)
      • Don't check source code.
    • opt (default: {})
      • Object with other transaction options which will be provided to every transaction that is initiated using the contract instance. You should be aware that:
        • For most of these additional options it doesn't make sense to define them at contract instance level.
        • You wouldn't want to provide an amount to each transaction or use the same nonce which would result in invalid transactions.
        • For options like ttl or gasPrice it does absolutely make sense to set this on contract instance level.

4. Deploy the contract

If you have a Sophia contract that looks like this:

contract Increment =

    record state =
        { count: int }

    entrypoint init(start: int) =
        { count = start }

    stateful entrypoint increment(value: int) =
        put(state{ count = state.count + value })

    entrypoint get_count() =

The contract can be deployed using the contractInstance in two different ways:

const tx = await contractInstance.deploy([1]) // recommended
// or
const tx = await contractInstance.methods.init(1)

// after successful deployment you can look up the transaction and the deploy information
console.log(contractInstance.deployInfo) // { owner, transaction, address, createdAt, result, rawTx }


  • The init entrypoint is a special function which is only called once for deployment, initializes the contract's state and doesn't require the stateful declaration.
  • In Sophia all public functions are called entrypoints and need to be declared as stateful if they should produce changes to the state of the smart contract, see increment(value: int).

5. Call contract entrypoints

a) Stateful entrypoints

According to the example above you can call the stateful entrypoint increment by using one of the following lines:

const tx = await contractInstance.methods.increment(3) // recommended
// or
const tx = await contractInstance.methods.increment.send(3)
// or
const tx = await'increment', [3])


  • The functions send and call provide an explicit way to tell the SDK to sign and broadcast the transaction.
  • When using the increment function directly the SDK will automatically determine if it's a stateful entrypoint.

b) Regular entrypoints

The æternity node can expose an API endpoint that allows to execute a dry-run for a transaction. You can make use of that functionality to get the result of entrypoints that don't execute state changes. Following lines show how you can do that using the SDK for the get_count entrypoint of the example above:

const tx = await contractInstance.methods.get_count() // recommended
// or
const tx = await contractInstance.methods.get_count.get()
// or
const tx = await contractInstance.callStatic('get_count', [])

// access the decoded result returned by the execution of the entrypoint


  • The functions get and callStatic provide an explicit way to tell the SDK to perform a dry-run and to NOT broadcast the transaction.
  • When using the get_count function directly the SDK will automatically determine that the function is not declared stateful and thus perform a dry-run, too.

c) Payable entrypoints

You will probably also write functions that require an amount of aettos to be provided. These functions must be declared with payable and (most likely) stateful. Let's assume you have declared following Sophia entrypoint which checks if a required amount of aettos has been provided before it continues execution:

payable stateful entrypoint fund_project(project_id: int) =
        require(Call.value >= 50, 'at least 50 aettos need to be provided')
        // further logic ...

In order to successfully call the fund_project entrypoint you need to provide at least 50 aettos. You can do this by providing the desired amount of aettos using one of the following lines:

const tx = await contractInstance.methods.fund_project(1, { amount: 50 }) // recommended
// or
const tx = await contractInstance.methods.fund_project.send(1, { amount: 50 })
// or
const tx = await'fund_project', [1], { amount: 50 })

Transaction options

As already stated various times in the guide it is possible to provide transaction options as object to a function of the SDK that builds and potentially broadcasts a transaction. This object can be passed as additional param to each of these functions and overrides the default settings.

Sophia datatype cheatsheet

Sometimes you might wonder how to pass params to the JavaScript method that calls an entrypoint of your Sophia smart contract. The following table may help you out.

Type Sophia entrypoint definition JavaScript method call
int add_two(one: int, two: int) add_two(1 , 2)
address set_owner(owner: address) set_owner('ak_1337...')
bool is_it_true(answer: bool) is_it_true(true)
bits give_me_bits(input: bits) give_me_bits([1,0,1,1,0,])
bytes get_bytes(test: bytes(3)) get_bytes(['0x01','0x1f', '0x10'])
string hello_world(say_hello: string) hello_world('Hello!')
list have_a_few(candy: list(string)) have_a_few(['Skittles', 'M&Ms', 'JellyBelly'])
tuple a_few_things(things: (string * int * map(address, bool))) a_few_things(['hola', 3, {'ak_1337...': true}])
record record user = {
        firstname: string,
        lastname: string

get_firstname(input: user): string
get_firstname({'firstname': 'Alfred', 'lastname': 'Mustermann'})
map balances(values: map(address, int)) balances({'ak_1337...': 123, 'ak_FCKGW...': 321, 'ak_Rm5U...': 999})
option() number_defined(value: option(int)): bool =
// the datatype in the option()
number_defined(1337) // int in this case
hash a_gram(of: hash) // 32 bytes signature
signature one_signature(sig: signature) // 64 bytes signature
functions (Higher order) functions are not allowed in entrypoint params