Skip to main content

Create Simple Transaction

Creating a transaction requires various steps:

  • Get the protocol parameters
  • Calculate the fee
  • Define the time-to-live (TTL) for the transaction
  • Build the transaction
  • Sign the transaction
  • Submit the transaction

Get protocol parameters#

Get the protocol parameters and save them to protocol.json with:

cardano-cli query protocol-parameters \
--mainnet \
--out-file protocol.json

Get the transaction hash and index of the UTXO to spend:#

cardano-cli query utxo \
--address $(cat payment.addr) \

Draft the transaction#

Create a draft for the transaction and save it in tx.draft


For --tx-in we use the following syntax: TxHash#TxIx where TxHash is the transaction hash and TxIx is the index; for --tx-out we use: TxOut+Lovelace where TxOut is the hex encoded address followed by the amount in Lovelace. For the transaction draft --tx-out, --invalid-hereafter and --fee can be set to zero.

cardano-cli transaction build-raw \
--tx-in 4e3a6e7fdcb0d0efa17bf79c13aed2b4cb9baf37fb1aa2e39553d5bd720c5c99#4 \
--tx-out $(cat payment2.addr)+0 \
--tx-out $(cat payment.addr)+0 \
--invalid-hereafter 0 \
--fee 0 \
--out-file tx.draft

Calculate the fee#

A simple transaction needs one input, a valid UTXO from payment.addr, and two outputs:

  • Output1: The address that receives the transaction.
  • Output2: The address that receives the change of the transaction.

Note that to calculate the fee you need to include the draft transaction

cardano-cli transaction calculate-min-fee \
--tx-body-file tx.draft \
--tx-in-count 1 \
--tx-out-count 2 \
--witness-count 1 \
--byron-witness-count 0 \
--mainnet \
--protocol-params-file protocol.json

Calculate the change to send back to payment.addr#

all amounts must be in Lovelace:


For example, if we send 10 ada from a UTxO containing 20 ada, the change to send back to payment.addr after paying the fee is: 9.832035 ada

expr 20000000 - 10000000 - 167965

Determine the TTL (time to Live) for the transaction#

To build the transaction we need to specify the TTL (Time to live), this is the slot height limit for our transaction to be included in a block, if it is not in a block by that slot the transaction will be cancelled. So TTL = slot + N slots. Where N is the amount of slots you want to add to give the transaction a window to be included in a block.

Query the tip of the blockchain:

cardano-cli query tip --mainnet

Look for the value of slotNo

"blockNo": 16829,
"headerHash": "3e6f59b10d605e7f59ba8383cb0ddcd42480ddcc0a85d41bad1e4648eb5465ad",
"slotNo": 369200

Calculate your TTL, for example: 369200 + 200 slots = 369400

Build the transaction#

We write the transaction in a file, we will name it tx.raw.

cardano-cli transaction build-raw \
--tx-in 4e3a6e7fdcb0d0efa17bf79c13aed2b4cb9baf37fb1aa2e39553d5bd720c5c99#4 \
--tx-out $(cat payment2.addr)+10000000 \
--tx-out $(cat payment.addr)+9832035 \
--invalid-hereafter 369400 \
--fee 167965 \
--out-file tx.raw

Sign the transaction#

Sign the transaction with the signing key payment.skey and save the signed transaction in tx.signed

cardano-cli transaction sign \
--tx-body-file tx.raw \
--signing-key-file payment.skey \
--mainnet \
--out-file tx.signed

Submit the transaction#

cardano-cli transaction submit \
--tx-file tx.signed \

Check the balances#

We must give it some time to get incorporated into the blockchain, but eventually, we will see the effect:

cardano-cli query utxo \
--address $(cat payment.addr) \
> TxHash TxIx Amount
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> b64ae44e1195b04663ab863b62337e626c65b0c9855a9fbb9ef4458f81a6f5ee 1 9832035 lovelace
cardano-cli query utxo \
--address $(cat payment2.addr) \
> TxHash TxIx Amount
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> b64ae44e1195b04663ab863b62337e626c65b0c9855a9fbb9ef4458f81a6f5ee 0 10000000 lovelace

--mainnet identifies the Cardano mainnet, for testnets use --testnet-magic 1097911063 instead.