An "Account" in the XRP Ledger represents a holder of XRP and a sender of transactions. The core elements of an account are:
- An identifying address, such as
- An XRP balance. Some of this XRP is set aside for the Reserve.
- A sequence number, starting at 1 and increasing with each transaction sent from this account. No transaction can be included in a ledger unless the transaction's sequence number matches its sender's next sequence number.
- A history of transactions that affected this account and its balances.
- One or more ways to authorize transactions, possibly including:
In the ledger's data tree, an account's core data is stored in the AccountRoot ledger object type. An account can also be the owner (or partial owner) of several other types of data.
Tip: An "Account" in the XRP Ledger is somewhere between the financial usage (like "bank account") and the computing usage (like "UNIX account"). Non-XRP currencies and assets aren't stored in an XRP Ledger Account itself; each such asset is stored in an accounting relationship called a "Trust Line" that connects two parties.
There is not a dedicated "create account" transaction. The Payment transaction automatically creates a new account if the payment sends XRP equal to or greater than the account reserve to a mathematically-valid address that does not already have an account. This is called funding an account, and creates an AccountRoot object in the ledger. No other transaction can create an account.
Caution: Funding an account does not give you any special privileges over that account. Whoever has the secret key corresponding to the account's address has full control over the account and all XRP it contains. For some addresses, it's possible that no one has the secret key, in which case the account is a black hole and the XRP is lost forever.
The typical way to get an account in the XRP Ledger is as follows:
Generate a key pair from a strong source of randomness and calculate the address of that key pair. (For example, you can use the wallet_propose method to do this.)
Have someone who already has an account in the XRP Ledger send XRP to the address you generated.
For example, you can purchase XRP in a private exchange, then withdraw XRP from the exchange to the address you specified.
Caution: The first time you receive XRP at your own XRP Ledger address, you must pay the account reserve (currently 20 XRP), which locks up that amount of XRP indefinitely. In contrast, private exchanges usually hold all their customers' XRP in a few shared XRP Ledger accounts, so customers don't have to pay the reserve for individual accounts at the exchange. Before withdrawing, consider whether having your own account directly on the XRP Ledger is worth the price.
Accounts in the XRP Ledger are identified by a base58 XRP Ledger Address. The address is derived from the account's master public key, which is in turn derived from a secret key. An address is represented as a string in JSON and has the following characteristics:
- Between 25 and 35 characters in length
- Starts with the character
- Uses alphanumeric characters, excluding the number "
0" capital letter "
O", capital letter "
I", and lowercase letter "
- Includes a 4-byte checksum so that the probability of generating a valid address from random characters is approximately 1 in 2^32
Any valid address can become an account in the XRP Ledger by being funded. You can also use an address that has not been funded to represent a regular key or a member of a signer list. Only a funded account can be the sender of a transaction.
Creating a valid address is a strictly mathematical task starting with a key pair. You can generate a key pair and calculate its address entirely offline without communicating to the XRP Ledger or any other party. The conversion from a public key to an address involves a one-way hash function, so it is possible to confirm that a public key matches an address but it is impossible to derive the public key from the address alone. (This is part of the reason why signed transactions include the public key and the address of the sender.)
For more technical details of how to calculate an XRP Ledger address, see Address Encoding.
Some addresses have special meaning, or historical uses, in the XRP Ledger. In many cases, these are "black hole" addresses, meaning the address is not derived from a known secret key. Since it is effectively impossible to guess a secret key from only an address, any XRP possessed by black hole addresses is lost forever.
|rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhoLvTp||ACCOUNT_ZERO||An address that is the base58 encoding of the value
|rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrBZbvji||ACCOUNT_ONE||An address that is the base58 encoding of the value
|rHb9CJAWyB4rj91VRWn96DkukG4bwdtyTh||The genesis account||When
|rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrNAMEtxvNvQ||Ripple Name reservation black-hole||In the past, Ripple asked users to send XRP to this account to reserve Ripple Names.||Yes|
|rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrn5RM1rHd||NaN Address||Previous versions of ripple-lib generated this address when base58 encoding the value NaN.||Yes|
Permanence of Accounts
Once created, an account exists in the XRP Ledger's data tree forever. This is because the current sequence number for a transaction must be tracked forever, so that old transactions cannot be processed a second time.
Unlike Bitcoin and many other crypto-currencies, each new version of the XRP Ledger's public ledger chain contains the full state of the ledger, which increases in size with each new account. For that reason, Ripple discourages creating new accounts unless entirely necessary. Institutions who send and receive value on behalf of many users can use Source Tags and Destination Tags to distinguish payments from and to their customers while only using one (or a handful) of accounts in the XRP Ledger.
In the XRP Ledger, transaction history is tracked by a "thread" of transactions linked by a transaction's identifying hash and the ledger index. The
AccountRoot ledger object has the identifying hash and ledger of the transaction that most recently modified it; the metadata of that transaction includes the previous state of the
AccountRoot node, so it is possible to iterate through the history of a single account this way. This transaction history includes any transactions that modify the
AccountRoot node directly, including:
- Transactions sent by the account, because they modify the account's
Sequencenumber. These transactions also modify the account's XRP balance because of the transaction cost.
- Transactions that modified the account's XRP balance, including incoming Payment transactions and other types of transactions such as PaymentChannelClaim and EscrowFinish.
The conceptual transaction history of an account also includes transactions that modified the account's owned objects and non-XRP balances. These objects are separate ledger objects, each with their own thread of transactions that affected them. If you have an account's full ledger history, you can follow it forward to find the ledger objects created or modified by it. A "complete" transaction history includes the history of objects owned by a transaction, such as:
RippleStateobjects (Trust Lines) connected to the account.
DirectoryNodeobjects, especially the owner directory tracking the account's owned objects.
Offerobjects, representing the account's outstanding currency-exchange orders in the decentralized exchange
PayChannelobjects, representing asynchronous payment channels to and from the account
Escrowobjects, representing held payments to or from the account that are locked by time or a crypto-condition.
SignerListobjects, representing lists of addresses that can authorize transactions for the account by multi-signing.
For more information on each of these objects, see the Ledger Format Reference.
Tip: These technical details are only relevant for people building low-level library software for XRP Ledger compatibility!
XRP Ledger addresses are encoded using base58 with the Ripple dictionary:
rpshnaf39wBUDNEGHJKLM4PQRST7VWXYZ2bcdeCg65jkm8oFqi1tuvAxyz. Since the XRP Ledger encodes several types of keys with base58, it prefixes the encoded data with a one-byte "type prefix" (also called a "version prefix") to distinguish them. The type prefix causes addresses to usually start with different letters in base58 format.
The following diagram shows the relationship between keys and addresses:
The formula for calculating an XRP Ledger address is as follows. For the complete example code, see
Import required algorithms: SHA-256, RIPEMD160, and base58. Set the dictionary for base58.
'use strict'; const assert = require('assert'); const crypto = require('crypto'); const R_B58_DICT = 'rpshnaf39wBUDNEGHJKLM4PQRST7VWXYZ2bcdeCg65jkm8oFqi1tuvAxyz'; const base58 = require('base-x')(R_B58_DICT); assert(crypto.getHashes().includes('sha256')); assert(crypto.getHashes().includes('ripemd160'));
Start with a 33-byte ECDSA secp256k1 public key, or a 32-byte Ed25119 public key. For Ed25519 keys, prefix the key with the byte
const pubkey_hex = 'ED9434799226374926EDA3B54B1B461B4ABF7237962EAE18528FEA67595397FA32'; const pubkey = Buffer.from(pubkey_hex, 'hex'); assert(pubkey.length == 33);
Calculate the RIPEMD160 hash of the SHA-256 hash of the public key. This value is the "Account ID".
const pubkey_inner_hash = crypto.createHash('sha256').update(pubkey); const pubkey_outer_hash = crypto.createHash('ripemd160'); pubkey_outer_hash.update(pubkey_inner_hash.digest()); const account_id = pubkey_outer_hash.digest();
Calculate the SHA-256 hash of the SHA-256 hash of the Account ID; take the first 4 bytes. This value is the "checksum".
const address_type_prefix = Buffer.from([0x00]); const payload = Buffer.concat([address_type_prefix, account_id]); const chksum_hash1 = crypto.createHash('sha256').update(payload).digest(); const chksum_hash2 = crypto.createHash('sha256').update(chksum_hash1).digest(); const checksum = chksum_hash2.slice(0,4);
Concatenate the payload and the checksum. Calculate the base58 value of the concatenated buffer. The result is the address.
const dataToEncode = Buffer.concat([payload, checksum]); const address = base58.encode(dataToEncode); console.log(address); // rDTXLQ7ZKZVKz33zJbHjgVShjsBnqMBhmN