Transaction Basics

A Transaction is the only way to modify the XRP Ledger. Transactions are only final if signed, submitted, and accepted into a validated ledger version following the consensus process. Some ledger rules also generate pseudo-transactions, which aren't signed or submitted, but still must be accepted by consensus. Transactions that fail are also included in ledgers because they modify balances of XRP to pay for the anti-spam transaction cost.

Identifying Transactions

Every signed transaction has a unique "hash" that identifies it. The server provides the hash in the response when you submit the transaction; you can also look up a transaction in an account's transaction history with the account_tx command.

The transaction hash can be used as a "proof of payment" since anyone can look up the transaction by its hash to verify its final status.

Claimed Cost Justification

Although it may seem unfair to charge a transaction cost for a failed transaction, the tec class of errors exists for good reasons:

  • Transactions submitted after the failed one do not have to have their Sequence values renumbered. Incorporating the failed transaction into a ledger uses up the transaction's sequence number, preserving the expected sequence.
  • Distributing the transaction throughout the network increases network load. Enforcing a cost makes it harder for attackers to abuse the network with failed transactions.
  • The transaction cost is generally very small in real-world value, so it should not harm users unless they are sending large quantities of transactions.

Authorizing Transactions

In the decentralized XRP Ledger, a digital signature proves that a transaction is authorized to do a specific set of actions. Only signed transactions can be submitted to the network and included in a validated ledger. A signed transaction is immutable: its contents cannot change, and the signature is not valid for any other transaction.

A transaction can be authorized by any of the following types of signatures:

  • A single signature from the master private key that is mathematically associated with the sending address. You can disable or enable the master key pair using an AccountSet transaction.
  • A single signature that matches the regular private key associated with the address. You can add, remove, or replace a regular key pair using a SetRegularKey transaction.
  • A multi-signature that matches a list of signers owned by the address. You can add, remove, or replace a list of signers using a SignerListSet transaction.

Any signature type can authorize any type of transaction, with the following exceptions:

For more information about master and regular key pairs, see Cryptographic Keys.

Signing and Submitting Transactions

Sending a transaction to the XRP Ledger involves several steps:

  1. Create an unsigned transaction in JSON format.
  2. Use one or more signatures to authorize the transaction.
  3. Submit a transaction to a rippled server. If the transaction is properly formed, the server provisionally applies the transaction to its current version of the ledger and relays the transaction to other members of the peer-to-peer network.
  4. The consensus process determines which provisional transactions get included in the next validated ledger.
  5. The rippled servers apply those transactions to the previous ledger in a canonical order and share their results.
  6. If enough trusted validators created the exact same ledger, that ledger is declared validated and the results of the transactions in that ledger are immutable.

Example Unsigned Transaction

Here is an example of an unsigned Payment transaction in JSON:

{
  "TransactionType" : "Payment",
  "Account" : "rf1BiGeXwwQoi8Z2ueFYTEXSwuJYfV2Jpn",
  "Destination" : "ra5nK24KXen9AHvsdFTKHSANinZseWnPcX",
  "Amount" : {
     "currency" : "USD",
     "value" : "1",
     "issuer" : "rf1BiGeXwwQoi8Z2ueFYTEXSwuJYfV2Jpn"
  },
  "Fee": "12",
  "Flags": 2147483648,
  "Sequence": 2,
}

The XRP Ledger only relays and executes a transaction if the transaction object has been authorized by the sending address (in the Account) field. For transactions authorized by only a single signature, you have two options:

  1. Convert it to a binary blob and sign it offline. This is preferable, since it means that the account secret used for signing the transaction is never transmitted over any network connection.
  2. Have a rippled server sign the transaction for you. The sign command takes a JSON-format transaction and secret and returns the signed binary transaction format ready for submission. (Transmitting your account secret is dangerous, so you should only do this from within a trusted and encrypted connection, or through a local connection, and only to a server you control.)
    • As a shortcut, you can use the submit command with a tx_json object to sign and submit a transaction all at once. This is only recommended for testing and development purposes.

Example Signed Transaction Blob

Signing a transaction generates a binary blob that can be submitted to the network. This means using rippled's submit command. Here is an example of the same transaction, as a signed blob, being submitted with the WebSocket API:

{
  "id": 2,
  "command": "submit",
  "tx_blob" : "120000240000000461D4838D7EA4C6800000000000000000000000000055534400000000004B4E9C06F24296074F7BC48F92A97916C6DC5EA968400000000000000F732103AB40A0490F9B7ED8DF29D246BF2D6269820A0EE7742ACDD457BEA7C7D0931EDB74483046022100982064CDD3F052D22788DB30B52EEA8956A32A51375E72274E417328EBA31E480221008F522C9DB4B0F31E695AA013843958A10DE8F6BA7D6759BEE645F71A7EB240BE81144B4E9C06F24296074F7BC48F92A97916C6DC5EA983143E9D4A2B8AA0780F682D136F7A56D6724EF53754"
}

Example Executed Transaction with Metadata

After a transaction has been submitted, you can check its status using the API, for example using the tx command.

Caution: The success of a transaction is not final unless the transaction appears in a validated ledger with the result code tesSUCCESS. See also: Finality of Results.

Example response from the tx command:

{
  "id": 6,
  "status": "success",
  "type": "response",
  "result": {
    "Account": "rf1BiGeXwwQoi8Z2ueFYTEXSwuJYfV2Jpn",
    "Amount": {
      "currency": "USD",
      "issuer": "rf1BiGeXwwQoi8Z2ueFYTEXSwuJYfV2Jpn",
      "value": "1"
    },
    "Destination": "ra5nK24KXen9AHvsdFTKHSANinZseWnPcX",
    "Fee": "10",
    "Flags": 2147483648,
    "Sequence": 2,
    "SigningPubKey": "03AB40A0490F9B7ED8DF29D246BF2D6269820A0EE7742ACDD457BEA7C7D0931EDB",
    "TransactionType": "Payment",
    "TxnSignature": "3045022100D64A32A506B86E880480CCB846EFA3F9665C9B11FDCA35D7124F53C486CC1D0402206EC8663308D91C928D1FDA498C3A2F8DD105211B9D90F4ECFD75172BAE733340",
    "date": 455224610,
    "hash": "33EA42FC7A06F062A7B843AF4DC7C0AB00D6644DFDF4C5D354A87C035813D321",
    "inLedger": 7013674,
    "ledger_index": 7013674,
    "meta": {
      "AffectedNodes": [
        {
          "ModifiedNode": {
            "FinalFields": {
              "Account": "rf1BiGeXwwQoi8Z2ueFYTEXSwuJYfV2Jpn",
              "Balance": "99999980",
              "Flags": 0,
              "OwnerCount": 0,
              "Sequence": 3
            },
            "LedgerEntryType": "AccountRoot",
            "LedgerIndex": "13F1A95D7AAB7108D5CE7EEAF504B2894B8C674E6D68499076441C4837282BF8",
            "PreviousFields": {
              "Balance": "99999990",
              "Sequence": 2
            },
            "PreviousTxnID": "7BF105CFE4EFE78ADB63FE4E03A851440551FE189FD4B51CAAD9279C9F534F0E",
            "PreviousTxnLgrSeq": 6979192
          }
        },
        {
          "ModifiedNode": {
            "FinalFields": {
              "Balance": {
                "currency": "USD",
                "issuer": "rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrBZbvji",
                "value": "2"
              },
              "Flags": 65536,
              "HighLimit": {
                "currency": "USD",
                "issuer": "rf1BiGeXwwQoi8Z2ueFYTEXSwuJYfV2Jpn",
                "value": "0"
              },
              "HighNode": "0000000000000000",
              "LowLimit": {
                "currency": "USD",
                "issuer": "ra5nK24KXen9AHvsdFTKHSANinZseWnPcX",
                "value": "100"
              },
              "LowNode": "0000000000000000"
            },
            "LedgerEntryType": "RippleState",
            "LedgerIndex": "96D2F43BA7AE7193EC59E5E7DDB26A9D786AB1F7C580E030E7D2FF5233DA01E9",
            "PreviousFields": {
              "Balance": {
                "currency": "USD",
                "issuer": "rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrBZbvji",
                "value": "1"
              }
            },
            "PreviousTxnID": "7BF105CFE4EFE78ADB63FE4E03A851440551FE189FD4B51CAAD9279C9F534F0E",
            "PreviousTxnLgrSeq": 6979192
          }
        }
      ],
      "TransactionIndex": 0,
      "TransactionResult": "tesSUCCESS"
    },
    "validated": true
  }
}