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Wallets and Accounts Overview

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A Web3.js Wallet is your main entry point if you want to use a private key directly to do any blockchain operations (transactions), also called Signer in other libraries.

Unlike other libraries where a wallet holds just one account, a Web3.js Wallet can handle multiple accounts. They each have their private key and address. So, whether those keys are in your computer's memory or protected by MetaMask, the Wallet makes Ethereum tasks secure and simple.

The web3-eth-accounts package contains functions to generate Ethereum accounts and sign transactions and data.

In Ethereum, a private key is a critical part of the cryptographic key pair used to secure and control ownership of Ethereum addresses. Each Ethereum address has a matching set of public and private keys in a public-key cryptography system. This key pair enables you to own an Ethereum address, manage funds, and initiate transactions.

Learn more about wallets here

You can sign and send transactions in different ways.

For each of them you can use Web3PromiEvent to catch extra transaction's events.

Wallets vs Accounts

An account in web3.js is an object, it refers to an individual Ethereum address with its associated public and private keys. While a wallet is a higher-level construct for managing multiple accounts, an individual Ethereum address is considered an account.

Create a new account
const account = web3.eth.accounts.create();

/* ↳
address: '0x9E82491d1978217d631a3b467BF912933F54788f',
privateKey: '0x4651f9c219fc6401fe0b3f82129467c717012287ccb61950d2a8ede0687857ba',
signTransaction: [Function: signTransaction],
sign: [Function: sign],
encrypt: [Function: encrypt]

A wallet in web3.js is an array that holds multiple Ethereum accounts. It provides a convenient way to manage and interact with a collection of accounts. Think of it as a digital wallet that you use to store and organize your various Ethereum addresses.

Create a new wallet
//create a wallet with `1` random account
const wallet = web3.eth.accounts.wallet.create(1);

/* ↳
Wallet(1) [
address: '0xB2D5647C03F36cA54f7d783b6Fa5afED297330d4',
privateKey: '0x7b907534ec13b19c67c2a738fdaa69014298c71f2221d7e5dec280232e996610',
signTransaction: [Function: signTransaction],
sign: [Function: sign],
encrypt: [Function: encrypt]
_accountProvider: {
create: [Function: createWithContext],
privateKeyToAccount: [Function: privateKeyToAccountWithContext],
decrypt: [Function: decryptWithContext]
_addressMap: Map(1) { '0xb2d5647c03f36ca54f7d783b6fa5afed297330d4' => 0 },
_defaultKeyName: 'web3js_wallet'


Diagram wallet and accounts

To learn more about the accounts methods, please visit web3.js accounts API

To learn more about the wallet methods, please visit web3.js wallet API

Sending transactions

The shortest way to do this, is by creating a Wallet directly by adding a private key (the private key must start with '0x' and it must have funds to execute the transaction)

Sending a transaction adding a privateKey
import { Web3 } from 'web3';

const web3 = new Web3('');

//this will create an array `Wallet` with 1 account with this privateKey
//it will generate automatically a public key for it
//make sure you have funds in this accounts
const wallet = web3.eth.accounts.wallet.add('0x152c39c430806985e4dc16fa1d7d87f90a7a1d0a6b3f17efe5158086815652e5');

const _to = '0xc7203efeb54846c149f2c79b715a8927f7334e74';
const _value = '1'; //1 wei

//the `from` address in the transaction must match the address stored in our `Wallet` array
//that's why we explicitly access it using `wallet[0].address` to ensure accuracy
const receipt = await web3.eth.sendTransaction({
from: wallet[0].address,
to: _to,
value: _value,
//if you have more than 1 account, you can change the address by accessing to another account
//e.g, `from: wallet[1].address`

console.log('Tx receipt:', receipt);
/* ↳
Tx receipt: {
blockHash: '0xa43b43b6e13ba47f2283b4afc15271ba07d1bba0430bd0c430f770ba7c98d054',
blockNumber: 4960689n,
cumulativeGasUsed: 7055436n,
effectiveGasPrice: 51964659212n,
from: '0xa3286628134bad128faeef82f44e99aa64085c94',
gasUsed: 21000n,
logs: [],
logsBloom: '0x00000...00000000',
status: 1n,
to: '0xc7203efeb54846c149f2c79b715a8927f7334e74',
transactionHash: '0xb88f3f300f1a168beb3a687abc2d14c389ac9709f18b768c90792c7faef0de7c',
transactionIndex: 41n,
type: 2n

Interacting with contracts

Writing functions

To interact with functions that modify or update data in smart contracts(writing-functions), we need to create a Wallet. This Wallet must holds at least 1 account with the necessary funds to execute these operations on the blockchain.

Interacting with writing-functions of a smart contract
import { Web3 } from 'web3';

const web3 = new Web3('');

//create a wallet
const wallet = web3.eth.accounts.wallet.add('0x152c39c430806985e4dc16fa1d7d87f90a7a1d0a6b3f17efe5158086815652e5');

//this is how we can access to the first account of the wallet
console.log('Account 1:', wallet[0]);
/* ↳
Account 1: {
address: '0x57CaabD59a5436F0F1b2B191b1d070e58E6449AE',
privateKey: '0x152c39c430806985e4dc16fa1d7d87f90a7a1d0a6b3f17efe5158086815652e5',

//instantiate the contract
const myContract = new web3.eth.Contract(ABI, CONTRACT_ADDRESS);

//interact with the contract
//wallet[0].address == '0x57CaabD59a5436F0F1b2B191b1d070e58E6449AE'
const txReceipt = await myContract.methods.doSomething().send({ from: wallet[0].address });

console.log('Transaction receipt:', txReceipt);
/* ↳
Transaction receipt: {...}

Reading functions (view)

To interact with smart contracts view public/external returns, we don't need to instantiate a Wallet, we can do it just by instantiating the smart contract and the provider.

Interacting with reading-functions of a smart contract
import { Web3 } from 'web3';

//instantiate the provider
const web3 = new Web3('');

//instantiate the contract
const myContract = new web3.eth.Contract(ABI, CONTRACT_ADDRESS);

//call the `view function` in the contract
const result = await myContract.methods.doSomething().call();

console.log('Result:', result)
/* ↳
Result: ...

Wallet methods

The following is a list of Wallet methods in the web3.eth.accounts.wallet package with description and example usage:

Account methods

The following is a list of Accounts methods in the web3.eth.accounts package with description and example usage: