IDs and Encoding

Knowing the overall message structure is great, but it’s not very useful if you can’t construct the metadata. To do this, there are four parts.


This encoding is taken from Bitcoin. If you’ve ever seen a Bitcoin address, you’ve seen base_58 encoding in action. The goal behind it is to provide data compression without compromising its human readability. Base_58, for the purposes of this protocol, is defined by the following python methods.

base_58 = '123456789ABCDEFGHJKLMNPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijkmnopqrstuvwxyz'

def to_base_58(i):
    string = ""
    while i:
        string = base_58[i % 58] + string
        i = i // 58    # Floor division is needed to prevent floats
    return string.encode()

def from_base_58(string):
    if isinstance(string, bytes):
        string = string.decode()
    decimal = 0
    for char in string:
        decimal = decimal * 58 + base_58.index(char)
    return decimal


The last element is the ‘subnet ID’ we referred to in the previous section. This object is used to weed out undesired connections. If someone has the wrong protocol object, then your node will reject them from connecting. A rough definition would be as follows:

class protocol(namedtuple("protocol", ['subnet', 'encryption'])):
    def id(self):
        info = [str(x) for x in self] + [protocol_version]
        h = hashlib.sha256(''.join(info).encode())
        return to_base_58(int(h.hexdigest(), 16))

Or more explicitly in javascript:

class protocol {
    constructor(subnet, encryption) {
        this.subnet = subnet;
        this.encryption = encryption;

    get id() {
        var info = [this.subnet, this.encryption, protocol_version];
        var hash = SHA256(info.join(''));
        return to_base_58(BigInt(hash, 16));

Node IDs

A node ID is taken from a SHA-384 hash of three other elements. First, your outward facing address. Second, the ID of your subnet. Third, a ‘user salt’ generated on startup. This hash is then converted into base_58.

Message IDs

A message ID is also a SHA-384 hash. In this case, it is on a message’s payload and its timestamp.

To get the hash, first join each packet together in order. Append to this the message’s timestamp in base_58. The ID you will use is the hash of this string, encoded into base_58.