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How does one calculate the hash of a Tx? Which fields need to be double SHA hashed and in what order?

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Do you mean the transaction ID hash that the JSON-RPC send* methods return? It can be confusing because hashes for transactions are calculated and signed to transmit bitcoins, but the hashes that are signed are NOT the same as the transaction ID hashes.... – gavinandresen Dec 8 '11 at 3:32
I mean the hashes calculated for the merkle tree, but I suppose both would be useful. – ThePiachu Dec 8 '11 at 11:16
up vote 4 down vote accepted

As explained by Gavin Andersen on the forum - in order to calculate the ID hash of the Tx that is used in the Merkle Tree, one needs to SHA hash the whole Tx message as defined in the Protocol Specification wiki page twice.

For example, for the only Tx from the Genesis Block one would double hash the following array of bytes:


And if double hashed correctly, it would give the following hash:


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Little endian! In most implementations that double-hash would yield 3b a3 ed fd 7a 7b 12 b2 7a c7 2c 3e 67 76 8f 61 7f c8 1b c3 88 8a 51 32 3a 9f b8 aa 4b 1e 5e 4a, but you'll want to reverse that: 4a 5e 1e 4b aa b8 9f 3a 32 51 8a 88 c3 1b c8 7f 61 8f 76 67 3e 2c c7 7a b2 12 7b 7a fd ed a3 3b, resulting in the actual hash that is actually used. – Kenan Sulayman Mar 7 at 0:42

There's a diagram explaining the process of hashing a transaction when creating or verifying the signature of a bitcoin transaction on the forum, and a higher resolution version of the same image on dropbox.

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