I'm on the hunt for some python code that will tell me if a string is a valid bip32 xpub key but I'm having trouble finding any.

I also would like to check if a string is a valid bitcoin address. Here is an example I found for this purpose but it doesnt seem to work - http://rosettacode.org/wiki/Bitcoin/address_validation#Python

Please help :)

1 Answer 1


The code you linked works for me in Python 3.4, so I'll assume you're looking for something for Python 2.7.

This code is straight from here on GitHub:

import base64, hashlib, collections, struct

def int_to_bytes(int_rep, min_length = 0):
    """convert an unsigned integer to a string of bytes (in big-endian order)
    :param int_rep: a non-negative integer
    :type int_rep: long or int
    :param min_length: the minimum output length
    :type min_length: int
    :return: the raw bytes, zero-padded (at the beginning) if necessary
    :rtype: str
    assert int_rep >= 0
    hex_rep = "{:X}".format(int_rep)
    if len(hex_rep) % 2 == 1:    # The hex decoder below requires
        hex_rep = "0" + hex_rep  # exactly 2 chars per byte.
    return base64.b16decode(hex_rep).rjust(min_length, "\0")

dec_digit_to_base58 = "123456789ABCDEFGHJKLMNPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijkmnopqrstuvwxyz"
base58_digit_to_dec = { b58:dec for dec,b58 in enumerate(dec_digit_to_base58) }

def base58check_to_bytes(base58_rep, expected_size):
    """decode a base58check string to its raw bytes
    :param base58_rep: check-code appended base58-encoded string
    :type base58_rep: str
    :param expected_size: the expected number of decoded bytes (excluding the check code)
    :type expected_size: int
    :return: the base58-decoded bytes
    :rtype: str
    base58_stripped = base58_rep.lstrip("1")

    int_rep = 0
    for base58_digit in base58_stripped:
        int_rep *= 58
        int_rep += base58_digit_to_dec[base58_digit]

    # Convert int to raw bytes
    all_bytes  = int_to_bytes(int_rep, expected_size + 4)

    zero_count = next(zeros for zeros,byte in enumerate(all_bytes) if byte != "\0")
    if len(base58_rep) - len(base58_stripped) != zero_count:
        raise ValueError("prepended zeros mismatch")

    if hashlib.sha256(hashlib.sha256(all_bytes[:-4]).digest()).digest()[:4] != all_bytes[-4:]:
        raise ValueError("base58 check code mismatch")

    return all_bytes[:-4]

def base58check_to_hash160(base58_rep):
    """convert from a base58check address to its hash160 form
    :param base58_rep: check-code appended base58-encoded address
    :type base58_rep: str
    :return: the ripemd160(sha256()) hash of the pubkey/redeemScript, then the version byte
    :rtype: (str, str)
    decoded_bytes = base58check_to_bytes(base58_rep, 1 + 20)
    return decoded_bytes[1:], decoded_bytes[0]

BIP32ExtendedKey = collections.namedtuple("BIP32ExtendedKey",
    "version depth fingerprint child_number chaincode key")
def base58check_to_bip32(base58_rep):
    """decode a bip32-serialized extended key from its base58check form
    :param base58_rep: check-code appended base58-encoded bip32 extended key
    :type base58_rep: str
    :return: a namedtuple containing: version depth fingerprint child_number chaincode key
    :rtype: BIP32ExtendedKey
    decoded_bytes = base58check_to_bytes(base58_rep, 4 + 1 + 4 + 4 + 32 + 33)
    return BIP32ExtendedKey(decoded_bytes[0:4],  ord(decoded_bytes[ 4:5]), decoded_bytes[ 5:9],
        struct.unpack(">I", decoded_bytes[9:13])[0], decoded_bytes[13:45], decoded_bytes[45:])

In particular, you'll want to call base58check_to_hash160() to check a "normal" address, or base58check_to_bip32() to check a BIP-32 extended address (an "xpub" or "xprv"). They will either return the results of decoding the address, or raise ValueError if the address is invalid.

It's technically licensed under GPLv2, but if you'd like me (as the original author) to relicense it under something less restrictive for your project, e.g. BSD or MIT, I'd be happy to. Please just let me know in a comment.

  • Thanks so much! No need to relicense your code, the method was all I wanted. Thanks again :)
    – derrend
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 14:21

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