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A Command Line Interface for Avalanche APIs

Usage: avalanche-cli [OPTIONS] COMMAND


-h --help         Show help information and quit.
-v --version      Print CLI version information and quit.


First of all, it is possible to run avalanche-cli without any installation whatsoever, by simply invoking it via npx (aka the npm package executor):

$ npx avalanche-cli --help

But, if you decide to permanently install it via npm, then do so with:

$ npm install avalanche-cli -g ## avoid `sudo` (see FAQ)
$ avalanche-cli -h ## show help info

Also, an installation via npm activates command line completion (i.e. hitting the TAB key after writing avalanche-cli should offer a list of available commands and options). Finally, for avalanche-cli to work properly your operating system needs to provide the dependencies below.


Name            : curl
Version         : 7.73.0-1
Description     : An URL retrieval utility and library
Name            : zsh
Version         : 5.8-1
Description     : the Z shell

Or instead of zsh:

Name            : bash
Version         : 5.0.018-1
Description     : The GNU Bourne Again shell


Name            : bash-completion
Version         : 2.11-1
Description     : Programmable completion for the bash shell

Only for installation (and for npx):

Name            : npm
Version         : 6.14.8-2
Description     : A package manager


All CLI options of the avalanche-cli tool can also be set via environment variables. It assumes by default an AVAX node available at https://api.avax.network – although this can be changed by setting and exporting the AVAX_NODE variable or by using the corresponding --node (-N) option.

JSON processing with jq

Since avalance-cli does not process any JSON reponses, it is recommended to use the excellent jq command line JSON processor to handle them. For example:

$ avalanche-cli info peers -YS | jq .result.peers[0]
  "ip": "",
  "publicIP": "",
  "nodeID": "NodeID-DueWyGi3B9jtKfa9mPoecd4YSDJ1ftF69",
  "version": "avalanche/1.3.2",
  "up": true,
  "lastSent": "2021-05-01T18:33:38Z",
  "lastReceived": "2021-05-01T18:33:38Z",
  "benched": []

..where the -S (--silent-rpc) option tells the internal curl tool to not produce unnessary output, so we get the desired result from above. ;D

Common Options

All commands share the following options and corresponding environment variables:

${AVAX_NODE-https://api.avax.network} or --node (-N)

Can be used to set the AVAX node which the avalanche-cli tool will be communicating with – where the default is https://api.avax.network. For example:

$ avalanche-cli info peers -N=https://api.avax.network
$ avalanche-cli info peers --node=https://api.avax.network
$ AVAX_NODE=https://api.avax.network avalanche-cli info peers

${AVAX_YES_RUN_RPC} or --yes-run-rpc (-Y)

Can be used to actually execute the curl request the avalanche-cli tool puts together – where by default this is off, i.e. the corresponding curl request will only be shown but not executed. For example:

$ avalanche-cli info peers -Y
$ avalanche-cli info peers --yes-run-rpc
$ AVAX_YES_RUN_RPC=1 avalanche-cli info peers

${AVAX_SILENT_RPC} or --silent-rpc (-S)

Can be used to make a curl request with its corresponding silent flag on – where by default it is off. However when on, this will not silence the actual response (if there is any):

$ avalanche-cli info peers -YS
$ avalanche-cli info peers -Y --silent-rpc
$ AVAX_SILENT_RPC=1 avalanche-cli info peers -Y

${AVAX_VERBOSE_RPC} or --verbose-rpc (-V)

Can be used to make a curl request with its corresponding verbose flag on – where by default it is off. This is useful, if one wants to get a detailed view of an ongoing request:

$ avalanche-cli info peers -YV
$ avalanche-cli info peers -Y --verbose-rpc
$ AVAX_VERBOSE_RPC=1 avalanche-cli info peers -Y

Common Variables

Further, almost all commands share the following – very general – environment variables:


Can be used to make a curl request with a corresponding argument (or arguments). This is useful, since it allows to access all of curl's capabilities. For example:

$ export AVAX_ARGS_RPC="--no-progress-meter" ## if supported by curl implementation
$ avalanche-cli info peers -Y

Now, each request will be performed without a progress meter (which can be distracting in case one chooses to pipe a response through another command).


Can be used to pipe a curl response through a command, where AVAX_PIPE_RPC needs to be an (implicit) associative array with content types as keys and corresponding commands as value entries. For example:

$ export AVAX_PIPE_RPC="declare -A AVAX_PIPE_RPC=([content-type:application/json]='jq -c')"
$ avalanche-cli info peers -Y

Now, each application/json response will be compactified and colorized by using the jq command line JSON processor. Further, to temporarily omit piping through any command, (unset or) set AVAX_PIPE_RPC to an empty string:

$ AVAX_PIPE_RPC='' avalanche-cli info peers -Y


An authorization token provides access to one or more API endpoints. This is is useful for delegating access to a node's APIs. Tokens expire after 12 hours, but before that the token can be provided in the header of an API call. Specifically, the header Authorization should have the value Bearer $TOKEN. For example:

AVAX_AUTH_TOKEN=$(avalanche-cli auth new-token -p "$AVAX_AUTH_PASSWORD" -e '*' -Y | jq -r .result.token)

Any subsequent requests will have the Authorization header set to Bearer $AVAX_AUTH_TOKEN, after which – if desired – the header variable can be unset and the token be revoked with:

avalanche-cli auth revoke-token -p "$AVAX_AUTH_PASSWORD" -t "$AVAX_AUTH_TOKEN" -Y


Can I install as a regular user instead as root?

It is actually recommended to avoid an installion as root (or via sudo). Instead, setup npm to install packages globally (per user) without breaking out of the $HOME folder:

$ export PATH="$PATH:$HOME/.node/bin" ## *also* put this e.g. into ~/.bashrc
$ echo 'prefix = ~/.node' >> ~/.npmrc ## use ~/.node for global npm packages
$ npm install avalanche-cli -g ## no sudo required
$ avalanche-cli -h ## show help info

While the recommendation above holds true for GNU/Linux users, it probably may be skipped for macOS users. Further, zsh users may also need to adjust the instructions accordingly (since they are for bash users).

How to enable zsh completions?

Enable zsh's bash completion script compatiblity mode, by appending the snippet below to your .zshrc configuration:

# Use compatiblity mode for bash completions
if [[ -e $HOME/.bash_completion ]]; then
  autoload bashcompinit && bashcompinit
  source $HOME/.bash_completion


(c) 2022, Hasan Karahan, MSc in CS, ETH Zurich. Twitter: @notexeditor.

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