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2.0.3 • Public • Published

RLP decoder/reader

Build Status
Currently support for solidity v0.5.0

Please raise issues for bugs, and solidity updates. I will be monitoring the solidity changelogs and updating this package accordingly


  1. npm install solidity-rlp in the project directory. Make sure to install through npm for prompt updates!
  2. import "solidity-rlp/contracts/RLPReader.sol" in the desired smart contract.

See the example smart contract below


The reader contract provides an interface to first take RLP encoded bytes and convert them into an internal data structure, RLPItem through the function, toRlpItem(bytes). This data structure can then be destructured into the desired data types.

Transformations(All take an RLPItem as an arg):

  1. isList(RLPItem) bool : inidicator if the encoded data is a list
  2. toList(RLPItem) RLPItem[] : returns a list of RLPItems
  3. iterator(RLPITem) Iterator : returns an Iterator over the RLPItem. RLPItem must be an encoded list
  4. toBytes(RLPItem) bytes : returns the payload in bytes
  5. toAddress(RLPItem) address : returns the encoded address. Must be exactly 20 bytes.
  6. toUint(RLPItem) uint : returns the encoded uint. Enforced data is capped to 32 bytes.
  7. toUintStrict(RLPItem) uint : returns the encoded uint. Encoded data must be padded to 32 bytes.
  8. toBoolean(RLPItem) bool: returns the encoded boolean
  9. toRlpBytes(RLPItem) bytes : returns the raw rlp encoded byte form
  10. rlpLen(RLPItem) uint : returns the byte length of the rlp item
  11. payloadLen(RLPItem) uint : returns the byte length of the data payload
  12. hasNext(Iterator) bool : indicator if there is another item to iterate on
  13. next(Iterator) RLPItem : returns the next RLPItem in the iterator

Note: The reader contract only provides only these conversion functions. All other solidity data types can be derived from this base. For example, a bytes32 encoded data type is equivalent to bytes32(toUint(RLPItem)). Start with a uint and convert from there. A string can be retrieved by string(toBytes(RLPItem)). See example for a sample smart contract.


import "solidity-rlp/contracts/RLPReader.sol"

contract SomeContract {
    // optional way to attach library functions to these data types.
    using RLPReader for RLPReader.RLPItem;
    using RLPReader for RLPReader.Iterator;
    using RLPReader for bytes;

    // lets assume that rlpBytes is an encoding of [[1, "nested"], 2, 0x<Address>]
    function someFunctionThatTakesAnEncodedItem(bytes memory rlpBytes) public {
        RLPReader.RLPItem[] memory ls = rlpBytes.toRlpItem().toList(); // must convert to an rlpItem first!

        RLPReader.RLPItem memory item = ls[0]; // the encoding of [1, "nested"].
        item.toList()[0].toUint(); // 1
        string(item.toList()[1].toBytes()); // "nested"

        ls[1].toUint(); // 2
        ls[2].toAddress(); // 0x<Address>

    // lets assume rlpBytes is an encoding of [["sublist"]]
    function someFunctionThatDemonstratesIterators(bytes memory rlpBytes) public {
        RLPReader.Iterator memory iter = rlpBytes.toRlpItem().iterator();
        RLPReader.Iterator memory subIter = iter.next().iterator();

        // iter.hasNext() == false
        // string(subIter.next().toBytes()) == "sublist"
        // subIter.hasNext() == false


  1. git clone https://github.com/hamdiallam/solidity-rlp && cd solidity-rlp
  2. npm install
  3. npm install -g truffle ganache-cli installed globally for the dev envirnoment
  4. ganache-cli run in a background process or seperate terminal window.
  5. truffle compile && truffle test


npm i solidity-rlp

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