Note: As of 2017, our platform has been renamed to Monax. Previous documentation refering to an earlier version of the software prior to 0.16.0 can be found in the deprecated directory. Current documentation (=> 0.16.0) changes the `eris` command and `~/.eris` directory to `monax` and `~/.monax` respectively

monax is the CLI ecosystem application platform built by Monax.

There are four steps need to get moving with Monax:

  1. Install the platform.
  2. Roll the blockchain base for your ecosystem application.
  3. Deploy your ecosystem application using smart contract templates and a simple, web-based user interface.
  4. Integrate your ecosystem application with a web server or other microservices.

Step 1. Install the Monax Platform

Dependencies: monax has 2 dependencies: Docker and for macOS and Windows only Docker Machine. Docker is a run anywhere container solution which makes development, deployment, testing, and running of ecosystem applications a breeze and Docker Machine allows you to run Docker on remote machines. We do not currently support Docker for Mac/Windows as they are still in beta.

Currently we consider the most workable setup to be (what our tests consider authoritative) with these operating system and dependencies’ versions:

  • Host OS = UBUNTU:16.04
  • Docker = 1.11.2
  • Docker Machine = 0.8.1

We are working steadily toward making monax available for a wide variety of host environments.

At the current time, monax requires docker version >= 1.9.1 and docker-machine version >= 0.4.1. We do not test against older versions of Docker and Docker Machine: monax may still work against earlier versions and we can make no guarantees of usability there.


Please see the Docker documentation for how to install it for your Linux distribution.

Essential! After you install Docker, you must make sure that the user you are using to develop with monax has access to the Docker socket (which is accessible via the docker Linux usergroup). When you are logged in as the user you can do this:

sudo usermod -a -G docker $USER

That command will add the current user to the docker group which will mean that Docker will not need to be called from sudo. After you run that command, then please log out of the current shell and open a new shell. After that monax will then be able to connect to Docker.

Make sure that everything is set up with Docker by running (you shouldn’t see any errors in the command’s output):

docker version

Note you will need to make sure that you perform the above command for the user which will be running Monax.

If you’ve also chosen to install Docker Machine, please follow these instructions to install Docker Machine and these to install VirtualBox; then create an Monax virtual machine and run the (eval) command:

docker-machine create -d virtualbox monax
eval $(docker-machine env monax)

Note Installation of VirtualBox is not a prerequisite, because you may choose to create your virtual machine on Amazon AWS cloud or DigitalOcean, but VirtualBox is what most people use alongside Docker Machine and what we recommend for the Docker Machine setup.

Proceed to one of the package or binary installations below to install the monax binary then finalize your setup by running.

monax init

monax init will be downloading a few Docker images which may take a few minutes.

Debian Package Installation

We have apt-get support for most current versions of Ubuntu and Debian Linux:

sudo add-apt-repository
curl -L | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install -y monax

RPM Package Installation

We have RPM support for most current versions of Fedora, CentOS, and RHEL:

sudo su -c "curl -L > \
sudo yum update && sudo yum install -y monax

Binary Installation

Alternatively, you can download a release binary for the latest Release. Make sure you put the binary under one of the paths in the $PATH variable and that it has executable permissions:

curl -L > monax
chmod +x monax


We highly recommend that you utilize Homebrew to install monax. Docker, Docker Machine, VirtualBox, and monax binary will be properly installed with:

brew cask install virtualbox
brew install monax docker docker-machine

If you are not a brew user then please install Docker, Docker machine, and VirtualBox by installing Docker Toolbox and Monax binary from the Release page. Make sure you put the binary under one of the paths in your $PATH variable and it has executable permissions:

curl -L > monax
chmod +x monax

If you don’t want to utilize Docker Toolbox, you can install those manually: follow these instructions to install Docker, these to install Docker Machine, and these to install VirtualBox.

If you have chosen not to use Docker Toolbox at all, you need to create an Monax virtual machine and run the (eval) command:

docker-machine create -d virtualbox monax
eval $(docker-machine env monax)

N.B. At this time Docker for Mac (DFM) and Docker for Windows (DFW), which are still in beta, are not currently supported.

Finalize your setup by running:

monax init

monax init will be downloading a few Docker images which may take a few minutes.


Install Docker, Docker Machine, and VirtualBox by downloading the Docker Toolbox and Monax binary from the Release page. Make sure you put the binary under one of the paths in your %PATH% variable.

If you don’t want to utilize Docker Toolbox, you can install those manually: follow these instructions to install Docker, these to install Docker Machine, and these to install VirtualBox.

(You’ll want to run monax commands either from git bash or from the Docker Quickstart Terminal, a part of Docker Toolbox. If you prefer to use the cmd as your shell, you still can: every command should work as expected, though all the tutorials will assume that you are using the Docker Quickstart Terminal and are structured to support only that environment.)

If you have chosen not to use Docker Toolbox at all and use cmd as your shell, you need to create an Monax virtual machine:

docker-machine create -d virtualbox default

and create a script setenv.bat with these contents to be run before your every session with Monax:

@echo off

FOR /f "tokens=*" %%i IN ('"docker-machine.exe" env default') DO %%i

Note – At this time Docker for Windows (DFW), which is still in beta, is not currently supported.

Finalize your setup by running:

monax init

monax init will be downloading a few Docker images which may take a few minutes.

ARM Installation (IoT devices)

Although we once supported IoT installations, this has been temporarily disabled while the platform undergoes further consolidation. See this issue for more details on progress. See also the deprecated ARM installation tutorial.

Building From Source

If you would like to build from source see our documentation.

Troubleshooting Your Install

If you have any errors which arise during the installation process, please see our trouble shooting page or join The Marmot Den to ask for help.

Step 2: Roll Your Own Blockchain in Seconds

If you want to create your blockchain it is two commands:

monax chains make test_chain
monax chains start test_chain --init-dir ~/.monax/chains/test_chain/test_chain_full_000

That test_chain can be whatever name you would like it to be. These two commands will create a permissioned, smart contract enabled blockchain suitable for testing.

To check that your chain is running type (running chains have a * symbol next to them rather than a -):

monax ls

You can peek at chain’s logs with these commands (-f for “follow”):

monax chains logs test_chain
monax chains logs -f test_chain

Note: although your chain may be “running” (i.e., has been started and has a docker container that is “ON”, it is possible that you chain is not making blocks and thus will be useless for deploying contracts. After running the above command, ensure you chain is indeed making blocks. Stay tuned for an monax chains info/status command.

Stop your chain:

monax chains stop test_chain

Remove your chain (-f to force remove a running chain, -x to remove the chain’s separate data container which it writes to, and -d to remove the (local) chain directory entirely):

monax chains rm -xfd test_chain

Obviously, you will want an ability to make chains which you properly parameterize. As such you can always type:

monax chains make --help

That’s it! Your chain is rolled!

Let’s remove all of the monax “stuff” before we move on to the next portion of the tutorials:

monax clean -yx

Step 2.a: Advanced Chain Making

Note: If you’d like to get right into deploying contracts and building your ecosystem application, jump to Step 3 below.

Blockchains are meant to be trustless, and that means everyone generates their own keys. Validators and any other accounts to be included at the inception of a chain must be included in the genesis.json file. This is done using the --known flag for monax chains make. See our known chain making tutorial for more information. For the purposes of this tutorial, however, we’ll be using a simplechain with one account.

To learn about the account types paradigm, try the chain making wizard:

monax chains make toRemoveLater --wizard

This will drop you into an interactive, command line wizard. Follow the text and the prompts to chain making bliss. Since we’re going to throw this chain away later you can just press “Enter” at each of the prompts or you can change the variables and get a feel for the wizard.

Once the wizard exits let’s take a look at what was created:

ls ~/.monax/chains/toRemoveLater

You should see three *.csv files and a bunch of directories. Let’s look in one of those directories:

ls ~/.monax/chains/toRemoveLater/toremovelater_full_000

In that directory you should see a genesis.json, a priv_validator.json and a config.toml. The marmots call these a “bundle” as generally they are what is needed to get a chain going.

What about those csv files? There should be three of them. Let’s take a look:

cat ~/.monax/chains/toRemoveLater/accounts.csv
cat ~/.monax/chains/toRemoveLater/validators.csv
cat ~/.monax/chains/toRemoveLater/addresses.csv

The first two files can be used later to create a new genesis.json if the actual json gets lost. One of the things about this tooling is that it creates the keys for you. That is helpful in some circumstances. For production/consortium chains this is not appropriate. See the known chain making tutorial for more info.

The monax chains make tool comes with advanced account type and chain type definition capabilities. More information on complex chain making is included in our advanced chain making tutorial.

The last file is the addresses.csv file which is another artifact of the chain making process. It simply has the addresses and the “names” of the nodes. We find it useful when scripting out complex interactions and it is simply a reference file along the lines of addr=$(cat $chain_dir/addresses.csv | grep $name | cut -d ',' -f 1).

OK, enough playing around let’s get serious! Cleaning after our previous experiment:

monax clean -yx

Per the above and after our review of the account types, we know we want to have two Root account types and one Full account type for our new chain. So let’s get to business.


That will just create a few variables we’ll be using in the future. Now, we’re ready.

monax chains make firstchain --account-types=Root:2,Full:1 --unsafe

That’s it! Let’s double check the files to make sure we are squared away.

ls $chain_dir
ls $chain_dir_this

You’ll see a genesis.json, a priv_validator.json and a config.toml in $chain_dir_this.

Step 2.a.3: Instantiate the Blockchain

With all the files prepared we’re ready to rock and roll.

monax chains start firstchain --init-dir $chain_dir_this

Check that the chain is running with:

monax ls

You’ll see something like:

firstchain   *      0.16.0

Note: You can see more information with monax ls --all.

To see the logs of the chain:

monax chains logs firstchain

To turn off the chain:

monax chains stop firstchain

Boom. You’re all set with your custom built, permissioned, smart contract-ified, chain.

You start your chain up again for the next step:

monax chains start firstchain

or remove everything with:

monax clean -yx

If anything went wrong, please see our trouble shooting guide -> 1, 2, 3, 4

Step 3: Deploy your ecosystem application using smart contract templates

In general we are going to take three steps in order to get our contracts deployed to the blockchain:

  1. Write a simple contract
  2. Make sure your application package has the proper information
  3. Deploy the contracts

Contracts Strategy

We are going to use a very simple get / set contract which sets a variable and gets that same variable. It is about the easiest interactive contract one can imagine and as such we will use that for showing how to work with the Monax platform.

Step 3.1: Make A Contract for Idi

The first thing we’re going to do is to add a very simple contract.

cd ~/.monax/apps
mkdir idi
cd idi

Now you’ll make a file in this directory. Let’s assume that is called idi.sol and has the following contents

What does this contract do? Well, it isn’t very interesting, we know. It merely gets and sets a value which is an unsigned integer type.

Step 3.2: Fixup your epm.yaml

Next we need to make an epm.yaml and make it look something like this:

Now, what does this file mean? Well, this file is the manager file for how to deploy and test your smart contracts. The package manager invoked by monax pkgs do will read this file and perform a sequence of jobs with the various parameters supplied for the job type. It will perform these in the order they are built into the yaml file. So let’s go through them one by one and explain what each of these jobs are doing. For more on using various jobs please see the jobs specification.

Job 1: Set Job

The set job simply sets a variable. The package manager includes a naive key value store which can be used for pretty much anything.

Job 2: Deploy Job

This job will compile and deploy the idi.sol contract using the local compiler service.

Job 3: Call Job

This job will send a call to the contract. The package manager will automagically utilize the abi’s produced during the compilation process and allow users to formulate contract calls using the very simple notation of functionName params. The package manager also allows for variable expansion.

So what this job is doing is this. The job is pulling the value of the $setStorageBase job (the package manager knows this because it resolved $ + jobName to the result of the setStorageBase job) and replacing that with the value, which is 5. Then it will send that 5 value to the set function of the contract which is at the destination that is the result of the deployStorageK job; in other words the result of Job 3. For more on variables in the package manager, please see the variables specification.

Job 4: Query Contract Job

This job is going to send what are alternatively called simulated calls or just queries to an accessor function of a contract. In other words, these are read transactions. Generally the query-contract is married to an accessor function (such as get in the idi.sol contract). Usually accessor, or read only functions, in a solidity contracts are denoted as a constant function which means that any call sent to the contract will not update the state of the contract.

The value returned from a query-contract job then is usually paired with an assert.

Job 5: Assert Job

In order to know that things have deployed or gone through correctly, you need to be able to assert relations. The package manager provides you with:

  • equality
  • non-equality
  • greater than or equals (for integers & unsigned integers values only)
  • greater than (for integers & unsigned integers values only)
  • less than or equals (for integers & unsigned integers values only)
  • less than (for integers & unsigned integers values only)

Relations can use either eq ne ge gt le lt syntax, or, in the alternative they can use == != >= > <= < syntax in the relation field. This is similar to Bash. To make this more explicit we have chosen in the above epm.yaml to use the eq syntax, but feel free to replace with == syntax if you want.

Both the key and the val (which in other testing frameworks are the given and expected in an assert function) use variable expansion to compare the result of what was supposed to be sent to the setStorageBase job (which should have been sent to and stored in the contracts’ storage) with what was received from the queryStorage job (which in turn called the get function of the contract).

Step 3.3: Deploy (and Test) The Contract

See the Step 2 above if you need to review the chain making process. This series of commands assumed you followed that tutorial and continued here after monax chains stop firstchain.

First, let’s get our chain turned back on.

monax ls

If it’s on, you’ll see:

firstchain  *      0.16.0

Whereas if it has been stopped, the ON field will have - rather than *. The same logic applies to services.

If firstchain is not running, then turn it on with:

monax chains start firstchain

or make a new chain if firstchain no longer exists.

Now, we are ready to deploy this world changing contract. Make sure you are in the ~/.monax/apps/idi folder, or wherever you saved your epm.yaml. Note that this is a very common pattern in simple contract testing and development; namely to (1) deploy a contract; (2) send it some transactions (or calls); (3) query some results from the contract (or query-contracts); and (4) assert a result. As you get moving with contract development you will likely find yourself doing this a lot.

addr=$(cat $chain_dir/addresses.csv | grep firstchain_full_000 | cut -d ',' -f 1)

That will make sure we have available the address we would like to use to deploy the contracts. Now we’re ready. If the above does not output an address then check your $chain_dir variable and also check that the firstchain_full_000 variable exists in the addresses.csv.

monax pkgs do --chain firstchain --address $addr

You should be able to use any of the addresses you generated during the chainmaking tutorial since they all have the same permission levels on the chain (which, if you followed the simple tutorial are basically all public). If you are using this tutorial outside of the tutorial sequence then you can just give it the address that you’d like to use to sign transactions instead of the grep firstchain_full_000 bash expansion.

(For those that do not know what is happening in that bash line: cat is used to “print the file” and “pipe” it into the second command; grep is a finder tool which will find the line which has the right name we want to use; the cut says split the line at the , and give me the first field).

Note that the package manager can override the account which is used in any single job and/or can set a default account job which will establish a default account within the yaml. We find setting the default account within the yaml to usually be counter-productive because others will not be able to easily use your yaml unless they have the same keys in their monax-keys (which we never recommend). For more on using accounts please see the jobs specification.

Since we have a deployed contract on a running chain, please do take a look at the available options for deployment using the package manager with:

monax pkgs do --help

That’s it! Your contract is all ready to go. You should see the output in jobs_output.json which will have the transaction hash of the transactions as well as the address of the deployed idi.sol contract. The job runner (monax pkgs do) can be leveraged for building and interacting with your custom application.

All Tutorials

  1. If you get an error which looks something like this:

    Performing action. This can sometimes take a wee while
    Post http://chain:46657/status: dial tcp getsockopt: connection refused
    Container monax_interactive_monax_service_idi_tmp_deploy_1 exited with status 1

    That means that your chain is not started. Please start the chain and give the chain a second to reboot before rerunning the deploy command again. Ensure your chain is making blocks by running monax chains logs a few times. The block height should be increasing.

  2. If you get an error which looks something like this:

    open /home/monax/.monax/keys/data/1040E6521541DAB4E7EE57F21226DD17CE9F0FB7/1040E6521541DAB4E7EE57F21226DD17CE9F0FB7: no such file or directory
    Container 74a9dbf3d72a2f67e2280bc792e30c7b37fa57e3d04aeb348222f72448bdc84a exited with status 1

    What is this telling us? Well, it is telling us that it doesn’t have the key in the keys container. So what you’ll want to do is to update with one of the keys you have generated during the prior tutorials.

    To see what keys are currently on your key signing daemon do this:

    monax keys ls

    If you do not have any keys then please take the time to generate some keys as described in Step 2 of this tutorial.

  3. If you choose the wrong key then you’ll get an error which will probably look something like this:

    Error deploying contract idi.sol: unknown account 03E3FAC131CC111D78B569CEC45FA42CE5DA8AD8
    Container edbae127e1a31f1f85fbe14359362f7943028e57dc5eec4d91a71df706f5240f exited with status 1

    This means that the account 03E3FAC131CC111D78B569CEC45FA42CE5DA8AD8 has not been registered in the genesis.json. The account which is not registered will be the same account you told [monax pkgs do] to use via the signing server (monax-keys).

    To “see” your genesis.json then do this:

    monax chains exec -it firstchain "cat /home/monax/.monax/chains/firstchain/firstchain_full_000/genesis.json"

    You can also see your genesis.json at http://localhost:46657/genesis. Note: replace localhost with the output of docker-machine ip monax if on OSX or Windows. See our docker-machine tutorial for more information.

  4. If the account you are trying to use has not been registered in the genesis.json (or, latterly, has not been given the appropriate permissions via permission transactions) and been given the appropriate permissions, then it will not be able to perform the actions it needs to in order to deploy and test the contract. You’ll want to make a new chain with the appropriate account types.

    Once you have the following sorted:

    1. The provided account parameter matches a key which is known to the signing daemon; and
    2. The provided account parameter matches an account in the genesis.json of a chain;

    Then you’ll be ready to:

    monax pkgs do --chain firstchain --address ADDR

    Where ADDR in the above command is the address you want to use.