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Installation Guide

Exonum core and most other Exonum repositories use the Rust programming language and the corresponding toolchain. This document details how to setup development environment for contributing to these projects, testing them, and developing using Exonum.


As of version 0.3, you need to compile the core locally for every application that depends on it. Cargo (the Rust package manager) takes care of most things, but you still need to have dependencies installed locally as described below for the core to compile.

In future releases, Exonum will become more modular and will work as a standalone application. See the roadmap for more details.


Exonum depends on the following third-party system libraries:

You can find instructions how to install dependencies in various environments below.


Install the necessary libraries using Homebrew:

brew install libsodium rocksdb pkg-config


For distributives with deb-based package managers (such as Debian or Ubuntu), use

apt-get install build-essential libsodium-dev libsnappy-dev \
    librocksdb-dev pkg-config

Package names and installation methods may differ in other Linux distributives; use package manager tools to locate and install dependencies.

Depending on the version of your distributive, libsodium and RocksDB may not be present in the default package lists. In this case you may need to install these packages from third-party PPAs, or build them from sources.


Install the latest version of the following packages:

Adding environment variables

If your OS contains pre-compiled rocksdb or snappy libraries, you may setup ROCKSDB_LIB_DIR and/or SNAPPY_LIB_DIR environment variable to point to a directory with these libraries. This will significantly reduce compile time.


export ROCKSDB_LIB_DIR=/usr/local/lib
export SNAPPY_LIB_DIR=/usr/local/lib


export ROCKSDB_LIB_DIR=/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu
export SNAPPY_LIB_DIR=/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu

Rust Toolchain

Exonum repositories use the stable Rust toolchain that can be installed by using the rustup program:

curl -sSf | sh -s -- --default-toolchain stable

For Windows, download and run rustup-init.exe from the rustup website instead.

The Rust toolchain includes the Rust compiler (rustc) and several utilities, of which the most important one is Cargo, the Rust package manager.


Exonum is guaranteed to be compatible with the latest stable Rust toolchain, which can be obtained as specified above. Other recent toolchains may work too; see the Exonum main repository readme to find out a precise range of supported Rust versions. Older toolchains (for example, those that come with Linux distributions) might cause Exonum compilation to fail, as Exonum uses some new language features. Please use rustup to install a compatible toolchain in this case.

Compiling Exonum

You can verify that you installed dependencies and the Rust toolchain correctly by cloning the exonum repository and running its built-in unit test suite:

git clone
cd exonum
cargo test --manifest-path exonum/Cargo.toml

You may also run the extended test suite located in the sandbox directory:

cargo test --manifest-path sandbox/Cargo.toml

Non-Rust Components

Light Client Library

The light client library uses a fairly standard JavaScript development toolchain: Node and npm, together with Mocha + Chai for testing (and Karma for browser testing), istanbul for measuring test coverage, and Babel for transpiling to ES5. Workability of the development environment is tested on Node 4+.


The light client library itself can run both on Node and in browsers.

Developing with Exonum

The cryptocurrency tutorial provides a step-by-step guide on how to develop applications on top of the Exonum framework.