Generating a P2WPKH-P2SH (SegWit) Bitcoin Address (Python)

October 17, 2017    Bitcoin Python Crypto Software

BIP141 (SegWit) briefly describes the generation of SegWit addresses that are backwards compatible by nesting the pay to witness public key hash (P2WPKH) transaction in a pay to script hash (P2SH) transaction.

The following example is the same P2WPKH, but nested in a BIP16 P2SH output.

witness:      <signature> <pubkey>
scriptSig:    <0 <20-byte-key-hash>>
scriptPubKey: HASH160 <20-byte-script-hash> EQUAL

The address which can spend such a transaction is then indistinguishable from a normal pay to script hash address (such as a standard multisig address).

Practically, this means that to generate an address, we need just need to prefix the HASH160 of the described scriptSig with the standard p2sh version byte (0x05/0xc4 for main/testnet respectively) and Base58 encode it.

First, translating the standard HASH160(x) = RIPEMD160(SHA256(x)) to Python:

import hashlib
def hash160(x): # Both accepts & returns bytes
    return'ripemd160', hashlib.sha256(x).digest()).digest()

Then we can define a function that accepts a compressed public key and generates the corresponding address. For simplicity I’ll use the Base58 encoding provided in bip32utils.

Edit: prusnak’s bip32utils library has since disappeared. Luckily I was using it so much that I forked it just in case:

$ pip install git+
from bip32utils import Base58

def p2wpkh_in_p2sh_addr(pk, testnet=False):
    Compressed public key (hex string) -> p2wpkh nested in p2sh address. 'SegWit address.'
    # Script sig is just PUSH(20){hash160(cpk)}
    push_20 = bytes.fromhex("0014")
    script_sig = push_20 + hash160_bytes(bytes.fromhex(pk))

    # Address is then prefix + hash160(script_sig)
    prefix = b"\xc4" if testnet else b"\x05"
    address = Base58.check_encode(prefix + hash160(script_sig))
    return address

Then you can go ahead and test it

>>> pub = "03a1af804ac108a8a51782198c2d034b28bf90c8803f5a53f76276fa69a4eae77f"
>>> p2wpkh_in_p2sh_addr(pub)
>>> p2wpkh_in_p2sh_addr(pub, testnet=True)