How to Effectively Use JSON-RPC (Remote Procedure Calls)

The world of API protocols has seen a continuous rise in recent times, and among them, JSON-RPC stands out as a popular choice. It has become a favored tool for developers looking to create feature-rich and high-speed websites. But what exactly is JSON, and what makes RPC (Remote Procedure Call) unique when combined?

JSON, short for JavaScript Object Notation, provides a structured way to represent data, making it easy to process. Rooted in JavaScript, JSON includes elements like strings, Boolean variables, objects, and null characters to organize data effectively.

One of JSON’s strengths is its ability to break down complex data into manageable structures. This makes it suitable for processing in various programming languages, transcending language barriers. JSON, introduced by Douglas Crockford in 2000, plays a crucial role in facilitating communication between servers and the development of web applications.

Understanding JSON-RPC

JSON-RPC, short for JSON Remote Procedure Call, is a versatile protocol that facilitates data exchange between clients and servers. It leverages the widely understood JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) to encode information, ensuring clarity for both humans and computers. The core concept of JSON-RPC is straightforward: a client sends a request to a server, and the server responds accordingly.

In the realm of cryptocurrencies, JSON-RPC plays a crucial role. It empowers wallet applications to interact with full nodes, enabling actions such as checking balances and initiating transactions. For instance, a wallet app can utilize JSON-RPC to inquire about an address’s balance or broadcast a transaction across the network.

JSON-RPC is a simple yet powerful protocol, particularly prevalent in the cryptocurrency industry. It boasts compatibility with major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, finding widespread use in various wallet apps and services.

JSON-RPC harmonizes JSON and a globally recognized protocol for remote procedure calls. It excels in scenarios where rapid and uncomplicated development is desired. Its lightweight nature and swift processing make it a go-to choice for interacting with Ethereum nodes. 

JSON-RPC is transport-agnostic, accommodating both sockets and HTTP for communication. It shines in the development of Ethereum-based solutions leveraging blockchain technology.

Currently, two specifications exist: JSON-RPC 1.0 and JSON-RPC 2.0. JSON-RPC 1.0’s limitations include the absence of named parameters and detailed error messages. It resembled a peer-to-peer communication method.

JSON-RPC 2.0, the updated version, addressed these shortcomings and introduced client-server architecture. It also achieved transport independence, added named parameters, and refined fields. Notifications no longer require an ID; the response only includes results or errors. Additionally, JSON-RPC 2.0 offers extensions and enhanced error handling.

How to Use JSON-RPC: A Practical Guide

JSON-RPC is a versatile protocol that facilitates communication between clients and servers. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to effectively use JSON-RPC:

Client Requests to Server

1. To begin, clients dispatch requests to a server that supports JSON-RPC. In this context, a client refers to software designed to receive requests for specific methods from a remote system.

2. These requests typically include parameters structured as arrays or objects. The format of these parameters depends on the version of JSON-RPC being used.

3. Based on the version of JSON-RPC in use, the remote system processes the request and sends back various data outputs to the requesting source.

Key Elements of JSON-RPC Request

Method: This is the string representing the method to be invoked. It’s important to note that there are reserved method names with the prefix ‘rpc’ meant for internal RPC calls, and these should not be used casually.

Params: The second element of the JSON-RPC request can be an object or an array containing the parameter values to be passed. Params may not be invoked in every call.

ID: This is a unique number or string assigned to maintain the correspondence between requests and responses. The ID is automatically removed if a response is not received for a request.

JSON-RPC Response

When a JSON-RPC request is received, the recipient server processes it and sends back a verified response. This response consists of three main components:

Result: The first part of the response contains the data returned by the invoked method. This is often called JSON-stat and may be absent if an error occurs.

Error: The second component, error, comes into play if there’s an issue during the method invocation. It includes a code and a message to describe the error.

Response ID: This identifies the request to which the response corresponds. In cases where no response is needed, JSON-RPC uses notifications, a version of requests without an ID. In JSON-RPC 1.0, the notification ID is null, while in version 2.0, it’s wholly omitted.

Why Do Developers Choose JSON-RPC?

Despite its limitations, JSON-RPC remains a favored choice among developers, particularly in the blockchain realm, where its constraints prove advantageous in straightforward scenarios. There are compelling reasons why developers prefer JSON-RPC over REST APIs:

Defining Data Processing Constraints: JSON-RPC serves as a tool for specifying data processing restrictions within a network. This ability to define constraints adds clarity to data management.

Lightweight Design for Swift Processing: JSON-RPC’s lightweight structure and speedy processing make it an efficient option for initiating data transfers via Ethereum nodes.

Transport-Agnostic: JSON-RPC is not tied to a specific mode or method of transport. It seamlessly supports interactions with the blockchain through HTTP and sockets, offering flexibility in communication methods.

Ideal for Ethereum-Based Solutions: JSON-RPC is particularly well-suited for developing Ethereum-based solutions that leverage blockchain technology. Its versatility and compatibility with Ethereum nodes make it a go-to choice.

Implementing JSON-RPC in a Blockchain: A Step-by-Step Guide

Suppose you want to integrate JSON-RPC into a blockchain. In that case, the process involves configuring a JSON-RPC server on your blockchain node and making the JSON-RPC API accessible to clients via a Web3 provider. Here’s a detailed breakdown of how to implement JSON-RPC in a blockchain:

Setting Up a JSON-RPC Server

The initial step in implementing JSON-RPC is establishing a JSON-RPC server on your Blockchain node. This process entails configuring your node to be receptive to incoming JSON-RPC requests, which can be transmitted via HTTP or WebSocket, depending on your chosen transport protocol.

Defining JSON-R PC Methods

Following the server setup, the subsequent task is defining the JSON-RPC methods your node will support. This involves integrating the requisite functionality into your Blockchain node’s code and making it accessible through the JSON-RPC API. For instance, these methods could encompass:

eth_sendTransaction: Facilitating the sending of transactions.

eth_getTransactionByHash: Enabling the retrieval of transactions via their unique hash.

eth_getBlockByNumber: Facilitating the retrieval of specific blocks using their respective numbers.

Configuring your JSON-RPC server and defining these methods establishes the foundation for seamless communication and interaction with your Blockchain node, empowering users to perform various essential operations on the blockchain network.

Connecting Clients to the JSON-RPC API via a Web3 Provider

To make the JSON-RPC API accessible to clients, we employ a Web3 provider—a JavaScript library that bridges the client application and the Blockchain node. This Web3 provider streamlines the process of sending and receiving JSON-RPC requests in a standardized manner.

Various Web3 providers cater to Blockchain platforms, including Web3.js for Ethereum, Web3.py for Python, and Web3j for Java. These providers can be utilized in diverse application environments, ranging from client-side applications like web or mobile apps to server-side applications like decentralized applications (dApps) or Blockchain explorers.

To establish a connection, the Web3 provider typically requires the following parameters:

JSON-RPC Server URL: This is the endpoint of the JSON-RPC server on the Blockchain node.

Network ID or Name: Identifies the specific blockchain network being accessed.

Account for Transaction Signing (if applicable): If transactions are involved, an account is designated for signing them.

Default Gas Limit and Gas Price (if applicable): These parameters set transaction cost limits.

Once the Web3 provider is configured with these details, the client application gains the ability to utilize its methods. These methods enable the client to dispatch JSON-RPC requests to the Blockchain node and receive responses containing the requested data. This seamless interaction facilitates a wide range of operations within the blockchain network.

Handling JSON-RPC Requests in Node Code

After successfully setting up and launching the JSON-RPC server, the next crucial step involves configuring the node code to manage incoming JSON-RPC requests adeptly. This entails establishing a mechanism to listen for incoming requests and effectively executing the associated methods.

JSON-RPC requests are commonly transmitted via HTTP or WebSocket, comprising various essential fields:

“id”: A unique identifier for the request.

“jsonrpc”: Denotes the version of the JSON-RPC protocol being used.

“method”: Specifies the method to be executed.

“params”: Includes any relevant parameters to be passed to the method.

Within the node code, rigorous validation of incoming requests is imperative. This validation process ensures that the request contains a legitimate method name and valid parameters (if required) and that the client is authorized to initiate the request.

Upon successful validation, the node code executes the corresponding method with precision. Subsequently, it formulates a response that encompasses the requested information or conveys the outcome of the executed action, which is then communicated back to the client. 

This meticulous handling of JSON-RPC requests within the node code facilitates efficient and secure interactions within the blockchain ecosystem.

Understanding Remote Procedure Calls (RPCs) in Distributed Computing

To grasp the essence of a JSON RPC example, it’s essential to delve into the concept of Remote Procedure Calls (RPCs) in distributed computing and comprehend how they operate. RPCs refer to a computer program’s methodology to execute a subroutine or procedure located in a distinct address space, often on another computer within the network.

Programmers approach coding for remote procedure calls much as they do for local procedure calls, ensuring flexibility in subroutine implementation regardless of whether it’s deployed locally or remotely. Remarkably, the programmer does not need to specify whether RPC should be implemented locally or remotely explicitly.

RPCs, or remote procedure calls, constitute a form of inter-process communication, shedding light on the question of “How does JSON-RPC work?” by examining the mechanics of RPCs. These calls rely on mechanisms provided by operating systems to facilitate independent management of shared data by different processes. 

Each process operates within its own address space, categorized as virtual and physical. Processes within the same machine or physical space possess unique virtual address spaces, even when their physical addresses align. Conversely, processes situated in separate host locations occupy distinct physical spaces.

Understanding How RPC (Remote Procedure Call) Works

Understanding the essence of “What is JSON-RPC format?” requires a deeper understanding of the request-reply or request-response process. This process unfolds within different addresses, occupied by processes categorized as ‘servers’ and ‘clients.’ 

To comprehend how RPC works, one must discern the client-server relationship. In an RPC scenario, the client serves as the initiator of a remote procedure call.

The client kickstarts this process by dispatching a request message to the server. Servers, in turn, are tasked with executing the procedure using specific parameters and sending back a response to the client.

Fascinatingly, the answers to “How does JSON-RPC work?” revolve around the client-server model. This back-and-forth interaction between clients and servers forms the foundation for understanding the functioning of the JSON RPC protocol. Let’s dive deeper into the client-server interaction that underpins JSON-RPC.

This interaction can take two forms: asynchronous or synchronous. Both synchronous and asynchronous processes serve as the bedrock of JSON-RPC, finding applications in various domains, including Ethereum JSON RPC for tasks related to smart contracts, the Ethereum Virtual Machine, and Solidity.

In client-server interactions, clients assume the role of callers, while servers act as executors. RPCs employ this client-server interaction model, utilizing a request-response system to facilitate the exchange of messages.

Benefits of Using JSON-RPC

JSON-RPC is an innovative protocol that offers numerous advantages to its users, including:


JSON-RPC is remarkably straightforward compared to REST. It’s easy for both humans and machines to understand. It doesn’t involve complex commands or confusing data sets, making it an excellent choice for developers, especially beginners. Its use of Unicode, concise syntax, and the ability to process data with named phrases or specific keywords contributes to its simplicity.

Faster Development

JSON-RPC streamlines the development process. Its resources are presented uncomplicated, reducing the time and effort required for application development. This quick development cycle can significantly shorten project time-to-market, making it an ideal choice for time-sensitive development needs.

Efficient Information Exchange

JSON-RPC ensures timely and efficient information exchange. It supports notifications and multiple calls without waiting for responses from either the server or the client. When a message request is made, JSON-RPC reliably delivers it to its destination, facilitating effective communication between software components.

Enhanced API Performance

JSON-RPC allows the creation of APIs that are independent of the underlying protocol. This independence can improve API performance, mainly when replacing HTTP with more efficient protocols like TCP, reducing overhead.

Clear Request Results

JSON-RPC provides self-explanatory request results that are easy to understand and process. Tasks such as making batch requests, explaining HTTP bodies, and passing parameters are simplified using JSON-RPC.

Broad Transmission Support

JSON-RPC is transmission-friendly, supporting platforms like XMPP, WebSockets, SFTP, SSH, and SCP. This versatility promotes the development of rapid, user-friendly, and easily debuggable APIs. Additionally, JSON-RPC keeps requested content separate from the transmission process, ensuring that request errors, data, and warnings are conveyed via the request payload.


JSON-RPC, or JSON Remote Procedure Call, is a versatile protocol for data exchange between clients and servers. It utilizes the simplicity and clarity of JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) to facilitate efficient communication in various applications, including blockchain, web development, and more. 

JSON-RPC offers several benefits: simplicity, fast development, efficient information exchange, improved API performance, precise request results, and broad transmission support. It has become a preferred choice for developers due to its ease of use and compatibility with different programming languages and platforms.


What is JSON-RPC?

JSON-RPC is a protocol for remote procedure calls using JSON data format.

How does JSON-RPC work?

JSON-RPC uses a client-server model for sending requests and receiving responses.

Why choose JSON-RPC over REST APIs?

JSON-RPC is simpler and more efficient for rapid development.

What are JSON-RPC's key benefits?

JSON-RPC offers simplicity, quick development, efficient data exchange, improved API performance, and transparent request results.

Where is JSON-RPC commonly used?

JSON-RPC is prevalent in blockchain and web services development due to its versatility.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Micah Abiodun

Micah is a crypto enthusiast with a strong understanding of the crypto industry and its potential for shaping the future. A result-driven Chemical Engineer (with a specialization in the field of process engineering and piping design), Micah visualizes and articulates the intricate details of blockchain ecosystems. In his free time, he explores various interests, including sports and music.

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