Installation Guide

System Requirements and Dependencies

  • At least 1 GB of RAM is required for secure password-based key derivation with scrypt.

  • We have tested nucypher with Windows, Mac OS, and GNU/Linux (GNU/Linux is recommended).

  • If you don’t already have it, install Python. As of November 2019, we are working with Python 3.6, 3.7, and 3.8.

  • We also require the following system packages (Linux):

    • libffi-dev

    • python3-dev

    • python3-virtualenv

Standard Installation

We recommend installing nucypher with either pip, pipenv, or docker

Standard Pip Installation

In order to isolate global system dependencies from nucypher-specific dependencies, we highly recommend using python-virtualenv to install nucypher inside a dedicated virtual environment.

For full documentation on virtualenv see:

Here is the recommended procedure for setting up nucypher in this fashion:

  1. Create a Virtual Environment

    $ virtualenv /your/path/nucypher-venv

    Activate the newly created virtual environment:

    $ source /your/path/nucypher-venv/bin/activate


    Successful virtualenv activation is indicated by ‘(nucypher-venv)$’ prepended to your console’s prompt

  2. Install Application Code with Pip

    $(nucypher-venv) pip3 install -U nucypher
  3. Verify Installation

    In the console:

    nucypher --help

    In Python:

    import nucypher

Standard Pipenv Installation

  1. Install Application code with Pipenv

    Ensure you have pipenv installed (See full documentation for pipenv here: Pipenv Documentation). Then to install nucypher with pipenv, run:

    $ pipenv install nucypher
  2. Verify Installation

    In the console:

    nucypher --help

    In Python:

    import nucypher

Docker Installation

  1. Install Docker

  2. (Optional) Follow these post install instructions:

  3. Get the latest nucypher image:

docker pull nucypher/nucypher:latest

  1. That’s it. Now you can run commands like docker run -v /home/ubuntu:/root/.local/share/ nucypher/nucypher:latest nucypher alice init

Note the volume mounts. -v <path to a directory on your computer>:/root/.local/share/ This is important because it allows your Nucypher node to store persistent data as well as commonly access ipc with a locally running geth node.

Development Installation

Additional dependencies and setup steps are required to perform a “developer installation”. Ensure you have git installed (Git Documentation).

Acquire NuCypher Codebase

Fork the nucypher repository on GitHub, as explained in the Contribution Guide, then clone your fork’s repository to your local machine:

$ git clone<YOUR_GITHUB_USERNAME>/nucypher.git

After acquiring a local copy of the application code, you will need to install the project dependencies, we recommend using either pip or pipenv

Pipenv Development Installation

The most common development installation method is using pipenv:

$ pipenv install --dev --three --skip-lock --pre

Activate the pipenv shell

$ pipenv shell

If this is successful, your terminal command prompt will be prepended with (nucypher)

Install the Solidity compiler (solc):

$(nucypher) pipenv run install-solc

Pip Development Installation

Alternately, you can install the development dependencies with pip:

$ pip3 install -e .[development]
$ ./scripts/installation/

Development Docker Installation

The intention of the Docker configurations in this directory is to enable anyone to develop and test NuCypher on all major operating systems with minimal prerequisites and installation hassle (tested on Ubuntu 16, MacOS 10.14, Windows 10).

Start with standard Docker Installation

  1. Install Docker

  2. Install Docker Compose

  3. cd to `dev/docker

  4. Run docker-compose up --build this must be done once to complete install

Running NuCypher

Then you can do things like:

  • Run the tests: docker-compose run nucypher-dev pytest

  • Start up an Ursula: docker-compose run nucypher-dev nucypher ursula run --dev --federated-only

  • Open a shell: docker-compose run nucypher-dev bash

  • Try some of the scripts in dev/docker/scripts/

From there you can develop, modify code, test as normal.

Other cases

  • Run a network of 8 independent Ursulas docker-compose -f 8-federated-ursulas.yml up

  • Get the local ports these ursulas will be exposed on docker ps

  • To stop them… docker-compose -f 8-federated-ursulas.yml stop

Systemd Service Installation

  1. Use this template to create a file named ursula.service and place it in /etc/systemd/system/.

    Description="Run 'Ursula', a NuCypher Staking Node."
    User=<YOUR USER>
    ExecStart=<VIRTUALENV PATH>/bin/nucypher ursula run --teacher <SEEDNODE_URI>

    Replace the following values with your own:

    • <YOUR_USER> - The host system’s username to run the process with

    • <YOUR_PASSWORD> - Ursula’s keyring password

    • <VIRTUALENV_PATH> - The absolute path to the python virtual environment containing the nucypher executable

    • <SEEDNODE_URI> - A seednode URI of a node on the network you are connecting to

  2. Enable Ursula System Service

    $ sudo systemctl enable ursula
  3. Run Ursula System Service

    To start Ursula services using systemd

    $ sudo systemctl start ursula
  4. Check Ursula service status

    $ sudo systemctl status ursula
  5. To restart your node service

    $ sudo systemctl restart ursula