How to Send and Check Balance of ERC20 Tokens Using geth

So, you got some standard ERC20 token from wherever, be it a popular one like Golem (GNT) or a more obscure one like the infamous yet entirely unknown Kekel, and you want to check your balance. How do you do that? Mist offers a simple UI for that, but when you are a real crack, you are of course using only geth console. Here’s what you need.

Checking Token Balance – Basic Way

You’re going to need three things:

  1. The token contract address
  2. Your account address
  3. The token contract’s ABI

You need to figure out the first two yourself. You can use a generic ABI to check token balance. We instantiate the contract ABI as follows:

> var tokenContract = eth.contract([{

Now we have the contract’s interface. Next we use it to check our balance. The following example will show my account’s Golem balance:

> var golemContractAddress = "0xa74476443119A942dE498590Fe1f2454d7D4aC0d";
> var account = "0x27f8a692b3c8279fce29f2629b8d87ac717300f8";

This outputs the token balance in plain tokens, i.e. without showing a decimal point.


Human Standard Token ABI

For a more thorough solution, I found the Human Standard Token ABI by Dan Finley on github. It is a node.js module which provides an API to standard tokens. I changed it a little so I can run it from the geth console. Install token.js in a local folder on the machine where you run geth, such as /home/user/geth/token.js, and run the geth console with

geth console --preload /home/user/geth/token.js

Now you have the full functionality of a token contracts in the variable “tokenContract”:

> var golemContractAddress = "0xa74476443119A942dE498590Fe1f2454d7D4aC0d";
> var account = "0x27f8a692b3c8279fce29f2629b8d87ac717300f8";
> var golem =;
> golem.symbol();
"Golem Network Token"
> golem.balanceOf(account);
> golem.decimals()

The ABI also supports sending tokens as follows:

var value = '100' // Base 10, accounts for decimals.
golem.transfer(toAddress, value, { from: addr }, function (err, txHash) {
  if (err) console.error(err)

  if (txHash) {
    console.log('Transaction sent')

Please refer to the readme on github.

I hope this was helpful and wish you a nice day 🙂