How to Use a Signer in Ethers.js

This guide will introduce you to use a Signer in Ethers.js and level up your Web3 stack!

What is a Signer in ethers.js?

A Signer is an abstraction to the Ethereum Account that has access to a private key, which grants access to messages and transactions to be securely signed off-chain while maintaining an interaction with the blockchain.

A Signer allows you to verify that you own a particular account, so that you can send transactions to the blockchain from that account.

Ethers.js Signer Use Cases

The following are four potential use cases of a Signer within Ethers.js:

  • Balances - use signer.getBalance to retrieve the balance of a user’s wallet
  • ENS Domains - use signer.resolveName to retrieve the ENS domain connected to the wallet address.
  • Signing - use signer.signTransaction to sign a transaction to confirm ownership by a specific wallet address.
  • Wallet - use ethers.Wallet to create a new wallet by passing in a private key identifying the owner of the wallet.

There are many more use cases that can be explored by visiting the Signer docs, here.

How to Use a Signer with the Alchemy SDK

This example will teach you how to send a transaction using the Alchemy SDK. Please Note: The following code snippets require prior installation of alchemy-SDK.

1. Import Alchemy, Network, Wallet and Utils via alchemy-sdk. Learn more about dotev, here.

const { Alchemy, Network, Wallet, Utils } = require("alchemy-sdk");
const dotenv = require("dotenv");

2. Optional Config object, but defaults to demo api-key and eth-mainnet.

const { API_KEY, PRIVATE_KEY } = process.env;
const settings = {
    apiKey: API_KEY,
    network: Network.ETH_GOERLI, // Replace with your network.

const alchemy = new Alchemy(settings);

3. Define wallet - an implementation of Signer that can sign transactions and messages using a private key.

let wallet = new Wallet(PRIVATE_KEY);

4. Define the transaction and specify details required of the transaction.

const transaction = {
    to: "0xa238b6008Bc2FBd9E386A5d4784511980cE504Cd",
    value: Utils.parseEther("0.001"),
    gasLimit: "21000",
    maxPriorityFeePerGas: Utils.parseUnits("5", "gwei"),
    maxFeePerGas: Utils.parseUnits("20", "gwei"),
    nonce: await alchemy.core.getTransactionCount(wallet.getAddress()),
    type: 2,
    chainId: 5, // Corresponds to ETH_GOERLI

5. Define the raw transaction using wallet and transact using Alchemy’s API methods.

const rawTransaction = await wallet.signTransaction(transaction);
await alchemy.transact.sendTransaction(rawTransaction);