python brownie network setup, brownie network configuration, brownie networks, brownie hardhat, brownie infura

All You Need to Know About Python Brownie Network Setup


In my previous posts, I have reviewed through how to use Python Brownie to deploy smart contract and interact with a live contract by loading from ABI file or a block explorer. Brownie provides a list of predefined network configurations which probably will be sufficient for you most of the time, but It also gives you flexibility to configure and work on your own customized networks.

In this article, I will walk through with you a few tips on the Python Brownie network setup.


You will need to install the latest Brownie package in your Python virtual environment if you have not done yet so. Below is the pip command:

pip install eth-brownie

By default, Brownie uses Ganache for the development network. But if you plan to use hardhat with Brownie, you may also install hardhat. Read further from more details.

Brownie Check Existing Networks

To check the list of networks currently available, you can use the below command:

brownie networks list

And you shall see a long list of networks that Brownie supported by default, below is the first few:

python brownie network setup, brownie network configuration, brownie networks, brownie hardhat

Almost all the EVM compatible networks are included as well as the other networks which provided public JSON-RPC endpoint and block explorer.

To check the network details, such as the chain ID, host or block explorer etc, you can set the verbose option as true. For instance:

brownie networks list true

You shall see the network details similar to below:

python brownie network setup, brownie network configuration, brownie networks, brownie hardhat, brownie infura

This basically outputs all the information in the network-config.yaml file which is located under your useraccount/.brownie folder. And this setup can be shared among multiple of your brownie projects.

Brownie Add New Network

There are a few ways to add a new network to Brownie config, you can either do it with command line or through the configuration file.

Adding Network from Command Line

When you want to add a public network, Brownie requires at least network id, host and chainid. The rest are optional, but you may still need them, for instance, you will need to specify the block explorer if you want to get your source code verified by block explorer when deploying your contract.

Brownie uses the network id to lookup for the configurations, so it shall be unique among all the networks you have configured. For instance, you can configure as much networks as you can with different ids for Ethereum mainnet. And below is an example to add a network by using Alchemy API to access the Ethereum mainnet:

brownie networks add Ethereum mainnet-alchemy chainid=1 explorer= host=$ALCHEMY_PROJECT_TOKEN_ID multicall2=0x5BA1e12693Dc8F9c48aAD8770482f4739bEeD696 name="Mainnet (alchemy)"

You shall see below new network added successfully:

python brownie network setup, brownie network configuration, brownie networks, brownie alchemy api

When adding a development network, you must specify the environment as development and provide two additional fields – cmd and cmd_settings. This would let Brownie knows how to launch the local network and connect to it.

Brownie Import Network Configuration File

When you have a network YAML file shared from someone else, you can easily load it into your Brownie network with the import command. E.g. below is a yaml file with the network details:

- name: Ethereum
  - chainid: 1
    id: mainnet-alchemy
    multicall2: '0x5BA1e12693Dc8F9c48aAD8770482f4739bEeD696'
    name: Mainnet (alchemy)

We can save it to network-config.yaml to your current folder and run below command:

brownie networks import ./network-config.yaml

You shall see below output from your terminal:

Brownie v1.17.0 - Python development framework for Ethereum

SUCCESS: Network settings imported from 'network-config.yaml'

If you check network list again, you shall see the newly added network:

python brownie network setup, brownie network configuration, brownie networks, brownie import network

You will encounter error if the id already exists, but if you intend to replace the original setup, you can add a replace option when importing the configuration. E.g.:

brownie networks import ./network-config.yaml true

As I mentioned earlier that Brownie actually saved the network configurations under the .brownie folder. You can also add new network directly into the file, but I would not recommend this approach just to avoid messing up the entire Brownie environment.

Modify Existing Network

Brownie also allows to modify your existing network from the command line. For instance, you can change the network details by using below:

brownie networks modify mainnet-alchemy name=mainnet-alchemy

Output as per below:

python brownie network setup, brownie network configuration, brownie networks, brownie modify network

With the modify option, you can also update the other attributes such as the host such as to switch the network provider from Infura to Alchemy or Pocket Network etc.

Delete Network

Deleting an existing network can be done easily with below command:

brownie networks delete mainnet-alchemy

You shall get below output if Brownie found the network id from your existing configuration:

SUCCESS: Network 'mainnet-alchemy' has been deleted

Brownie Export Network Config

The network details can also be exported from Brownie command line. You can use the below command to export it to your current folder:

brownie networks export .

This would generate below outputs and you shall see a yaml file created with all the network details:

Brownie v1.17.0 - Python development framework for Ethereum

SUCCESS: Network settings exported as 'network-config.yaml'

This would be very helpful when you want to share your network setup to someone else.

Using Hardhat with Brownie

Hardhat is an Ethereum development environment with similar functionality to Brownie. It includes a hardhat network which is similar to Ganache, and Brownie added the support for hardhat network in the recent release.

To use hardhat, you shall follow this installation guide to install nodejs and hardhat. And then launch your hardhat node as per below:

npx hardhat node --port 8545

With the above command, it shall start a local server at below port:

Started HTTP and WebSocket JSON-RPC server at

And from another terminal window, you can use below command:

brownie console --network hardhat

Brownie will connect to the hardhat RPC server, and now you can do your development and testing same as what you do in Ganache. E.g. To deploy a smart contract with the hardhat default accounts:

python brownie network setup, brownie network configuration, brownie networks, brownie hardhat deploy contract

From the Hardhat terminal, you shall also see some output as per below:

python brownie network setup, brownie network configuration, brownie networks, brownie hardhat console


In this post, we have reviewed through a few commands that Brownie provided for managing the network configurations such as adding new networks, modifying or delete existing networks as well as import/export network configuration files. One thing to be noted is that the Brownie project configuration brownie-config.yaml also allows you to specify a networks section, but this is only meant for specifying the default network for the current project, anything else you have defined under this section would not overwrite the Brownie network configuration.

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brownie deploy smart contract python, NFT smart contract, mint NFT, free NFT

Deploy Your First NFT with Python


NFT (Non-Fungible Token) has exploded since last year and keeps on roaring regardless of how the cryptocurrency is performing. You must have heard of CryptoPunk, BAYC or the most recent Phantom Bear if you are following any crypto news. In the nutshell, NFT is a smart contract with some meta data such as image, video or some other attribute data to make it unique from one another. And since it’s on blockchain, it’s easy for anybody to verify the ownership. In this article, I will walk you through the process on how to deploy your own NFT with Python and we will be using a Python based smart contract development framework called Brownie.


You will need to install the Brownie package. It is recommended to use pipx to install it in an isolated environment, but since I have my own virtual environment created, I would continue to use pip instead. Below is the pip command to install Brownie:

#run in your venv
pip install eth-brownie

In order to test your code locally, Brownie will automatically install ganache cli which launches a local Ethereum blockchain for you to execute your smart contracts. You can follow its documentation to download and install it if you wish to install it manually.

Get Started with Brownie

Let’s create an empty folder and then run the below command to initiate a new Brownie project:

brownie init

With the above command, brownie will create a project structure for you under your current folder. The majority of your work shall be done in the following folders:

  • contracts – for solidity smart contract source code
  • interfaces – for the interface files that referenced by the smart contract
  • scripts – for deployment scripts or interacting with deployed contracts
  • tests – for test scripts


Brownie supports both Solidity and Vyper language for creating smart contracts. In this article, I will be using the smart contract in Solidity style as the example.

Create NFT Smart Contract

NFTs use ERC721 token standard, so we will need to create a smart contract that implements this standard. Since the objective of this article is to walk through the process rather than a deep dive into the smart contract coding, I have just shared a sample smart contract here.  You can download this LegendNFT.sol smart contract file and the libraries folder, then put them under the contracts folder.

Here is a quick explanation of what this smart contract does:

  • an ERC721 contract with name Codeforests Legend, token symbol CFL and total supply of 1,000,000
  • 3 lists of words to generate a “random” word phrase
  • a SVG xml template to create a picture of the above word phrase
  • a list of color codes to provide “random” background color to the SVG
  • a mint function for minting the NFT tokens
  • finally a function to return how many tokens have minted


As you can see from the source code that I used two external contracts from OpenZeppelin, so I will need to specify this dependency so that they can be recognized when compiling the contract. Brownie provides a config file brownie-config.yaml which allows you specify these configurations. This file is not created automatically when initiating the project as all the settings are optional, you will only need it when necessary.

To specify the dependencies, you can manually create this yaml file under your project root folder. And add the below configurations:

  - OpenZeppelin/openzeppelin-contracts@4.4.1
      - '@openzeppelin=OpenZeppelin/openzeppelin-contracts@4.4.1'

It basically tells Brownie package manager to automatically download this package for you and let compiler find the correct path of the package when using the short form ‘import @openzeppelin/…’.

Compile Smart Contract

Once you have saved your contract and the config file, you can run below compile command on your terminal:

brownie compile

You shall see brownie auto downloaded the dependencies and compiled the code:

brownie compile smart contract, NFT smart contract

The output Json files will be placed into the build/contracts folder. The next step we shall try to deploy this contract locally.

Deploy Smart Contract Locally

To deploy our contract locally, we will need to use the ganache as I mentioned in the beginning. By default, when you want to deploy a contract, brownie will always start the ganache local network and deploy it to the local network. Brownie provides a console window where you can use the commands to deploy contract, but since we may need to do the deployment multiples for testing or in different networks, so let’s create a re-usable Python script called under the scripts folder for the deployment purpose.

When your smart contract is compiled, the contract class object will be automatically added to brownie runtime environment, so we can import it from brownie directly.

Below is the Python code for deploying my LegendNFT contract:

from brownie import LegendNFT, network, config, accounts

def deploy_contract():
    account = accounts[0]
    legend_contract = LegendNFT.deploy({"from" : account})
    print("contract has been deployed successfully to :", legend_contract.address)

    return legend_contract

def main():

The accounts is some dummy accounts provided by ganache only for your local network, so we just pick the first dummy account as the contract creator for the from parameter.

Note that your script needs to have a main function to let brownie know which function to run.

Next, let’s run the below command in the terminal:

brownie run .\scripts\

You shall see something similar to the below output showing that both contract address and transaction hash have been generated:

brownie deploy smart contract python, NFT smart contract

Congratulations that you’ve just deployed your contract to your local network, although you may have no idea if the contract works correctly. Don’t worry, let’s continue to explore how to deploy to a public network and come back to the unit test later.

Deploy Smart Contract to Public Network

The public network usually refers to the public accessible and persistent blockchain network such as the Ethereum mainnet, rinkeby, kovan, popsten etc. To access the public network, you will need to connect to a node, but it would be too much to run your own node just for deploying a contract.

Luckily there are some service providers like Infura, Alchemy or Pocket Network etc., who allows you to use their API to connect to the public network nodes. For Brownie, it uses Infura as the default provider for connecting to public network. If you run below command in your terminal:

brownie networks list true

You can see it is using Infura’s API:

brownie deploy smart contract python, NFT smart contract, rinkeby network

In this case, you will need to sign up Infura for a free account and get your own project API token. Once you have your API token, you can create a environment variable called WEB3_INFURA_PROJECT_ID and assign your token ID to it. My personal preference would be putting this information into a .env file and load it into the Brownie config file.

And another thing you need is a real wallet account with some fund, as deployment will always incur some cost for confirming the transaction. You can create a wallet with Metamask, and for testnet like rinkeby, you can get some testing ether token from chainlink rinkeby faucet. You can also find other faucets for the rest of the testnets.

So let’s put below info in the .env file:

PRIVATE_KEY = 0x{your wallet private key}
WEB3_INFURA_PROJECT_ID = {your infrua project ID}
ETHERSCAN_TOKEN = {etherscan API token; to submit your contract source code to etherscan (optional)}

Note: to add 0x before your wallet private key so that it’s recognized as hex string. If you wish to get your contract source code verified by etherscan, you will need to sign up with etherscan and get an API token as well.

And add below lines in the brownie-config.yaml file:

dotenv: .env

  from_key: ${PRIVATE_KEY}

# optional for verifying the contract source code
    verify : false
    verify : true

I strongly recommend you to add .env in .gitignore, so that you won’t accidently push your sensitive information into github. Your wallet private key for testnet and mainnet is the same, so bear in mind to not expose to anyone.

Now let’s also do some minor change to our deployment script, so that it uses the new account we created for deploying the contract to public network.

def deploy_contract():
    if(network.show_active() == "development"):
        account = accounts[0]
        account = accounts.add(config["wallets"]["from_key"])

    legend_contract = LegendNFT.deploy(
        {"from" : account}, 
    print("contract has been deployed successfully to :", legend_contract.address)

    return legend_contract

We have added a condition to check whether we are working on local/development network, when it’s not local network, we will load our account by the private key and use it to sign the transaction for deployment.

Now we have everything ready, let’s run the again and specify the target network with the –network option, e.g. :

brownie run .\scripts\ --network rinkeby

Below is the output from my terminal:

brownie deploy smart contract python, NFT smart contract, Python deploy smart contract to public network

It would take slightly longer time since it requires the transaction to be minted and confirmed. You can copy the contract address or transaction hash then search it from etherscan rinkeby network.

You can see my deployed contract address here and the verified source code here.

Awesome! You just had your contract deployed in the public network where everybody can see it!!! Since you’ve not yet minted any NFT from your contract, you won’t see anything visually at the moment. To give you a idea of how your NFTs will look like, I have created this website for minting the LegendNFT, you can try and experience the minting process and then view the NFT from Opeasea. It currently supports Rinkeby, Matic and Matic Mumbai network. Below is the minting page after you have connected your wallet:

brownie deploy smart contract python, NFT smart contract, mint NFT, free NFT


Creating your own NFT can be a very fun journey although you may not be able to eventually sell it on the market. And there are just too much details to be covered and which is impossible to write in one post, so I will try to write a few more articles on how to perform unit test, interact with your deployed contract, as well as deploy the contract to other EVM compatible networks. Do follow me on my twitter and let me know if you encounter any issue with your contract deployment.