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Version: v1.10

Adding metadata to transactions

Sometimes you need to include more information with a transaction. For example:

  • You want to associate a transaction with a specific purchase.
  • You need to include a payment reference with the transaction.
  • You want to include metadata to keep the ledger in sync with an external system.
First time working through a Numscript guide?

Make sure that you're set up properly: Read through the prerequisites first!. Otherwise the examples below won't work.

Attaching transaction metadata

In the game land of Cones Dunshire, building cones is a central part of playing the game. As ledgerman, we want to keep track of how much players have spent on building cones for analytical reasons. We can do this by flagging transactions that represent spending on cone building, using metadata.

Player leslieknope just spent 100 coin to build a minor cone. Let's create that transaction, and flag it with metadata. Create a file called metadata.num:

send [COIN 100] (
source = @player:leslieknope
destination = @centrabank
set_tx_meta("for_cone", "true")
set_tx_meta("cone_size", 15)

And run it with

fctl ledger transactions num metadata.num

Are you seeing

FATA[0000] account had insufficient funds

in your output? The source accounts need to have enough funds before you run this example. Make sure you're set up properly.

Once you've run that transaction succesfully, let's have a look at leslieknope's balance to find that transaction. It should be the topmost one listed. Click the details arrow to the right of the transaction to get more details.

Where to find the detail arrow

On the transaction detail page, you'll find a snippet of JSON at the end that will look something like this:

"reference": "",
"timestamp": "2022-04-13T07:10:12Z",
"metadata": {
"cone_size": {
"type": "number",
"value": 15
"for_cone": {
"type": "string",
"value": "true"

You can see the metadata field with the details of the information we added to the transaction.

What's going on here?

Metadata is arbitrary data that you can attach to a transaction or an account. This data is typed, and can be a string or a number. You can retrieve (or even add to) this metadata later using the HTTP API, for integration into your own bespoke workflows.

Attaching account metadata

You can also add metadata to an account during a transaction, like this:

send [COIN 100] (
source = @player:leslieknope
destination = @centrabank
set_tx_meta("for_cone", "true")
set_tx_meta("cone_size", 15)
set_account_meta(@player:leslieknope, "overdraft", "false")

Going further

Formance Ledger enables you to add metadata to accounts as well. This metadata can be utilized to create more complex transactions, incorporating variables that are bound to specific metadata during execution. For further information on this application, kindly consult the Numscript metadata reference.