React Native for IC Apps


This tutorial will walk you through the process of building a React Native app for the Internet Computer using Expo and Internet Identity. It has been a while coming, due to the fact that @dfinity/agent has been using webassembly modules for verifying BLS signatures, but we now have a solution that works with React Native.

Note: this depends on a version of agent-js that has not been released as of publishing. To get started, you will need to download this zip file of the @dfinity/agent, @dfinity/bls-verify, and @noble/curves packages and install it locally in your project. Once the new version is released, you can remove this dependency and install the packages directly from npm.

Download Dependencies

Then, you can install the dependencies in your project:

npm install ./react-native-deps/dfinity-agent-0.20.2.tgz \
./react-native-deps/dfinity-bls-verify-0.20.2.tgz \

Getting Started


  • Node.js (version 18 or higher)
  • Xcode (for iOS development)
  • Android Studio (for Android development)
  • (recommended) Apple Developer Account (for iOS development)

Expo Quickstart

First, you can run the following command to create your app. I'll be naming the project ic-expo, but you can name it whatever you want.

npx create-expo-app ic-expo

Then, cd into the project. At this point, if you are set up with your preferred development environment, you can run expo run ios or expo run android to start the app in the simulator. If you are not set up, you can follow the instructions in the Expo documentation to get set up.

Installing Dependencies

Next, we need to install the dependencies for our app. We will be using @dfinity/agent to interact with the Internet Computer, and there are several other necessary dependencies we'll also need to install.

npm install --save \
@dfinity/agent \
@dfinity/identity \
@dfinity/principal \
@dfinity/candid \
@react-native-async-storage/async-storage \
amcl-js \
buffer \ 

Setting up Internet Identity

We will be using Internet Identity to authenticate users. To pull this off, we need to host a website that will process the requests from our app and return a delegation.

I recommend simply dropping the ii_integration website into your project in src/ii_integration. This is a simple website that will handle the requests from our app and return a delegation. Add a dfx.json file to the root of your project for the ii_integration site, as well as configs for a whoami canister and internet-identity

// dfx.json
    "canisters": {
        "internet-identity": {
            "type": "pull",
            "id": "rdmx6-jaaaa-aaaaa-aaadq-cai"
        "whoami": {
            "type": "pull",
            "id": "ivcos-eqaaa-aaaab-qablq-cai",
            "declarations": {
                "node_compatibility": true
        "ii_integration": {
            "type": "assets",
            "source": [
    "output_env_file": ".env",
    "version": 1

How it works

The ii_integration site uses @dfinity/auth-client to integrate with Internet Identity. When the page is loaded, it looks for a redirect_uri and a pubkey in the URL parameters. If it finds these, it will authenticate with Internet Identity and then generate a deep link that will return the delegation to the app. The app will then use this delegation to authenticate calls to the Internet Computer.

The key tricks here are:

1. Create the auth-client with a base key from the public key

The IncompleteEd25519KeyIdentity class is a workaround, since the auth-client expects a full keypair. We can get around this by creating an identity with the public key, and then passing it to the auth-client. In the future I'll change the support in the library so the setup is simpler.

// Represent the public key as an identity
class IncompleteEd25519KeyIdentity extends SignIdentity {
  constructor(publicKey) {
    this._publicKey = publicKey;

  getPublicKey() {
    return this._publicKey;

const identity = new IncompleteEd25519KeyIdentity(

const authClient = await AuthClient.create({

Once the user has authenticated, we can get the delegation from the auth-client and then generate a deep link that will return the delegation to the app. In this case, the identity is abstracted inside of the the ii-login-button web component, but the logic is very similar with @dfinity/auth-client.

onSuccess: () => {
    const loginButton = document.querySelector("ii-login-button");
    const delegationIdentity = loginButton.identity;

    var delegationString = JSON.stringify(

    const encodedDelegation = encodeURIComponent(delegationString);
    const url = `${redirectUri}/redirect?delegation=${encodedDelegation}`;
    console.log(`Redirecting to ${url}`);

    //   render button to press when we're done
    const button = document.createElement("button");
    button.innerText = "Continue";
    button.addEventListener("click", () => {
        window.open(url, "_self");

Setting up the app

The app itself will have a very simple structure, so I'll gloss over that a little bit. The App renders a LoggedIn view and a LoggedOut view, and the LoggedIn view will render the WhoAmI component to display the user's principal, while the LoggedOut view will render the Pressable component to allow the user to log in.

The more important logic is contained in the useAuth hook, which will handle the authentication logic. It will generate the url to redirect to the ii_integration site, and then it will handle the deep link when the delegation is returned.

// src/app/hooks/useAuth.js
import { useState, useEffect } from "react";
import { toHex } from "@dfinity/agent";
import {
} from "@dfinity/identity";
import * as WebBrowser from "expo-web-browser";
import { useURL } from "expo-linking";
import AsyncStorage from "@react-native-async-storage/async-storage";
import * as SecureStore from "expo-secure-store";

async function save(key, value) {
  await SecureStore.setItemAsync(key, value);

export function useAuth() {
  const [baseKey, setBaseKey] = useState();
  const [isReady, setIsReady] = useState(false);
  const url = useURL();
   * @type {[DelegationIdentity | null, React.Dispatch<DelegationIdentity | null>]} state
  const [identity, setIdentity] = useState(null);

  useEffect(() => {
    (async () => {
      const storedKey = await SecureStore.getItemAsync("baseKey");
      if (storedKey) {
      } else {
        const key = Ed25519KeyIdentity.generate();
        await save("baseKey", JSON.stringify(key.toJSON()));

      const storedDelegation = await AsyncStorage.getItem("delegation");
      if (storedDelegation) {
        const chain = DelegationChain.fromJSON(JSON.parse(storedDelegation));
        if (isDelegationValid(chain)) {
          const id = new DelegationIdentity(
        } else {
          await SecureStore.deleteItemAsync("delegation");
  }, []);

  useEffect(() => {
    // If we have an identity, we don't need to do anything
    if (identity) return;

    const search = new URLSearchParams(url?.split("?")[1]);
    const delegation = search.get("delegation");
    if (delegation) {
      const chain = DelegationChain.fromJSON(
      AsyncStorage.setItem("delegation", JSON.stringify(chain.toJSON()));
       * @type {DelegationIdentity}
      const id = DelegationIdentity.fromDelegation(baseKey, chain);

  }, [url]);

  // Function to handle login and update identity based on base key
  const login = async () => {
    const derKey = toHex(baseKey.getPublicKey().toDer());
    const url = new URL("https://tdpaj-biaaa-aaaab-qaijq-cai.icp0.io/");

    // Set the redirect uri to the deep link for the app
    // This will be different in a production app

    url.searchParams.set("pubkey", derKey);
    return await WebBrowser.openBrowserAsync(url.toString());

  // Clear identity on logout
  const logout = async () => {
    await AsyncStorage.removeItem("delegation");

  return {

TODO: clean up the canister link for .env based network configs

Setting up the agent

Finally, once the delegation identity is ready, we need to pass a couple extra options while setting up the HttpAgent. We need to pass the identity and the host to the agent, like normal, but we will also need to provide fetchOptions, a blsVerify function, and callOptions. This will look like this:

const agent = new HttpAgent({
    host: "https://icp-api.io",
    fetchOptions: {
        reactNative: {
            __nativeResponseType: "base64",
    verifyQuerySignatures: true,
    callOptions: {
        reactNative: {
            textStreaming: true,


That's it! You should now have a working React Native app that can authenticate with Internet Identity and make calls to the Internet Computer. You can find the full source code for this tutorial athttps://github.com/krpeacock/ic-expo-mvp.

© Kai Peacock 2024