In my contract, I'd like to be able to check how much EOS an account has. For that, I'd write some C++ code like this:

token::accounts the_table("eosio.token"_n, "useraccount1"_n.value);
auto it = the_table.begin();
auto how_much = it -> balance;

Here, I'd use the type token::accounts from the eosio.token contract.

The problem is that, in the official eosio.token contract, this type is private, so my code above does not compile. So, instead of just an #include ".../eosio.token.hpp", now I copy the type declaration to the code of my contract, like this:

struct [[eosio::table]] account {
    asset balance;
    uint64_t primary_key() const {return balance.symbol.code().raw();}

typedef eosio::multi_index <"accounts"_n, account> accounts;

Copying and modifying the data structures, just to be able to access them, is bad coding practice. But maybe I'm using a wrong approach here. So my question here is two-fold:

  1. Why are the types in the official code private?
  2. How to better see from within a contract how much EOS an account has?
  • Possible duplicate of get token balance from another contract
    – Ami Heines
    Nov 11, 2018 at 16:56
  • 1
    @AmiHeines Thanks for the link! It's related, and one of the answer contains the premise of my question. Still, my question is about a particular shortcoming of that answer, which is not and should not be addressed there.
    – Gassa
    Nov 11, 2018 at 20:53
  • Perhaps the eosio.token contract needs to be changed and the struct should be moved to the public section of the class. Try raising an issue in the github repo.
    – Ami Heines
    Nov 11, 2018 at 22:09

1 Answer 1


The contract rightfully encapsulates the implementation details as private.

Instead, it provides the following function as the public interface:

static asset get_balance( name token_contract_account, name owner, symbol_code sym_code )

A better version of the code to get EOS balance is thus as follows:

auto how_much = token::get_balance("eosio.token"_n, "useraccount1"_n, symbol_code("EOS"));

The problem was that I didn't notice the function on my first read.

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