Geth node Geth/v1.9.0-unstable/windows-amd64/go1.12

Commands used to start the node to mine:

  • geth --datadir "." --networkid 101 -verbosity 6 --port 30301 --rpcport 8101 --nodiscover -rpc --rpcapi "db,eth,net,web3,personal" --vmdebug --mine console 2>>"node01.log"
  • miner.start(2)
  • personal.unlockAccount(eth.accounts[0])

HelloWorld.sol contract:

pragma solidity ^0.5;    
contract HelloWorld {      
    uint256 counter = 5;

    function add() public {  //increases counter by 1
    function subtract() public { //decreases counter by 1
    function getCounter() public view returns (uint256) {
        return counter;

Java Wrapper Class of the contract

The generated function is:

public RemoteCall<BigInteger> getCounter() {
    final Function function = new Function(FUNC_GETCOUNTER, 
            Arrays.<TypeReference<?>>asList(new TypeReference<Uint256>() {}));
    return executeRemoteCallSingleValueReturn(function, BigInteger.class);

Command used to generate the java class:

web3j truffle generate HelloWorld.json 
      -o java/classes -p com.web3j

Java interaction with the contract

HelloWorld contract = HelloWorld.load(

        System.out.println("Valid: " + contract.isValid());

       // call method getCounter which retrieves contract data
        Function function = new Function(
                Arrays.asList(new TypeReference<Uint256>() {})

        String encodedFunction = FunctionEncoder.encode(function);

        //unlock account
        PersonalUnlockAccount personalUnlockAccount = admin.personalUnlockAccount(account,password).send();
        if (personalUnlockAccount.accountUnlocked()) {
            System.out.println("Account " + account + " is UNLOCKED.");

        EthCall ethCall = web3j.ethCall(
                Transaction.createEthCallTransaction(credentials.getAddress(), contractAddress, encodedFunction),

        String value = ethCall.getValue();
        List<Type> list = FunctionReturnDecoder.decode(value, function.getOutputParameters());



I have tried both with contract deployed with truffle, and with the contract deployed in web3j with .deploy(). In both cases the contract gets deployed and I can check the transaction hash on the geth private note created by me. But in both cases I cannot successfully call the getCounter() function. The deployed / loaded contract is valid. I called the method add() with Transaction.createFunctionCallTransactionand I managed to mine the transaction and obtain the transaction hash. When I call the getCounter() method in the debugger ethCall.result = "0x".

Additional Question:

I have read that this method call should also work because it only retrieves contract data:


But it throws the exception:

org.web3j.tx.exceptions.ContractCallException: Empty value (0x) returned from contract

Please help with any hints related to what I might be doing wrong. Thank you.

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