j-mueller / cardano-node

The core component that is used to participate in a Cardano decentralised blockchain.

Home Page:https://cardano.org

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cardano-node Overview

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Integration of the ledger, consensus, networking and node shell repositories.

Logging is provided as a feature by the node shell to the other packages.

  • The cardano-node is the top level for the node and aggregates the other components from other packages: consensus, ledger and networking, with configuration, CLI, logging and monitoring.
  • The node no longer incorporates wallet or explorer functionality. The wallet backend and explorer backend are separate components that run in separate external processes that communicate with the node via local IPC.

Network Configuration, Genesis and Topology Files

The latest supported networks can be found at https://hydra.iohk.io/job/Cardano/cardano-node/cardano-deployment/latest-finished/download/1/index.html

How to build

Documentation for building the node can be found here.

Linux Executable

You can download the latest version of cardano-node and cardano-cli:

Windows Executable


You can download here.


The download includes cardano-node.exe and a .dll. To run the node with cardano-node run you need to reference a few files and directories as arguments. These can be copied from the cardano-node repo into the executables directory. The command to run the node on mainnet looks like this:

cardano-node.exe run --topology ./mainnet-topology.json --database-path ./state --port 3001 --config ./configuration-mainnet.yaml --socket-path \\.\pipe\cardano-node

Docker image

You can pull the docker image with the latest version of cardano-node from here.

docker pull inputoutput/cardano-node


This refers to the client that is used for running a node.

The general synopsis is as follows:

Usage: cardano-node run [--topology FILEPATH] [--database-path FILEPATH]
                        [--socket-path FILEPATH]
                        [--byron-delegation-certificate FILEPATH]
                        [--byron-signing-key FILEPATH]
                        [--shelley-kes-key FILEPATH]
                        [--shelley-vrf-key FILEPATH]
                        [--shelley-operational-certificate FILEPATH]
                        [--host-addr IPV4-ADDRESS]
                        [--host-ipv6-addr IPV6-ADDRESS]
                        [--port PORT]
                        [--config NODE-CONFIGURATION] [--validate-db]
  Run the node.
  • --topology - Filepath to a topology file describing which peers the node should connect to.
  • --database-path - Path to the blockchain database.
  • --byron-delegation-certificate - Optional path to the Byron delegation certificate. The delegation certificate allows the delegator (the issuer of said certificate) to give his/her own block signing rights to somebody else (the delegatee). The delegatee can then sign blocks on behalf of the delegator.
  • --byron-signing-key - Optional path to the Byron signing key.
  • --shelley-signing-key - Optional path to the Shelley signing key.
  • --shelley-kes-key - Optional path to the Shelley KES signing key.
  • --shelley-vrf-key - Optional path to the Shelley VRF signing key.
  • --shelley-operational-certificate - Optional path to the Shelley operational certificate.
  • --socket-path - Path to the socket file.
  • --host-addr - Optionally specify your node's IPv4 address.
  • --host-ipv6-addr - Optionally specify your node's IPv6 address.
  • --port - Specify which port to assign to the node.
  • --config - Specify the filepath to the config .yaml file. This file is responsible for all the other node's required settings. See examples in configuration (e.g. config-0.yaml).
  • --validate-db - Flag to revalidate all on-disk database files

Configuration .yaml files

The --config flag points to a .yaml file that is responsible to configuring the logging & other important settings for the node. E.g. see the Byron mainnet configuration in this configuration.yaml. Some of the more important settings are as follows:

  • Protocol: RealPBFT -- Protocol the node will execute
  • RequiresNetworkMagic: RequiresNoMagic -- Used to distinguish between mainnet (RequiresNoMagic) and testnets (RequiresMagic)


Logs are output to the logs/ dir.

Profiling & statistics

Profiling data and RTS run stats are stored in the profile/ dir.

Please see scripts/README.md for how to obtain profiling information using the scripts.


Please see scripts/README.md for information on the various scripts.


A CLI utility to support a variety of key material operations (genesis, migration, pretty-printing..) for different system generations. Usage documentation can be found at cardano-cli/README.md.

The general synopsis is as follows:

Usage: cardano-cli (Era based commands | Byron specific commands | Miscellaneous commands)

> NOTE: the exact invocation command depends on the environment. If you have only built cardano-cli, without installing it, then you have to prepend cabal run -- `` before ``cardano-cli. We henceforth assume that the necessary environment-specific adjustment has been made, so we only mention cardano-cli.

The subcommands are subdivided in groups, and their full list can be seen in the output of cardano-cli --help.

All subcommands have help available. For example:

cabal run -- cardano-cli -- byron key migrate-delegate-key-from --help

cardano-cli -- byron key migrate-delegate-key-from
Usage: cardano-cli byron key migrate-delegate-key-from --from FILEPATH
                                                       --to FILEPATH
  Migrate a delegate key from an older version.

Available options:
  --byron-legacy-formats   Byron/cardano-sl formats and compatibility
  --byron-formats          Byron era formats and compatibility
  --from FILEPATH          Signing key file to migrate.
  --to FILEPATH            Non-existent file to write the signing key to.
  -h,--help                Show this help text

Genesis operations


The Byron genesis generation operations will create a directory that contains:

  • genesis.json: The genesis JSON file itself.
  • avvm-seed.*.seed: Ada Voucher Vending Machine seeds (secret). Affected by --avvm-entry-count and --avvm-entry-balance.
  • delegate-keys.*.key: Delegate private keys. Affected by: --n-delegate-addresses.
  • delegation-cert.*.json: Delegation certificates. Affected by: --n-delegate-addresses.
  • genesis-keys.*.key: Genesis stake private keys. Affected by: --n-delegate-addresses, --total-balance.
  • poor-keys.*.key: Non-delegate private keys with genesis UTxO. Affected by: --n-poor-addresses, --total-balance.

More details on the Byron Genesis JSON file can be found in docs/reference/byron-genesis.md

Byron genesis delegation and related concepts are described in detail in:


The canned scripts/benchmarking/genesis.sh example provides a nice set of defaults and illustrates available options.

Key operations

Note that key operations do not support password-protected keys.

Signing key generation & verification key extraction

Signing keys can be generated using the keygen subcommand.

Extracting a verification key out of the signing key is performed by the to-verification subcommand.

Delegate key migration

In order to continue using a delegate key from the Byron Legacy era in the new implementation, it needs to be migrated over, which is done by the migrate-delegate-key-from subcommand:

$ cabal v2-run -- cardano-cli byron key migrate-delegate-key-from
        --from key0.sk --to key0Converted.sk

Signing key queries

One can gather information about a signing key's properties through the signing-key-public and signing-key-address subcommands (the latter requires the network magic):

$ cabal v2-run -- cardano-cli byron key signing-key-public --byron-formats --secret key0.sk

public key hash: a2b1af0df8ca764876a45608fae36cf04400ed9f413de2e37d92ce04
public key: sc4pa1pAriXO7IzMpByKo4cG90HCFD465Iad284uDYz06dHCqBwMHRukReQ90+TA/vQpj4L1YNaLHI7DS0Z2Vg==

$ cabal v2-run -- cardano-cli signing-key-address --byron-formats --secret key0.pbft --testnet-magic 42

VerKey address with root e5a3807d99a1807c3f161a1558bcbc45de8392e049682df01809c488, attributes: AddrAttributes { derivation path: {} }



Transactions can be created via the issue-genesis-utxo-expenditure & issue-utxo-expenditure commands.

The easiest way to create a transaction is via the scripts/benchmarking/issue-genesis-utxo-expenditure.sh script as follows:

./scripts/benchmarking/issue-genesis-utxo-expenditure.sh transaction_file

NB: This by default creates a transaction based on configuration/defaults/liveview/config-0.yaml

If you do not have a genesis_file you can run scripts/benchmarking/genesis.sh which will create an example genesis_file for you. The script scripts/benchmarking/issue-genesis-utxo-expenditure.sh has defaults for all the requirements of the issue-genesis-utxo-expenditure command.


The submit-tx subcommand provides the option of submitting a pre-signed transaction, in its raw wire format (see GenTx for Byron transactions).

The canned scripts/benchmarking/submit-tx.sh script will submit the supplied transaction to a testnet launched by scripts/benchmarking/shelley-testnet-liveview.sh script.

Issuing UTxO expenditure (genesis and regular)

To make a transaction spending UTxO, you can either use the:

  • issue-genesis-utxo-expenditure, for genesis UTxO
  • issue-utxo-expenditure, for normal UTxO

subcommands directly, or, again use canned scripts that will make transactions tailored for the aforementioned testnet cluster:

  • scripts/benchmarking/issue-genesis-utxo-expenditure.sh.
  • scripts/benchmarking/issue-utxo-expenditure.sh.

The script requires the target file name to write the transaction to, input TxId (for normal UTxO), and optionally allows specifying the source txin output index, source and target signing keys and lovelace value to send.

The target address defaults to the 1-st richman key (configuration/delegate-keys.001.key) of the testnet, and lovelace amount is almost the entirety of its funds.

Local node queries

You can query the tip of your local node via the get-tip command as follows

  1. Open tmux
  2. Run cabal build cardano-node
  3. Run ./scripts/lite/shelley-testnet.sh example

4. Run export CARDANO_NODE_SOCKET_PATH=/cardano-node/example/socket/node-1-socket 4. ``cabal exec cardano-cli -- get-tip --testnet-magic 42

You will see output from stdout in this format:

Current tip:
Block hash: 4ab21a10e1b25e39
Slot: 6
Block number: 5

Update proposals

Update proposal creation

A Byron update proposal can be created as follows:

cardano-cli -- byron governance
                 (--mainnet | --testnet-magic NATURAL)
                 --signing-key FILEPATH
                 --protocol-version-major WORD16
                 --protocol-version-minor WORD16
                 --protocol-version-alt WORD8
                 --application-name STRING
                 --software-version-num WORD32
                 --system-tag STRING
                 --installer-hash HASH
                 --filepath FILEPATH

The mandatory arguments are --mainnet | --testnet-magic, signing-key, protocol-version-major, protocol-version-minor, protocol-version-alt, application-name, software-version-num, system-tag, installer-hash and filepath.

The remaining arguments are optional parameters you want to update in your update proposal.

You can also check your proposal's validity using the validate-cbor command. See: Validate CBOR files.

See the Byron specification for more details on update proposals.

Update proposal submission

You can submit your proposal using the submit-update-proposal command.


cardano-cli -- byron governance
            --config configuration/defaults/mainnet/configuration.yaml
            (--mainnet | --testnet-magic NATURAL)
            --filepath my-update-proposal

See the Byron specification for more deatils on update proposals.

Update proposal voting

You can create and submit byron update proposal votes with the create-proposal-vote & submit-proposal-vote commands. The following are two example commands:

Byron vote creation:

cabal exec cardano-cli -- byron governance create-proposal-vote
                       (--mainnet | --testnet-magic NATURAL)
                       --signing-key configuration/defaults/liveview/genesis/delegate-keys.000.key
                       --proposal-filepath ProtocolUpdateProposalFile
                       --output-filepath UpdateProposalVoteFile

Byron vote submission:

cabal exec cardano-cli -- byron governance submit-proposal-vote
                       (--mainnet | --testnet-magic NATURAL)
                       --filepath UpdateProposalVoteFile



run ghcid with: ghcid -c "cabal repl exe:cardano-node --reorder-goals"

Haskell Language Server

When using Haskell Langague Server with Visual Studio Code, you may find that HLINT annotations are ignored<https://github.com/haskell/haskell-language-server/issues/638>.

To work around this, you may run the script ./scripts/reconfigure-hlint.sh to generate a .hlint.yaml file with HLINT ignore rules derived from the source code.


cardano-node is essentially a container which implements several components such networking, consensus, and storage. These components have individual test coverage. The node goes through integration and release testing by Devops/QA while automated CLI tests are ongoing alongside development.

Developers on cardano-node can launch their own testnets or run the chairman tests locally.

Chairman tests


Pretty printing CBOR encoded files

It may be useful to print the on chain representations of blocks, delegation certificates, txs and update proposals. There are two commands that do this (for any cbor encoded file):

To pretty print as CBOR: cabal exec cardano-cli -- pretty-print-cbor --filepath CBOREncodedFile

Validate CBOR files

You can validate Byron era blocks, delegation certificates, txs and update proposals with the validate-cbor command.

cabal exec cardano-cli -- validate-cbor --byron-block 21600 --filepath CBOREncodedByronBlockFile

Native Tokens

Native tokens is a new feature that enables the transacting of multi-assets on Cardano. Native tokens are now supported on mainnet and users can transact with ada, and an unlimited number of user-defined (custom) tokens natively.

To help you get started we have compiled a handy list of resources:

Cardano Forum discussion

Documentation for native tokens

You can also read more about native tokens and how they compare to ada and ERC20. Browse native tokens created on the Cardano blockchain and see their transactions in an interactive dashboard that allows filtering and searching: nativetokens.da.iogservices.io.

API Documentation

The API documentation is published here.

The documentation is built with each push, but is only published from master branch. In order to test if the documentation is working, build the documentation locally with ./scripts/haddocs.sh and open haddocks/index.html in the browser.

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The core component that is used to participate in a Cardano decentralised blockchain.


License:Apache License 2.0


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