cardano-node Overview

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

How to build

Documentation for building the node can be found here.

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


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

The general synopsis is as follows:

Usage: cardano-node --topology FILEPATH --database-path FILEPATH
                 --genesis-file FILEPATH [--delegation-certificate FILEPATH]
                 [--signing-key FILEPATH] --socket-path FILEPATH
                 [--host-addr HOST-NAME] --port PORT
                 --config NODE-CONFIGURATION [--help] [--help-tracing]
Start node of the Cardano blockchain.
  • --topology - Filepath to a topology file describing which peers the node should connect to.

  • --database-path - Path to the blockchain database.

  • --genesis-file - Path to the genesis file of the chain you are connecting to.

  • --delegation-certificate - Optional path to the 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.

  • --signing-key - Optional path to the signing key.

  • --socket-path - Path to the socket file.

  • --host-addr - Optionally specify your node’s IPv4 or 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).

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 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)

  • ViewMode: SimpleView – Choose between SimpleView or LiveView


Logs are output to the logs/ dir.

Profiling & statistics

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

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


Please see scripts/ 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.

The general synopsis is as follows:

Usage: cardano-cli (Genesis related CMDs | Key related CMDs | Delegation related CMDs | Transaction related CMDs | Local node related CMDs)

> 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:

$ cabal v2-run -- cardano-cli migrate-delegate-key-from --help
Usage: cardano-cli migrate-delegate-key-from (--byron-legacy | --bft | --praos |
                                              --from FILEPATH
                                             (--byron-legacy | --bft | --praos |
                                              --to FILEPATH
Migrate a delegate key from an older version.

Available options:
  --byron-legacy           Byron/Ouroboros Classic suite of algorithms
  --bft                    BFT consensus
  --praos                  Praos consensus
  --real-pbft              Permissive BFT consensus
  --from FILEPATH          Signing key file to migrate.
  --byron-legacy           Byron/Ouroboros Classic suite of algorithms
  --bft                    BFT consensus
  --praos                  Praos consensus
  --real-pbft              Permissive BFT consensus
  --to FILEPATH            Non-existent file to write the signing key to.
  -h,--help                Show this help text

Genesis operations


The 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 Genesis JSON file can be found in docs/

Genesis delegation and related concepts are described in detail in:

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

Key operations

Note that no key operation currently supports accepting password-protected keys. The keygen subcommand, though, can generate such keys.

Signing key generation & verification key extraction

Signing keys can be generated using the keygen subcommand, password protection being controlled by the --no-password flag.

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 migrate-delegate-key-from
        --byron-legacy --from  --real-pbft --to key0.pbft

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 signing-key-public --real-pbft --secret key0.pbft

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

$ cabal v2-run -- cardano-cli signing-key-address --real-pbft --secret key0.pbft --testnet-magic 459045235

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


The issue-delegation-certificate subcommand enables generation of Byron genesis delegation certificates, given the following inputs:

  • node configuration yaml file

  • starting epoch of delegation

  • genesis delegator signing key

  • delegate verification key

To check the generated delegation certificate, you can use the check-delegation subcommand, which would verify:

  • certificate signature validity

  • correspondence of the expected issuer/delegate with those on the certificate.

The expected issuer and delegate are supplied through the --issuer-key and --delegate-key options.



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/ script as follows:

./scripts/ 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/ which will create an example genesis_file for you. The script scripts/ 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/ script will submit the supplied transaction to a testnet launched by scripts/ 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/

  • scripts/

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/

  4. cabal exec cardano-cli -- get-tip --config configuration/defaults/liveview/config-0.yaml --socket-path socket/0

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 node
               --config NODE-CONFIGURATION
               --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 config, 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 files command.

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 node
            --config configuration/defaults/mainnet/configuration.yaml
            --filepath my-update-proposal
            --socket-path socket/0

The socket path must either be specified as an argument (--socket-path) or specified in the supplied config file.

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 node create-proposal-vote
                     --config configuration/defaults/liveview/config-0.yaml
                     --signing-key configuration/defaults/liveview/genesis/delegate-keys.000.key
                     --proposal-filepath ProtocolUpdateProposalFile
                     --output-filepath UpdateProposalVoteFile

Byron vote submission:

cabal exec cardano-cli -- byron node submit-proposal-vote
                     --config  configuration/defaults/liveview/config-0.yaml
                     --filepath UpdateProposalVoteFile
                     --socket-path socket/node-0-socket


run ghcid with: ghcid -c "cabal v2-repl exe:cardano-node --reorder-goals"


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.


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