Understanding your configuration files and how to use them

The topology.json file

Tells your node to which nodes in the network it should talk to. A minimal version of this file looks like this:

  "Producers": [
      "addr": "x.x.x.x",
      "port": 3001,
      "valency": 1
  • This means that your node will contact node at ip x.x.x.x on port 3001.

  • valency tells the node how many connections your node should have. It only has an effect for dns addresses. If a dns address is given, valency governs to how many resolved ip addresses should we maintain active (hot) connection; for ip addresses, valency is used as a Boolean value, where 0 means to ignore the address.

Your block-producing node must ONLY talk to your relay nodes, and the relay node should talk to other relay nodes in the network. Go to our telegram channel to find out IP addresses and ports of peers.

The genesis.json file

The genesis file is generated with the cardano-cli by reading a genesis.spec.json file, which is out of scope for this document. But it is important because it is used to set:

  • genDelegs, a mapping from genesis keys to genesis delegates.

  • initialFunds, a mapping from the initial addresses to the initial values at those address.

  • maxLovelaceSupply, the total amount of lovelaces in the blockchain.

  • systemStart, the time of slot zero.

The genesis.json file looks like the one below.

  "activeSlotsCoeff": 0.05,
  "protocolParams": {
    "protocolVersion": {
      "minor": 0,
      "major": 2
    "decentralisationParam": 1,
    "eMax": 18,
    "extraEntropy": {
      "tag": "NeutralNonce"
    "maxTxSize": 16384,
    "maxBlockBodySize": 65536,
    "maxBlockHeaderSize": 1100,
    "minFeeA": 44,
    "minFeeB": 155381,
    "minUTxOValue": 1000000,
    "poolDeposit": 500000000,
    "minPoolCost": 340000000,
    "keyDeposit": 2000000,
    "nOpt": 150,
    "rho": 0.003,
    "tau": 0.20,
    "a0": 0.3
  "genDelegs": {
    "ad5463153dc3d24b9ff133e46136028bdc1edbb897f5a7cf1b37950c": {
      "delegate": "d9e5c76ad5ee778960804094a389f0b546b5c2b140a62f8ec43ea54d",
      "vrf": "64fa87e8b29a5b7bfbd6795677e3e878c505bc4a3649485d366b50abadec92d7"
    "b9547b8a57656539a8d9bc42c008e38d9c8bd9c8adbb1e73ad529497": {
      "delegate": "855d6fc1e54274e331e34478eeac8d060b0b90c1f9e8a2b01167c048",
      "vrf": "66d5167a1f426bd1adcc8bbf4b88c280d38c148d135cb41e3f5a39f948ad7fcc"
    "60baee25cbc90047e83fd01e1e57dc0b06d3d0cb150d0ab40bbfead1": {
      "delegate": "7f72a1826ae3b279782ab2bc582d0d2958de65bd86b2c4f82d8ba956",
      "vrf": "c0546d9aa5740afd569d3c2d9c412595cd60822bb6d9a4e8ce6c43d12bd0f674"
    "f7b341c14cd58fca4195a9b278cce1ef402dc0e06deb77e543cd1757": {
      "delegate": "69ae12f9e45c0c9122356c8e624b1fbbed6c22a2e3b4358cf0cb5011",
      "vrf": "6394a632af51a32768a6f12dac3485d9c0712d0b54e3f389f355385762a478f2"
    "162f94554ac8c225383a2248c245659eda870eaa82d0ef25fc7dcd82": {
      "delegate": "4485708022839a7b9b8b639a939c85ec0ed6999b5b6dc651b03c43f6",
      "vrf": "aba81e764b71006c515986bf7b37a72fbb5554f78e6775f08e384dbd572a4b32"
    "2075a095b3c844a29c24317a94a643ab8e22d54a3a3a72a420260af6": {
      "delegate": "6535db26347283990a252313a7903a45e3526ec25ddba381c071b25b",
      "vrf": "fcaca997b8105bd860876348fc2c6e68b13607f9bbd23515cd2193b555d267af"
    "268cfc0b89e910ead22e0ade91493d8212f53f3e2164b2e4bef0819b": {
      "delegate": "1d4f2e1fda43070d71bb22a5522f86943c7c18aeb4fa47a362c27e23",
      "vrf": "63ef48bc5355f3e7973100c371d6a095251c80ceb40559f4750aa7014a6fb6db"
  "updateQuorum": 5,
  "networkId": "Mainnet",
  "initialFunds": {},
  "maxLovelaceSupply": 45000000000000000,
  "networkMagic": 764824073,
  "epochLength": 432000,
  "systemStart": "2017-09-23T21:44:51Z",
  "slotsPerKESPeriod": 129600,
  "slotLength": 1,
  "maxKESEvolutions": 62,
  "securityParam": 2160

Here is a brief description of each parameter. You can learn more in the spec.

activeSlotsCoeff The proportion of slots in which blocks should be issued.
poolDeposit The amount of a pool registration deposit
protocolVersion Accepted protocol versions
decentralisationParam Percentage of blocks produced by federated nodes
maxTxSize Maximum transaction size
minPoolCost Stake pools cannot register/re-register their stake cost below this value
minFeeA The linear factor for the minimum fee calculation
maxBlockBodySize Maximum block body size
minFeeB The constant factor for the minimum fee calculation
eMax Epoch bound on pool retirement
extraEntropy Well, extra entropy =)
maxBlockHeaderSize Maximum block header size
keyDeposit The amount of a key registration deposit
nOpt Desired number of pools
rho Monetary expansion
tau Treasury expansion
a0 Pool's pledge influence
networkMagic To identify the testnets
systemStart Time of slot 0
genDelegs Mapping from genesis keys to genesis delegate
updateQuorum Determines the quorum needed for votes on the protocol parameter updates
initialFunds Mapping address to values
maxLovelaceSupply The total number of lovelace in the system, used in the reward calculation.
networkMagic To identify the testnet
epochLength Number of slots in an epoch.
staking Initial delegation
slotsPerKESPeriod Number of slots in an KES period
slotLength in seconds
maxKESEvolutions The maximum number of time a KES key can be evolved before a pool operator must create a new operational certificate
securityParam Security parameter k

The config.json file

The default config.json file that we downloaded is shown below.

This file has 4 sections that allow you to have full control on what your node does and how the informtion is presented.

NOTE Due to how the config.json file is generated, fields on the real file are shown in a different (less coherent) order. Here we present them in a more structured way

Basic Node Configuration.

First section relates the basic node configuration parameters. Make sure you have to TPraosas the protocol, the correct path to the mainnet-shelley-genesis.json file, RequiresMagicfor its use in a testnet.

  "Protocol": "TPraos",
  "GenesisFile": "mainnet-shelley-genesis.json",
  "RequiresNetworkMagic": "RequiresMagic",

Update parameters

This protocol version number gets used by block producing nodes as part of the system for agreeing on and synchronising protocol updates. You just need to be aware of the latest version supported by the network. You don’t need to change anything here.

  "ApplicationName": "cardano-sl",
  "ApplicationVersion": 0,
  "LastKnownBlockVersion-Alt": 0,
  "LastKnownBlockVersion-Major": 2,
  "LastKnownBlockVersion-Minor": 0,


Tracers tell your node what information you are interested in when logging. Like switches that you can turn ON or OFF according the type and quantity of information that you are interesetd in. This provides fairly coarse grained control, but it is relatively efficient at filtering out unwanted trace output.

TurnOnLogging: Enables or disables logging overall.

TurnOnLogMetrics: Enable the collection of various OS metrics such as memory and CPU use. These metrics can be directed to the logs or monitoring backends.

setupBackends, defaultBackends, hasEKGand hasPrometheus: The system supports a number of backends for logging and monitoring. This settings list the backends available to use in the configuration. The logging backend is called Katip. Also enable the EKG backend if you want to use the EKG or Prometheus monitoring interfaces.

setupScribes and defaultScribes: For the Katip logging backend we must set up outputs (called scribes) The available types of scribe are:

  • FileSK: for files

  • StdoutSK/StderrSK: for stdout/stderr

  • JournalSK: for systemd’s journal system

  • DevNullSK

  • The scribe output format can be ScText or ScJson.

rotation The default file rotation settings for katip scribes, unless overridden in the setupScribes above for specific scribes.

"TurnOnLogging": true,
"TurnOnLogMetrics": true,
"TracingVerbosity": "NormalVerbosity",
"minSeverity": "Debug",
"TraceBlockFetchClient": false,
"TraceBlockFetchDecisions": false,
"TraceBlockFetchProtocol": false,
"TraceBlockFetchProtocolSerialised": false,
"TraceBlockFetchServer": false,
"TraceBlockchainTime": false,
"TraceChainDb": true,
"TraceChainSyncBlockServer": false,
"TraceChainSyncClient": false,
"TraceChainSyncHeaderServer": false,
"TraceChainSyncProtocol": false,
"TraceDNSResolver": true,
"TraceDNSSubscription": true,
"TraceErrorPolicy": true,
"TraceForge": true,
"TraceHandshake": false,
"TraceIpSubscription": true,
"TraceLocalChainSyncProtocol": false,
"TraceLocalErrorPolicy": true,
"TraceLocalHandshake": false,
"TraceLocalTxSubmissionProtocol": false,
"TraceLocalTxSubmissionServer": false,
"TraceMempool": true,
"TraceMux": false,
"TraceTxInbound": false,
"TraceTxOutbound": false,
"TraceTxSubmissionProtocol": false,
"setupBackends": [
"defaultBackends": [
"hasEKG": 12788,
"hasPrometheus": [
"setupScribes": [
    "scFormat": "ScText",
    "scKind": "StdoutSK",
    "scName": "stdout",
    "scRotation": null
"defaultScribes": [
"rotation": {
  "rpKeepFilesNum": 10,
  "rpLogLimitBytes": 5000000,
  "rpMaxAgeHours": 24

Fine grained logging control

It is also possible to have more fine grained control over filtering of trace output, and to match and route trace output to particular backends. This is less efficient than the coarse trace filters above but provides much more precise control. options:

mapBackendsThis routes metrics matching specific names to particular backends. This overrides the defaultBackends listed above. And note that it is an override and not an extension so anything matched here will not go to the default backend, only to the explicitly listed backends.

mapSubtrace This section is more expressive, we are working on its documentation.

	  "options": {
	    "mapBackends": {
	      "cardano.node-metrics": [
	      "cardano.node.BlockFetchDecision.peers": [
	      "cardano.node.ChainDB.metrics": [
	      "cardano.node.metrics": [
	    "mapSubtrace": {
	      "benchmark": {
	        "contents": [
	        "subtrace": "ObservableTrace"
	      "#ekgview": {
	        "contents": [
	              "contents": "cardano.epoch-validation.benchmark",
	              "tag": "Contains"
	                "contents": ".monoclock.basic.",
	                "tag": "Contains"
	              "contents": "cardano.epoch-validation.benchmark",
	              "tag": "Contains"
	                "contents": "diff.RTS.cpuNs.timed.",
	                "tag": "Contains"
	              "contents": "#ekgview.#aggregation.cardano.epoch-validation.benchmark",
	              "tag": "StartsWith"
	                "contents": "diff.RTS.gcNum.timed.",
	                "tag": "Contains"
	        "subtrace": "FilterTrace"

	      "cardano.epoch-validation.utxo-stats": {
	        "subtrace": "NoTrace"
	      "cardano.node-metrics": {
	        "subtrace": "Neutral"
	      "cardano.node.metrics": {
	        "subtrace": "Neutral"