Node keys and node address
Each node has a private / public key pair and a node address. Besu uses the private / public key pair to sign and verify transactions, and the node address as an identifier for the node.
Node private key
When starting Hyperledger Besu, if the
--node-private-key-file option is not specified and a
key file does not exist in the data directory for the node, Besu generates a node private key and writes it to the
key file does exist in the data directory when starting Besu, the node starts with using private key in the
The private key is not encrypted.
Node public key
The node public key displays in the log after starting Besu. Also referred to as the node ID, the node public key forms part of the enode URL of a node.
You can export the node public key, either to standard output or to a specified file, using the
public-key export subcommand.
Besu generates the node address by creating a hash of the node public key and using the last 20 bytes of the hash as the node address. It is also displayed in the logs after starting Besu.
You can export the node address, either to standard output or to a specified file, using the
public-key export-address subcommand.
The enode URL identifies a node. For example, the
--bootnodes option and the
perm_addNodesToAllowlist method specify nodes by enode URL.
If deploying Besu using Kubernetes in private permissioned networks, use the
--Xdns-update-enabled options to use domain names instead of IP addresses. This ensures that Besu can connect to a container even if the IP address changes after being restarted.
The enode URL format is
<id>is the node public key, excluding the initial 0x.
<host:port>is the host and port the bootnode is listening on for P2P discovery. Specify the host and port using the
--p2p-portoptions. The default host is
127.0.0.1and the default port is
--p2p-port options are not specified and the node public key is
0xc35c3ec90a8a51fd5703594c6303382f3ae6b2ecb9589bab2c04b3794f2bc3fc2631dabb0c08af795787a6c004d8f532230ae6e9925cbbefb0b28b79295d615f, then the enode URL is
The enode URL displays when starting a Besu node. Use the
net_enode JSON-RPC API method to get the enode URL of the node.
The enode advertised to other nodes during discovery is the external IP address and port, as defined by
Specifying a custom node private key file
--node-private-key-file option to specify a custom
key file in any location.
key file exists, the node starts with the private key in the
key file. If the
key file does not exist, Besu generates a node private key and writes it to the
For example, the following command either reads the node private key from
privatekeyfile or writes a generated private key to