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Last update: September 7, 2021


Besu implements the Clique Proof-of-Authority (PoA) consensus protocol. The Rinkeby testnet uses Clique and private networks can also use Clique.

In Clique networks, approved accounts, known as signers, validate transactions and blocks. Signers take turns to create the next block. Existing signers propose and vote to add or remove signers.

Genesis file

To use Clique in a private network, Besu requires a Clique genesis file. When connecting to Rinkeby, Besu uses the rinkeby.json genesis file in the /besu/config/src/main/resources directory.

A Clique genesis file defines properties specific to Clique.

Example Clique genesis file

    "constantinoplefixblock": 0,
  "alloc": {},

The properties specific to Clique are:

  • blockperiodseconds - The block time, in seconds.
  • epochlength - The number of blocks after which to reset all votes.
  • extraData - Vanity data takes up the first 32 bytes, followed by the initial signers.

Extra data

The extraData field consists of:

  • 0x prefix.
  • 32 bytes (64 hex characters) of vanity data.
  • A concatenated list of initial signer addresses (at least one initial signer required). 20 bytes (40 hex characters) for each signer.
  • 65 bytes (130 hex characters) for the proposer signature. In the genesis block there is no initial proposer so the proposer signature is all zeros.

One initial signer

One Initial Signer

Two initial signers

Two Initial Signers

Connecting to a Clique network

To connect to the Rinkeby testnet, start Besu with the --network=rinkeby command line option. To start a node on a Clique private network, use the --genesis-file option to specify the custom genesis file.

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