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Date of last update: September 20, 2022

Prepare for The Merge

If you’re running one or more beacon nodes with Besu on Ethereum Mainnet, prepare for The Merge by configuring Besu as an execution client and staying up to date on Besu releases.

If you’re using Besu with Teku as the consensus client, prepare Teku for the Merge.

You can also run Besu with Teku on the Merge testnet.

Configure Besu as an execution client

Before The Merge, validators require an execution client to get deposits for block proposals. Block proposals are intermittent, and a validator can get the data from other blocks if its execution client is offline.

After The Merge, execution clients will play a more crucial role in producing blocks and executing transactions. Service providers that provide execution layer access but don’t produce blocks, such as Infura, won’t be adequate for a beacon node to continue to function on the network.

You must configure an execution client for each beacon node you maintain. Configure Besu as an execution client using the following steps. You can use Besu with any consensus client.

1. Configure the Engine API

The beacon node and Besu communicate using the Engine API. Configure the Engine API by setting engine-rpc-port in the Besu configuration file.

Specify the Besu Engine API endpoint in the consensus client using the consensus client’s configuration options. For example, if you use Teku as the consensus client, you can specify the endpoint using ee-endpoint in the Teku configuration file.

2. Configure the JSON Web Token

JSON Web Token (JWT) authentication is used to secure the Engine API. You can generate a key for signing JWTs using a command line tool, for example:

openssl rand -hex 32 -out <file>

Provide the signing key to Besu using the engine-jwt-secret configuration option, and to the consensus client using its configuration options. For example, provide the key to Teku using the ee-jwt-secret-file option.

If you don’t provide a key to Besu, Besu will automatically generate a new key called jwt.hex and store it in the configured data directory.

This key is used by the consensus client to sign JWT tokens it generates to authenticate to the Engine API. Besu uses the same key to validate the token presented.

3. Sync Besu

Validators can’t produce attestations or blocks without a fully synced execution endpoint. To expedite network participation, sync Besu on Ethereum Mainnet before the Merge configuration (Bellatrix) comes online.

Caution

If you restart your node before snap or checkpoint sync completes, syncing restarts from scratch.

Update Besu

Once Bellatrix is scheduled for activation on Mainnet, Besu will be released with updated configuration for Mainnet. Ensure your Besu node and consensus client are up to date before Bellatrix is enabled.

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