I have a local node with validators Alice and Bob. I've created a node key using this command

subkey generate-node-key --file ./.keys/node-key

Can I use the node key with --validator? Because I saw an example creating a node with only node key and validators connecting that node. What is the correct way of doing this?

2 Answers 2


Yes you can use the --validator flag and the --node-key or --node-key-file at the same time. Keep in mind that the --node-key will have precedence over the other one.

Note if you are using the --alice or --bob flags, the --validator flag is not required.

Additionally, you can also use the node itself to generate the same identity instead of using subkey like:

./target/release/node-template key generate-node-key

# Local Identity
# Node Key

or save it to a file:

./target/release/node-template key generate-node-key --file ./.keys/node-key

Then, you can run the node like:

# Using the node key directly (only for dev)
./target/release/node-template --validator --node-key 86e77fbcc353717cd95cb8861f6763b250384af1289bd45f24b0a477f620fc5b


# Using the file
./target/release/node-template --validator --node-key-file ./.keys/node-key

And when the node is running, you'll see that the node identity is the same as the one generated by the node or subkey

2022-08-28 17:21:09 🏷  Local node identity is: 12D3KooWJHhnF64TXSmyxNkhPkXAHtYNRy86LuvGQu1LTi5vrJCL    

The node key is the identity of your node.

When you boot the node, you will get that too.

It will be stored at <DATA-DIR>/chains/<CHAIN>/network/secret_ed25519.

There are many ways to use it.

  1. put it in that folder
  2. replace the existing file's content
  3. ./node --node-key-file /path-to-the-node-key

Just a note here.

I generally don't generate the node key from the subkey.

You just need to run `./node --node-key-file a'.

If the a does not exist, the node will automatically create an a node key file.

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