Skip to main content

Generating a Key Pair

Two different key pairs are relevant to node operators:

  • Wallet keypairs you generate with the steps provided here
  • libp2p keypairs that are gossip network identities

To use Mina on Mainnet or to fully participate in a Mina test network, the first step is to generate a wallet key pair that consists of a public key and a private key.

In some cases, you want to generate more than one wallet key pair. For example, to run a block producer most securely, it is advisable to have accounts on both hot and cold wallets. See Hot and Cold Block Production.

The supported tools for generating public/private key pairs are:

Always give out your public keys. Mina will never ask you for your private keys. Be sure that your private keys are stored safely.


Never give out your private key.

If you lose your private key or if a malicious actor gains access to your private key, you will lose access to your account and lose your account funds.

Command line utility

The mina-generate-keypair command line utility is the simplest method to create a public/private key pair.

Installation on Ubuntu and Debian

  1. Set up the Debian stable repository and install the latest binary version for Ubuntu and Debian.

  2. Install the mina-generate-keypair utility:

    echo "deb [trusted=yes] $(lsb_release -cs) stable" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mina.list
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install mina-generate-keypair=1.4.0-c980ba8
  3. Verify that the key generation tool installed correctly:

    mina-generate-keypair -version

    The expected output is:

    Commit c980ba87c3417f40a7081225dfe7478c5ee70fd7 on branch master

macOS, Windows, and platforms other than Ubuntu and Debian

Install Docker. Follow the Docker-based instructions to generate key pairs.

Using mina-generate-keypair

  1. Create a folder on your system where you can store the key files. By convention, the ~/keys folder:

    mkdir ~/keys
  2. Ensure the permissions are set properly for this folder to prevent unwanted processes from accessing these files:

    chmod 700 ~/keys

Generate your keys for Ubuntu and Debian.


Make sure to set a new and secure password for the following commands. Mina will never ask you for this password. Do not share this password with anyone.

  1. Run the mina-generate-keypair command:

    mina-generate-keypair --privkey-path ~/keys/my-wallet
  2. When prompted, type in the password you intend to use to secure this key. Do NOT forget this password. If already set, the tool uses the password from the MINA_PRIVKEY_PASS environment variable instead of prompting you.

Generate keys on Docker for Windows, macOS, and Linux

  1. Use the minaprotocol/generate-keypair Docker image:

    cd ~
    docker run --interactive --tty --rm --volume $(pwd)/keys:/keys minaprotocol/mina-generate-keypair:1.3.1-3e3abec --privkey-path /keys/my-wallet
  2. When prompted, type in the password you intend to use to secure this key. Do NOT forget this password.

    Two files are created for your public/private key pair:

    • ~/keys/my-wallet: the encrypted private key
    • ~/keys/ the public key in plain text
  3. Finally, ensure the permissions are set properly for the private key file to prevent unwanted processes from accessing it.

    chmod 600 $(pwd)/keys/my-wallet

Be sure to store the private key file and password you used in a secure place, such as a password manager.

Validate your private key

Now that you've created your key, validate that it works. It's sufficient to use the mina-validate-keypair tool to verify that you can sign a transaction.

On Linux:

mina-validate-keypair --privkey-path <path-to-the-private-key-file>

On Docker:

docker run --interactive --tty --rm --entrypoint=mina-validate-keypair --volume $(pwd)/keys:/keys minaprotocol/mina-generate-keypair:1.3.1-3e3abec --privkey-path /keys/my-wallet

Ledger Hardware Wallet

You can use your Ledger Nano S hardware wallet to securely store your Mina private keys. To get started, install the Mina app on the Ledger Hardware Wallet.

Mina Signer

You can also use Mina Signer to generate key pairs and sign transactions.

Next steps

Now that you have created a public/private key pair, you are ready to connect to the network or share your public key.