Authentication plugin for feathers-authentication using passportjs PublicKey strategy.
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Public Key authentication strategy for feathers-authentication using Passport without all the boilerplate.

The Public Key used in this repo is a Ethereum public key. The encryption and signature verification are done using web3 and ethereumjs-util. You can of course use any Public Key and signature verification algorithm want (see Customizing the Verifier).


npm install feathers-authentication-publickey --save

Note: This is only compatibile with feathers-authentication@1.x and above.



This module contains 2 core pieces:

  1. The main entry function
  2. The Verifier class

Main Initialization

In most cases initializing the feathers-authentication-publickey module is as simple as doing this:


This will pull from your global auth object in your config file. It will also mix in the following defaults, which can be customized.

Default Options

    name: 'publicKey', // the name to use when invoking the authentication Strategy
    entity: 'user', // the entity that you're comparing username/password against
    service: 'users', // the service to look up the entity
    in: 'body', // does the data lie in req.body or req.headers?
    findBy: 'id', // field to uniquely find the user in the database. This field should be present in the request
    publicKeyField: 'publicKey', // Field in the entity model for publicKey
    nonceField: 'nonce', // Field in the entity model for nonce
    session: false // whether to use sessions
    passReqToCallback: true, // whether the request object should be passed to `verify`
    Verifier: Verifier // A Verifier class. Defaults to the built-in one but can be a custom one. See below for details.


This is the verification class that does the signature verification by looking up the entity (normally a user) on a given service by the findBy and compares public address.

It now uses Ethereum public key, and the ecrecover tool from ethereumjs-util to verify the signature.

It has the following methods that can all be overridden. All methods return a promise except verify, which has the exact same signature as passport-publickey.

    constructor(app, options) // the class constructor
    _verifySignature(entity, signature) // verifies signature using ecrecover
    _normalizeResult(result) // normalizes result from service to account for pagination
    verify(req, findByValue, signature, done) // queries the service and calls the other internal functions.

Customizing the Verifier

The Verifier class can be extended so that you customize it's behavior without having to rewrite and test a totally custom publickey Passport implementation. Although that is always an option if you don't want use this plugin.

An example of customizing the Verifier:

import publickey, { Verifier } from 'feathers-authentication-publickey';

class CustomVerifier extends Verifier {
  // The verify function has the exact same inputs and 
  // return values as a vanilla passport strategy
  verify(req, username, password, done) {
    // do your custom stuff. You can call internal Verifier methods
    // and reference and this.options. This method must be implemented.

    // the 'user' variable can be any truthy value
    done(null, user);

app.configure(publickey({ Verifier: CustomVerifier }));

Expected Request Data

By default, this strategy expects a payload in this format (if findBy has been set to 'email'). Replace 'email' by the value of findBy.

  strategy: 'publicKey',
  email: '<email>', // or nonce: '<nonce>', or some other field defined by findBy
  signature: '<long_token>'

Complete Example

Here's a basic example of a Feathers server that uses feathers-authentication-publickey. You can see a fully working example in the example/ directory.

const feathers = require('feathers');
const rest = require('feathers-rest');
const socketio = require('feathers-socketio');
const hooks = require('feathers-hooks');
const memory = require('feathers-memory');
const bodyParser = require('body-parser');
const errorHandler = require('feathers-errors/handler');
const auth = require('feathers-authentication');
const jwt = require('feathers-authentication-jwt');
const publicKey = require('feathers-authentication-publickey');

// Initialize the application
const app = feathers();

  // Needed for parsing bodies (login)
  .use(bodyParser.urlencoded({ extended: true }))
  // Configure feathers-authentication
  .configure(auth({ secret: 'super secret' }))
    findBy: 'email', // Replace here what you want to find the user by. This field must be in the request body
    in: 'body'
  .use('/users', memory())


console.log('Feathers app started on');


Copyright (c) 2016

Licensed under the MIT license.