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Aug 20, 2019



Kadena Public Blockchain

Kadena is a fast, secure, and scalable blockchain using the Chainweb consensus protocol. Chainweb is a braided, parallelized Proof Of Work consensus mechanism that improves throughput and scalability in executing transactions on the blockchain while maintaining the security and integrity found in Bitcoin.

Read our whitepapers:

For additional information, press, and development inquires, please refer to the Kadena website

Table of Contents


The Kadena Docs site, which can be found here serves as a source of information about Kadena. You can find information about how to interact with the public chain, including how to get keys, view network activity, explore blocks, etc. here.

If you have additions or comments, please submit a pull request or raise an issue - the GitHub project can be found here

Installing Chainweb

Installing dependencies

If you are using a docker image, you can ignore the reset of this sub-section.

Apt-based Linux distributions

If you are on Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS or any other Apt-based distribution, you will need to install rocksdb with the following command:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y librocksdb-dev zlib1g-dev libtinfo-dev libsqlite3-dev libz3-dev

If this is not available, then please view the Rocksdb site for alternative modes of installation.

Other Linux distributions

For all other distributions not using Apt (RHEL, Gentoo, Arch, etc), please consult your distro's repositories for librocksdb5.8, tinfo, zlib and install with its preferred package manager, or follow the alternative modes of installation described in Rocksdb.


Using the brew package manager, issue the following commands to install Chainweb's dependencies

brew update
brew install sqlite
brew install rocksdb

Installing Chainweb-node

Minimal recommended hardware requirements for nodes are:

  • 2 CPU cores
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 100 GB SSD or fast HDD
  • Public IP address

If the node is also used as API server for Pact or mining, rosetta, chainweb-data: 4 CPU cores and 8GB of RAM.

Chainweb-node binaries for ubuntu-16.04, ubuntu-18.04 can be found here.

Download the archive for your system and extract the binaries and place them into a directory from where they can be executed.

At this point, you are ready to run a Chainweb node


A docker image is available from here and can be used with the following commands:

# Initialize the database (optional, but avoids several hours of initial db synchronization)
docker run -ti --rm -v chainweb-db:/root/.local/share/chainweb-node/mainnet01/0/ kadena/chainweb-node /chainweb/
# Run a chainweb-node in Kadena's mainnet
docker run -d -p 443:443 -v chainweb-db:target=/root/.local/share/chainweb-node/mainnet01/0/ kadena/chainweb-node

Further details can be found in the README of the docker repository.

Building from Source

IMPORTANT NODE: We recommend the use of officially released chainweb-node binaries or docker images, which can be found in the release section of this repository. If you decide to build your own binaries, please make sure to only use officially released and tagged versions of the code. Those versions are extensively tested to ensure that they are compatible with all other nodes in the chainweb network. It is generally not safe to run arbitrary builds of the master branch in the Kadena mainnet.

Chainweb is a Haskell project. After cloning the code with git from this GitHub repository the chainweb-node application can be built as follows.

Building with Cabal

In order to build with cabal you have to install ghc-8.10.7 (Haskell compiler) and cabal >= 3.0 (Haskell build-tool)

You may also need to install zlib, openssl, rocksdb, and sqlite.

To build a chainweb-node binary:

# Only necessary if you haven't done this recently.
cabal update

# Build the project.
cabal build

To install a runnable binary to ~/.cabal/bin/:

cabal install

Building with Nix

Another way to build and run chainweb is to use the Nix package manager which has binary caching capabilities that allow you to download pre-built binaries for everything needed by Chainweb. For detailed instructions see our wiki.

When the build is finished, you can run chainweb with the following command:


Bootstrap Nodes

Bootstrap nodes are used by chainweb-nodes on startup in order to discover other nodes in the network. At least one of the bootstrap nodes must be trusted.

Chainweb node operators can configure additional bootstrap nodes by using the --known-peer-info command line option or in a configuration file. It is also possible to ignore the builtin bootstrap nodes by using the --enable-ignore-bootstrap-nodes option or the respective configuration file setting.

Bootstrap nodes must have public DNS names and a corresponding TLS certificate that is issued by a widely accepted CA (a minimum requirement is acceptance by the OpenSSL library).

Operators of bootstrap nodes are expected be committed to guarantee long-term availability of the nodes. The list of builtin bootstrap nodes should be kept up-to-date and concise for each chainweb-node release.

If you like to have your node included as a bootstrap node please make a pull request that adds your node to P2P.BootstrapNodes module.

Current Testnet Bootstrap Nodes


Current Mainnet Bootstrap Nodes

All bootstrap nodes are running on port 443.


Configuring, running, and monitoring the health of a Chainweb Node

This section assumes you've installed the chainweb-node binary somewhere sensible, or otherwise have a simple way to refer to it. For running chainweb-node via docker, please see the instruction above in this document or visit our docker repository.

Note: Your needs to be reachable from the public internet. You will have to perform Port Forwarding if your machine is behind a router (by default port 1789 is used by the node).

NOTE: When you start chainweb-node for the first time it creates a new empty database and start to synchronize and catch up with other nodes in the Kadena network. This process takes a long time -- several days. It is much faster (depending on hardware one to a few hours) to just synchronize the chain database or get a snapshot of it and only rebuild the pact databases from the chain-database. Please, consult the documentation of the docker images for chainweb-node about details how to obtain an initial chain database.

Run your node:


The node will communicate with other nodes in a P2P network. By default it uses port 1789 for the P2P communication.

Node services are exposed via the service API, by default on port 1848. The service API includes /info, /health-check, Pact endpoints, Rosetta endpoints, the mining API endpoints, GET endpoints for on-chain data (headers, payloads, cuts), and an HTTP event stream of block header updates. Some of these are disabled by default (e.g. mining API, Rosetta, and header updates).

While the P2P endpoint must be directly available from the public internet, it is highly recommended to expose the service API only on a private network. When service API endpoints are made available publicly it is recommended to use a reverse proxy setup things like rate limiting, authentication, and CORS.


No particular configuration is needed for running Chainweb node on the Kadena mainnet.

Use chainweb-node --help to show a help message that includes a brief description of all available command line options.

A complete configuration file with the default settings can be created with

chainweb-node --print-config > config.yaml

This file can then be edited in order to change configuration values.

Given a configuration file or a set of command line options it is possible to print out only those configuration values that are different from their respective default:

chainweb-node --config-file=config.yaml --some-command-line-options --print-config-as=minimal

Monitoring the health of a Chainweb Node

The following outlines how you can check that your chainweb-node is healthy

chainweb-node should be running from the public IP address and a port that is open to the other Chainweb nodes.

If you're behind a NAT, it is VERY IMPORTANT that your network allows external nodes to connect to the node you are running.

$ chainweb-node --log-level <desired-log-level>

For production scenarios we recommend that you use log-level warn or error. For trouble shooting or improved monitoring you can also use info.

Once your node is running, go through the following checks to verify that you have a healthy node:

  • run the command in your terminal:
$ curl -sk "https://<public-ip>:<port>/chainweb/0.0/mainnet01/cut"

Usually, when a node is receiving and publishing cuts (i.e. block heights at every chain), it's working correctly.

The /cut endpoint will return the latest cut that your node has. It's possible that your node is falling behind, so make sure to compare its cut height with the cut heights of the bootstrap nodes. It's also possible that you are mining to a node that is catching up to the rest of the network. Before you start mining to a node, you SHOULD verify that this node has the most up-to-date cut.

You can get the cut height of any node by running the following:

$ curl -sk https://<bootstrap-node-url>/chainweb/0.0/mainnet01/cut | jq '.height'

Mine for a Chainweb Network

Detailed mining instructions can be found in the documentation of chainweb-mining-client

Chainweb Design

Component Structure

The Chainweb package contains the following buildable components:

  • chainweb library: It provides the implementation for the different components of a chainweb-node.

  • chainweb-node: An application that runs a Chainweb node. It maintains copies of a number of chains from a given Chainweb instance. It provides interfaces (command-line and RPC) for directly interacting with the Chainweb or for implementing applications such as miners and transaction management tools.

  • chainweb-tests: A test suite for the Chainweb library and chainweb-node.

  • cwtool: A collection of tools that are helpful for maintaining, testing, and debugging Chainweb.

  • bench: a collection of benchmarks

Architecture Overview

Architecture Overview