Introduction to Canton

Canton is a Daml ledger interoperability protocol. Parties which are hosted on different participant nodes can transact using smart-contracts written in Daml and the Canton protocol. The Canton protocol allows to connect different Daml ledgers into a single virtual global ledger. Daml, as the smart contract language, defines who is entitled to see and who is authorized to change any given contract. The Canton synchronization protocol enforces these visibility and authorization rules, and ensures that the data is shared reliably with very high levels of privacy, even in the presence of malicious actors. The Canton network can be extended without friction with new parties, ledgers, and applications building on other applications. Extensions require neither a central managing entity nor consensus within the global network.

Canton faithfully implements the authorization and privacy requirements set out by Daml for its transactions.


Parties are hosted on participant nodes. Applications connect as parties to their participant node using the Ledger API. The participant node runs the Daml interpreter for the locally installed Daml smart contract code and stores the smart contracts in the private contract store (PCS). The participants connect to domains and synchronise their state with other participants by exchanging Canton protocol messages with other participants leveraging the domain services. The use of the Canton protocol creates a virtual global ledger.

Canton is written in Scala and runs as a Java process against a database (currently H2 and Postgres). Canton is easy to set up, easy to develop on and is easy to operate safe and securely.