This feature is only available in Canton Enterprise

Ethereum Domain


The Canton Enterprise Ethereum Sequencer integration interacts via an Ethereum client with a smart contract Sequencer.sol deployed on an external Ethereum network. It uses the blockchain as source-of-truth for sequenced events and is currently tested with the Ethereum client Hyperledger Besu. The architecture document contains more details on the architecture of the integration.

The Ethereum Demo


To run the demo Canton Ethereum deployment, you will need access to a Canton Enterprise release, the Canton Enterprise docker repository, as well as having docker, docker-compose, and Hyperledger Besu (instructions here) installed.


The demo Ethereum deployment can be found inside the examples directory of the Canton Enterprise release. Unpack the Canton Enterprise release and then cd into examples/e03-ethereum-sequencer.

The script ./ from the folder examples will create a new Besu testnet for the demo deployment and then start the demo. It has two scenarios: a simple and an advanced scenario. Both scenarios will start several dockerised services:

  • An ethereum testnet, using four Besu nodes with the IBFT consensus protocol. This is the same for the simple and advanced scenario.
  • An instance of Canton. This includes two Participants and a Canton Enterprise Domain with one Ethereum sequencer for the simple scenario and two Ethereum sequencers for the advanced scenario. The respective Canton configurations are in canton-conf/simple and canton-conf/advanced.

The environment variable CANTON_VERSION is used to select the version of Canton to use for the demo deployment. This should normally be set to the version of the Canton Enterprise release being used, but can alternatively be set to a different version or dev for the latest main build of Canton.

Simple Scenario

The simple scenario uses one Canton sequencer whose corresponding Sequencer.sol contract is automatically deployed on startup. It uses mutual TLS between Canton and Besu but doesn’t enable authorization.

Advanced Scenario

The advanced scenario uses two Canton sequencers, mutual TLS, Ethereum wallets, enables authorization and uses deploy_sequencer_contract for Sequencer.sol deployment. In particular, it demonstrates how

  • deploy_sequencer_contract can be orchestrated to automatically deploy a Sequencer.sol instance and configure both sequencers to interact with the Sequencer.sol instance when automatic deployment can’t be used.
  • authorize_ledger_identity, along with use of Ethereum wallets, can be orchestrated to allow another sequencer to interact with a Sequencer.sol instance when it has authorization enabled.

Running a scenario

To start the simple or advanced demo scenario run:

<<canton-release>>/examples/e03-ethereum-sequencer$ CANTON_VERSION=<your version> ./ simple


<<canton-release>>/examples/e03-ethereum-sequencer$ CANTON_VERSION=<your version> ./ advanced

A new Besu testnet will be created and the demo will begin running with the created testnet. Once the demo is initialized and running, it will print out

Successfully initialized Canton-on-Ethereum

You will then be able to interact with the two participants via their ledger APIs (or their admin APIs) respectively running on ports 5011 and 5021 (or 5012 and 5022).

For example, you can start an instance of the Canton console to connect to the two remote participants. You can find the Canton binary in bin/canton of the Canton Enterprise release artifact.

<<canton-release>>/examples/e03-ethereum-sequencer$ ../../bin/canton -c canton-conf/remote.conf

You can then perform various commands in the Canton console:

res5: ParticipantId = ParticipantId(
  UniqueIdentifier(Identifier("participant1"), Namespace(Fingerprint("01e69a39e2c821fc98eaeb22994b47084162122a01ebcb16dfb2514ccafcedd43d")))

res6: ParticipantId = ParticipantId(
  UniqueIdentifier(Identifier("participant2"), Namespace(Fingerprint("014aeb29dddff83678bc6f1194c363c6f0d18d3a6c9655927a7fb5adc84ec0532c")))

res7: Seq[(com.digitalasset.canton.DomainAlias, com.digitalasset.canton.DomainId)] = List(
  (Domain 'mydomain', mydomain::01537eb8...)

res8: concurrent.duration.Duration = 968 milliseconds

To shutdown and remove all Docker containers, you can execute

<<canton-release>>/examples/e03-ethereum-sequencer$ ./

Generating a Clean Testnet

The directory examples/e03-ethereum-sequencer/ibft-testnet contains the script This automatically generates a clean Besu network in a testnet directory, including new randomized private keys. is automatically called by but you may want to understand and edit it to create your own custom Besu deployment.

When is run:

  • The state from any previous runs of is deleted and a new directory testnet is created.
  • A genesis file, a set of keys for four Besu nodes and TLS certificates for Canton and Besu are automatically generated. These can be found in the folders testnet/nodei (where i has values 1 to 4) and testnet/tls. respectively.
  • The four Besu nodes are started via calling

If the script finds Besu keys or TLS certificates in the same directory as the script, it will attempt to reuse them. This significantly reduces startup time if you want to test different network configurations.

The generated Besu testnet has been configured largely following these tutorials:

Note that the RPC HTTP APIs ETH and TXPOOL of Besu need to be enabled when using the Besu driver.

Customization of the Besu network

The parameters of the generated testnet can be changed by modifying the genesis.json file defined inline in Similarly, the CLI options with which the Besu nodes are started can be configured by modifying

Customization of the Demo Configuration

You can also modify the Canton configurations and bootstrap scripts for the demo if, for example, you want to add persistence to the participants. The Canton configurations are found in

  • canton-conf/simple and
  • canton-conf/advanced

for the simple and advanced scenarios, respectively. If you want to change Ethereum-specific configuration options, (e.g. to configure a different wallet) please refer to the documentation section on this page and the corresponding scaladoc configuration option.

Note that if you change port mappings in the Canton config file you may also need to update the corresponding docker compose files in directory docker-compose/.

Error codes

The Ethereum Sequencer application auto-detects many common configuration and deployment issues and logs them as warnings or errors with error codes. If you see such a warning or error, please refer to the respective error code explanation and resolution.

TLS configuration

Canton supports mutual TLS between Canton and Ethereum client nodes and the demo contains an example of how to configure this. Concretely, the TLS configuration for Canton expects a key store and the path to the Ethereum TLS certificates:

_tls {
  canton-key-store {
  ethereum-certificate-path = "/canton/testnet-working/tls/besu_cert.pem"

canton.sequencers.ethereumSequencer1.sequencer.config.tls = ${_tls}

The demo also contains the utility script ibft-testnet/ which is called by and writes the TLS certificates to ibft-testnet/testnet/tls. These certificates are then used by

If Canton is not configured to use TLS with an Ethereum node, it will attempt to communicate via a HTTP endpoint on the Ethereum node (and HTTPS for TLS).

For more details on the Canton configuration, please see the scaladocs of the TLS configuration. For more details on how to configure Besu to accept TLS connections (as done in the demo, see especially file, please see the Besu documentation.

Ethereum accounts and wallets

Canton allows you to configure an Ethereum wallet (and therefore an Ethereum account) to be used by an Ethereum sequencer application. The configured Ethereum account is used for all interactions of the Ethereum sequencer with the Ethereum blockchain. If no Ethereum account is explicitly configured, a random Ethereum account is used.


When multiple Ethereum sequencer applications interact with the same Sequencer.sol instance, each Ethereum Sequencer process needs to use a separate Ethereum account. Otherwise, transactions may get stuck due to nonce mismatches.

Canton allows configuring a wallet in UTC JSON and BIP 39 format.

The Ethereum demo includes examples of mix-in wallet configuration files for both formats; the UTC JSON-based wallet mix-in looks as follows:

canton.sequencers.ethereumSequencer2.sequencer.config.wallet {
  type = "utc-json-wallet"
  password = "password"
  wallet-path = "advanced/utc-wallet.json"

with following utc-wallet.json:

canton.sequencers.ethereumSequencer2.sequencer.config.wallet {
  type = "utc-json-wallet"
  password = "password"
  wallet-path = "advanced/utc-wallet.json"

The BIP39-based wallet mix-in looks as follows:

canton.sequencers.ethereumSequencer2.sequencer.config.wallet {
  type = "utc-json-wallet"
  password = "password"
  wallet-path = "advanced/utc-wallet.json"

For more details, please refer to the Canton scaladoc documentation.

Deployment of the sequencer contract

Single sequencer

When using a single sequencer, the easiest way to deploy the corresponding sequencer is by configuring automatic deployment:

contract {
  type = "automatic-deployment",

This will deploy the Sequencer.sol smart contract during initialization of the sequencer.

Multiple sequencers

When deploying multiple Ethereum sequencers for a single domain, it is currently not possible to use automatic deployment because each sequencer would deploy a separate smart contract. Instead you should first manually deploy Sequencer.sol or use the console command deploy_sequencer_contract and then start the sequencers with all sequencers pointing to the same smart contract. The Ethereum demo illustrates how to do the latter in file docker-compose/docker-compose-advanced.yaml.

Manual deployment

If you want to manually deploy Sequencer.sol to your Ethereum network, the file <<canton-release/examples/e03-ethereum-sequencer/ibft-testnet/sequencer-binary contains the compiled Solidity code you need to deploy. For Besu, for example, you will need to specify the contents of sequencer-binary in "code": "..." as documented here. However, we recommend deploying Sequencer.sol using automatic deployment or using deploy_sequencer_contract so you can deploy Sequencer.sol without needing to restart the blockchain network.



Authorization is an early-access feature and may still significantly change in future releases.

The Ethereum integration offers a simple, optional on-chain authorization mechanism: inside Sequencer.sol a “whitelist” of authorized accounts is maintained. If an Ethereum account is authorized (i.e. part of the list of authorized accounts), it can authorize other Ethereum accounts and call functions of Sequencer.sol. If an Ethereum account isn’t authorized, any interaction with Sequencer.sol, except the check whether it is authorized, will fail. Initially, only the Ethereum account which deployed Sequencer.sol is authorized.

Authorization is enabled or disabled by setting authorizationEnabled in the configuration to true or false:

          authorization-enabled = "false"
          //          ethereum-manual-entry-begin: AutomaticDeployment
          contract {
            type = "automatic-deployment",
          //  ethereum-manual-entry-end: AutomaticDeployment
          tls {
              canton-key-store {
                path = "./enterprise/app/src/pack/examples/e03-ethereum-sequencer/ibft-testnet/testnet/tls/canton_store.p12"
                password = "password"
              ethereum-certificate-path = "./enterprise/app/src/pack/examples/e03-ethereum-sequencer/ibft-testnet/testnet/tls/besu_cert.pem"

To authorize another Ethereum account, you can use the console command sequencer.authorize_ledger_identity from a Sequencer that is already authorized. Please refer to canton-conf/advanced/ping.canton for an example use of sequencer.authorize_ledger_identity.


If access to all authorized Ethereum accounts for a Sequencer.sol contract instance with authorization enabled is lost, then access to this Sequencer.sol contract instance is lost. Recovery from this state is only possible, if access to one of the authorized Ethereum accounts is restored.

Requirements for the Ethereum Network

The Canton Ethereum integration is currently tested with the IBFT 2.0 consensus protocol as illustrated in the demo. Other setups are possible, but they should fulfill the following requirements:

  • The Ethereum client Hyperledger Besu should be used and expose the RPC
  • Currently, a free gas network is required. This means setting the gas price to zero.
  • The block size limit (often measured in gas, and sometimes referred to as the ‘gas limit’) must be larger than any message to be sequenced. It is recommended to set this parameter as high as possible.
  • The contract size limit must be big enough for the Canton Ethereum Domain to store all required state for sequencing messages. It is recommended to set this parameter as high as possible.
  • Proof of authority protocols are recommended over proof of work.
  • Currently, consensus protocols must have immediate finality. This means that ledger forks should not occur with the chosen consensus protocol.

Furthermore, we also have some suggestions to improve throughput and latency irrespective of the choice of Ethereum client.


Generally, the throughput of a Canton system using Ethereum-based sequencers is limited by the throughput of the Ethereum client. Thus, if an Ethereum-based sequencer does not deliver the desired throughput, the throughput and deployment of the Ethereum clients should be optimized in the first instance. For Besu performance optimization, some recommendations can be found in the Besu documentation - in particular, it is crucial to use a fast storage media.


Within a Canton transaction, there are three sequential sequencing steps, that is, a single Canton transaction leads to at least three sequential messages sent to the sequencer. This is illustrated, e.g., in the message sequence diagram of the Canton 101 section. As a result, a Canton transaction also leads to at least three Ethereum transactions within three different blocks. Thus, to achieve relatively low latencies, the Ethereum network networks must be configured with a frequent block mining frequency (configured via blockperiodseconds in Besu) and ideally co-located with the Canton sequencer node. A block mining frequency of at least one block per second is recommended.

Trust Properties of the Ethereum Sequencer Integration

The demo integration uses two participants and two different Ethereum Sequencer nodes. Each participant chooses its preferred Ethereum Sequencer node, and this node performs reads and writes on behalf of the participant. Therefore, each participant must trust its chosen Ethereum Sequencer node. Additionally, each participant must trust some proportion of the nodes in the Ethereum network as determined by the consensus protocol.

High Availability

The Ethereum sequencer currently supports connecting to just one Ethereum client node. If this node is down or cannot be reached the sequencer is declared unhealthy. The sequencer also considers itself unhealthy if it loses connection to its database.

Clients will benefit from higher availability if they connect to multiple Ethereum Sequencers, since they will fail over to healthy sequencers as some of them become unhealthy.