Identity Management

On-ledger identity management focuses on the distributed aspect of identities across Canton system entities, while user identity management focuses on individual participants managing access of their users to their ledger APIs.

Canton comes with a built in identity management system used to manage on-ledger identities. The technical details are explained in the architecture section, while this write up here is meant to give a high level explanation.

The identity management system is self-contained and built without a trusted central entity or pre-defined root certificate such that anyone can connect with anyone, without the need of some central approval and without the danger of losing self-sovereignty.


What is a Canton Identity?

When two system entities such as a participant, domain topology manager, mediator or sequencer communicate with each other, they will use asymmetric cryptography to encrypt messages and sign message contents such that only the recipient can decrypt the content, verify the authenticity of the message, or prove its origin. Therefore, we need a method to uniquely identify the system entities and a way to associate encryption and signing keys with them.

On top of that, Canton uses the contract language Daml, which represents contract ownership and rights through parties. But parties are not primary members of the Canton synchronisation protocol. They are represented by participants and therefore we need to uniquely identify parties and relate them to participants, such that a participant can represent several parties (and in Canton, a party can be represented by several participants).

Unique Identifier

A Canton identity is built out of two components: a random string X and a fingerprint of a public key N. This combination, (X,N), is called a unique identifier and is assumed to be globally unique by design. This unique identifier is used in Canton to refer to particular parties, participants or domain entities. A system entity (such as a party) is described by the combination of role (party, participant, mediator, sequencer, domain topology manager) and its unique identifier.

The system entities require knowledge about the keys which will be used for encryption and signing by the respective other entities. This knowledge is distributed and therefore, the system entities require a way to verify that a certain association of an entity with a key is correct and valid. This is the purpose of the fingerprint of a public key in the unique identifier, which is referred to as Namespace. And the secret key of the corresponding namespace acts as the root of trust for that particular namespace, as explained later.

Topology Transactions

In order to remain flexible and be able to change keys and cryptographic algorithms, we don’t identify the entities using a single static key, but we need a way to dynamically associate participants or domain entities with keys and parties with participants. We do this through topology transactions.

A topology transaction establishes a certain association of a unique identifier with either a key or a relationship with another identifier. There are several different types of topology transactions. The most general one is the OwnerToKeyMapping, which as the name says, associates a key with a unique identifier. Such a topology transaction will inform all other system entities that a certain system entity is using a specific key for a specific purpose, such as participant Alice of namespace 12345.. is using the key identified through the fingerprint AABBCCDDEE.. to sign messages.

Now, this poses two questions: who authorizes these transactions, and who distributes them?

For the authorization, we need to look at the second part of the unique identifier, the Namespace. A topology transaction that refers to a particular unique identifier operates on that namespace and we require that such a topology transaction is authorized by the corresponding secret key through a cryptographic signature of the serialised topology transaction. This authorization can be either direct, if it is signed by the secret key of the namespace, or indirect, if it is signed by a delegated key. In order to delegate the signing right to another key, there are other topology transactions of type NamespaceDelegation or IdentifierDelegation that allow one to do that. A namespace delegation delegates entire namespaces to a certain key, such as saying the key identifier through the fingerprint AABBCCDDEE… is now allowed to authorize topology transactions within the namespace of the key VVWWXXYYZZ…. An identifier delegation delegates authority over a certain identifier to a key, which means that the delegation key can only authorize topology transactions that act on a specific identifier and not the entire namespace.

Now, signing of topology transactions happens in a TopologyManager. Canton has many topology managers. In fact, every participant node and every domain have topology managers with exactly the same functional capabilities, just different impact. They can create new keys, new namespaces and the identity of new participants, parties and even domains. And they can export these topology transactions such that they can be imported at another topology manager. This allows to manage Canton identities in quite a wide range of ways. A participant can operate their own topology manager which allows them individually to manage their parties. Or they can associate themselves with another topology manager and let them manage the parties that they represent or keys they use. Or something in between, depending on the introduced delegations and associations.

The difference between the domain topology manager and the participant topology manager is that the domain topology manager establishes the valid topology state in a particular domain by distributing topology transactions in a way that every domain member ends up with the same topology state. However, the domain topology manager is just a gate keeper of the domain that decides who is let in and who not on that particular domain, but the actual topology statements originate from various sources. As such, the domain topology manager can only block the distribution, but cannot fake topology transactions.

The participant topology manager only manages an isolated topology state. However, there is a dispatcher attached to this particular topology manager that attempts to register locally registered identities with remote domains, by sending them to the domain topology managers, who then decide on whether they want to include them or not.

The careful reader will have noted that the described identity system indeed does not have a single root of trust or decision maker on who is part of the overall system or not. But also that the topology state for the distributed synchronisation varies from domain to domain, allowing very flexible topologies and setups.

Life of a Party

In the tutorials, we use the participant.parties.enable("name") function to setup a party on a participant. To understand the identity management system in Canton, it helps to look at the steps under the hood of how a new party is added:

  1. The participant.parties.enable function determines the unique identifier of the participant:
  2. The party name is built as name::<namespace>, where the namespace is the one of the participant.
  3. A new party to participant mapping is authorized on the Admin Api: participant.topology.party_to_participant_mappings.authorize(...)
  4. The ParticipantTopologyManager gets invoked by the GRPC request, creating a new SignedTopologyTransaction and tests whether the authorization can be added to the local topology state. If it can, the new topology transaction is added to the store.
  5. The ParticipantTopologyDispatcher picks up the new transaction and requests the addition on all domains via the RegisterTopologyTransactionRequest message sent to the topology manager through the sequencer.
  6. A domain receives this request and processes it according to the policy (open or permissioned). The default setting is open.
  7. If approved, the request service attempts to add the new topology transaction to the DomainTopologyManager.
  8. The DomainTopologyManager checks whether the new topology transaction can be added to the domain topology state. If yes, it gets written to the local topology store.
  9. The DomainTopologyDispatcher picks up the new transaction and sends it to all participants (and back to itself) through the sequencer.
  10. The sequencer timestamps the transaction and embeds it into the transaction stream.
  11. The participants receive the transaction, verify the integrity and correctness against the topology state and add it to the state with the timestamp of the sequencer, such that everyone has a synchronous topology state.

Note that the participant.parties.enable macro only works if the participant controls their namespace themselves, either directly by having the namespace key or through delegation (via NamespaceDelegation).

Participant Onboarding

Key to support topological flexibility is that participants can easily be added to new domains. Therefore, the on-boarding of new participants to domains needs to be secure but convenient. Looking at the console command, we note that in most examples, we are using the connect command to connect a participant to a domain. The connect command just wraps a set of admin-api commands:

val certificates = OptionUtil.emptyStringAsNone(certificatesPath).map { path =>
  BinaryFileUtil.readByteStringFromFile(path) match {
    case Left(err) => throw new IllegalArgumentException(s"failed to load ${path}: ${err}")
    case Right(bs) => bs
// register the domain configuration
register(config.copy(manualConnect = true))
if (!config.manualConnect) {
  // fetch and confirm domain agreement
  if (config.sequencerConnections.nonBftSetup) { // agreement is removed with the introduction of BFT domain.
  reconnect(config.domain.unwrap, retry = false).discard
  // now update the domain settings to auto-connect
  modify(config.domain.unwrap, _.copy(manualConnect = false))

We note that from a user perspective, all that needs to happen by default is to provide the connection information and accepting the terms of service (if required by the domain) to set up a new domain connection. There is no separate on-boarding step performed, no giant certificate signing exercise happens, everything is set up during the first connection attempt. However, quite a few steps happen behind the scenes. Therefore, we briefly summarise the process here step by step:

  1. The administrator of an existing participant needs to invoke the domains.register command to add a new domain. The mandatory arguments are a domain alias (used internally to refer to a particular connection) and the sequencer connection URL (http or https) including an optional port http[s]://hostname[:port]/path. Optional are a certificates path for a custom TLS certificate chain (otherwise the default jre root certificates are used) and the domain id of a domain. The domain id is the unique identifier of the domain that can be defined to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks (very similar to an ssh key fingerprint).
  2. The participant opens a GRPC channel to the SequencerConnectService.
  3. The participant contacts the SequencerConnectService and checks if using the domain requires signing specific terms of services. If required, the terms of service are displayed to the user and an approval is locally stored at the participant for later. If approved, the participant attempts to connect to the sequencer.
  4. The participant verifies that the remote domain is running a protocol version compatible with the participant’s version using the SequencerConnectService.handshake. If the participant runs an incompatible protocol version, the connection will fail.
  5. The participant will download and verify the domain id from the domain. The domain id can be used to verify the correct authorization of the topology transactions of the domain entities. If the domain id has been provided previously during the domains.register call (or in a previous session), the two ids will be compared. If they are not equal, the connection will fail. If the domain id was not provided during the domains.register call, the participant will use and store the one downloaded. We assume here that the domain id is obtained by the participant through a secure channel such that it is sure to be talking to the right domain. Therefore, this secure channel can be either something happening outside of Canton or can be provided by TLS during the first time we contact a domain.
  6. The participant downloads the static domain parameters, which are the parameters used for the transaction protocol on the particular domain, such as the cryptographic keys supported on this domain.
  7. The participant connects to the sequencer initially as an unauthenticated member. Such members can only send transactions to the domain topology manager. The participant then sends an initial set of topology transactions required to identify the participant and define the keys used by the participant to the DomainTopologyManagerRequestService. The request service inspects the validity of the transactions and decides based on the configured domain on-boarding policy. The currently supported policies are open (default) and permissioned. While open is convenient for permissionless systems and for development, it will accept any new participant and any topology transaction. The permissioned policy will accept the participant’s onboarding transactions only if the participant has been added to the allow-list beforehand.
  8. The request service forwards the transactions to the domain topology manager, who attempts to add it to the state (and thus trigger the distribution to the other members on a domain). The result of the onboarding request is sent to the unauthenticated member who disconnects upon receiving the response.
  9. If the onboarding request is approved, the participant now attempts to connect to the sequencer as the actual participant.
  10. Once the participant is properly enabled on the domain and its signing key is known, the participant can subscribe to the SequencerService with its identity. In order to do that and in order to verify the authorisation of any action on the SequencerService, the participant requires to obtain an authorization token from the domain. For this purpose, the participant requests a Challenge from the domain. The domain will provide it with a nonce and the fingerprint of the key to be used for authentication. The participant signs this nonce (together with the domain id) using the corresponding private key. The reason for the fingerprint is simple: the participant needs to sign the token using the participants signing key as defined by the domain topology state. However, as the participant will learn the true domain topology state only by reading from the SequencerService, it cannot know what the key is. Therefore, the domain discloses this part of the domain topology state as part of the authorisation challenge.
  11. Using the created authentication token, the participant starts to use the SequencerService. On the domain side, the domain verifies the authenticity and validity of the token by verifying that the token is the expected one and is signed by the participant’s signing key. The token is used to authenticate every GRPC invocation and needs to be renewed regularly.
  12. The participant sets up the ParticipantTopologyDispatcher, which is the process that tries to push all topology transactions created at the participant node’s topology manager to the domain topology manager. If the participant is using its topology manager to manage its identity on its own, these transactions contain all the information about the registered parties or supported packages.
  13. As mentioned above, the first set of messages received by the participant through the sequencer will contain the domain topology state, which includes the signing keys of the domain entities. These messages are signed by the sequencer and topology manager and are self-consistent. If the participants know the domain id, they can verify that they are talking to the expected domain and that the keys of the domain entities have been authorized by the owner of the key governing the domain id.
  14. Once the initial topology transactions have been read, the participant is ready to process transactions and send commands.
  15. When a participant is (re-)enabled, the domain topology dispatcher analyses the set of topology transactions the participant has missed before. It sends these transactions to the participant via the sequencer, before publicly enabling the participant. Therefore, when the participant starts to read messages from the sequencer, the initially received messages will be the topology state of the domain.

Default Initialization

The default initialization behaviour of participant and domain nodes is to run their own topology manager. This provides a convenient, automatic way to configure the nodes and make them usable without manual intervention, but it can be turned off by setting the auto-init = false configuration option before the first startup.

During the auto initialization, the following steps will happen:

  1. On the domain, we generate four signing keys: one for the namespace and one each for the sequencer, mediator and topology manager. On the participant, we generate three keys: a namespace key, a signing key and an encryption key.
  2. Using the fingerprint of the namespace, we generate the participant identity. For understandability, we use the node name used in the configuration file. This will change into a random identifier for privacy reasons. Once we’ve generated it, we set it using the set_id admin-api call.
  3. We create a root certificate as NamespaceDelegation using the namespace key, signing with the namespace key.
  4. Then, we create an OwnerToKeyMapping for the participant or domain entities.

The init.identity object can be set to control the behavior of the auto initialization. For instance, it is possible to control the identifier name that will be given to the node during the initialization. There are 3 possible configurations:

  1. Use the node name as the node identifier
canton.participants.participant1.init.identity.node-identifier.type = config
  1. Explicitly set a name
canton.participants.participant1.init.identity.node-identifier.type = explicit = MyName
  1. Generate a random name
canton.participants.participant1.init.identity.node-identifier.type = random

Identity Setup Guide

As explained, Canton nodes auto-initialise themselves by default, running their own topology managers. This is convenient for development and prototyping. Actual deployments require more care and therefore, this section should serve as a brief guideline.

Canton topology managers have one crucial task they must not fail at: do not lose access to or control of the root of trust (namespace keys). Any other key problem can somehow be recovered by revoking an old key and issuing a new owner to key association. Therefore, it is advisable that participants and parties are associated with a namespace managed by a topology manager that has sufficient operational setups to guarantee the security and integrity of the namespace.

Therefore, a participant or domain can

  1. Run their own topology manager with their identity namespace key as part of the participant node.
  2. Run their own topology manager on a detached computer in a self-built setup that exports topology transactions and transports them to the respective node (i.e. via burned CD roms).
  3. Ask a trusted topology manager to issue a set of identifiers within the trusted topology manager’s namespace as delegations and import the delegations to the local participant topology manager.
  4. Let a trusted topology manager manage all the topology state on-behalf.

Obviously, there are more combinations and options possible, but these options here describe some common options with different security and recoverability options.

In order to reduce the risk of losing namespace keys, additional keys can be created and allowed to operate on a certain namespace. In fact, we recommend doing this and avoid storing the root key on a live node.

User Identity Management

So far we have covered how on-ledger identities are managed.

Every participant also needs to manage access to their local Ledger API and be able to give applications permission to read or write to that API on behalf of parties. While an on-ledger identity is represented as a party, an application on the Ledger API is represented and managed as a user. A ledger API server manages applications’ identities through:

  • authentication: recognizing which user an application corresponds to (essentially by matching an application name with a user name)
  • authorization: knowing which rights an authenticated user has and restricting their Ledger API access according to those rights

Authentication is based on JWT and covered in the application development / authorization section of the manual; the related Ledger API authorization configuration is covered in the Ledger API JWT configuration section.

Authorization is managed by the Ledger API’s User Management Service. In essence, a user is a mapping from a user name to a set of parties with read or write permissions. In more detail a user consists of:

  • a user id (also called user name)
  • an active/deactivated status (can be used to temporarily ban a user from accessing the Ledger API)
  • an optional primary party (indicates which party to use by default when submitting a Ledger API command requests as this user)
  • a set of user rights (describes whether a user has access to the admin portion of the Ledger API and what parties this user can act or read as)
  • a set of custom annotations (string based key-value pairs, stored locally on the Ledger API server, that can be used to attach extra information to this party, e.g. how it relates to some business entity)

All these properties except the user id can be modified. To learn more about annotations refer to the Ledger API Reference documentation . For an overview of the ledger API’s UserManagementService, see this section.

You can manage users through the Canton console user management commands, an alpha feature. See the cookbook below for some concrete examples of how to manage users.


Manage Users

In this section, we present how you can manage participant users using the Canton console commands. First, we create three parties that we’ll use in subsequent examples:

@ val Seq(alice, bob, eve) = Seq("alice", "bob", "eve").map(p => participant1.parties.enable(name = p, waitForDomain = DomainChoice.All))
Seq(alice, bob, eve) : Seq[PartyId] = List(alice::1220b2a9a43f..., bob::1220b2a9a43f..., eve::1220b2a9a43f...)


Next, create a user called myuser with act-as alice and read-as bob permissions and active user status. This user’s primary party is alice. The user is not an administrator and has some custom annotations.

@ val user = participant1.ledger_api.users.create(id = "myuser", actAs = Set(alice), readAs = Set(bob), primaryParty = Some(alice), participantAdmin = false, isActive = true, annotations = Map("foo" -> "bar", "description" -> "This is a description"))
user : User = User(
  id = "myuser",
  primaryParty = Some(value = alice::1220b2a9a43f...),
  isActive = true,
  annotations = Map("foo" -> "bar", "description" -> "This is a description"),
  identityProviderId = ""

There are some restrictions for what constitutes a valid annotation key. In contrast, the only constraint for annotation values is that they must not be empty. To learn more about annotations refer to the Ledger API Reference documentation.


You can update a user’s primary party, active/deactivated status and annotations. (You can also change what rights a user has, but using a different method presented further below.)

In the following snippet, you change the user’s primary party to be unassigned, leave the active/deactivated status intact, and update the annotations. In the annotations, you change the value of the description key, remove the foo key and add the new baz key. The return value contains the updated state of the user:

@ val updatedUser = participant1.ledger_api.users.update(id =, modifier = user => { user.copy(primaryParty = None, annotations = user.annotations.updated("description", "This is a new description").removed("foo").updated("baz", "bar")) })
updatedUser : User = User(
  id = "myuser",
  primaryParty = None,
  isActive = true,
  annotations = Map("baz" -> "bar", "description" -> "This is a new description"),
  identityProviderId = ""

You can also update the user’s identity provider id. In the following snippets, you change the user’s identity provider id to the newly created one. Note that originally the user belonged to the default identity provider whose id is represented as the empty string `""`.

@ participant1.ledger_api.identity_provider_config.create("idp-id1", isDeactivated = false, jwksUrl = "http://someurl", issuer = "issuer1", audience = None)
res4: com.digitalasset.canton.ledger.api.domain.IdentityProviderConfig = IdentityProviderConfig(
  identityProviderId = Id(value = "idp-id1"),
  isDeactivated = false,
  jwksUrl = JwksUrl(value = "http://someurl"),
  issuer = "issuer1",
  audience = None
@ participant1.ledger_api.users.update_idp("myuser", sourceIdentityProviderId="", targetIdentityProviderId="idp-id1")
@ participant1.ledger_api.users.get("myuser", identityProviderId="idp-id1")
res6: User = User(
  id = "myuser",
  primaryParty = None,
  isActive = true,
  annotations = Map("baz" -> "bar", "description" -> "This is a new description"),
  identityProviderId = "idp-id1"

You can change the user’s identity provider id back to the default one:

@ participant1.ledger_api.users.update_idp("myuser", sourceIdentityProviderId="idp-id1", targetIdentityProviderId="")
@ participant1.ledger_api.users.get("myuser", identityProviderId="")
res8: User = User(
  id = "myuser",
  primaryParty = None,
  isActive = true,
  annotations = Map("baz" -> "bar", "description" -> "This is a new description"),
  identityProviderId = ""


You can fetch the current state of the user as follows:

@ participant1.ledger_api.users.get(
res9: User = User(
  id = "myuser",
  primaryParty = None,
  isActive = true,
  annotations = Map("baz" -> "bar", "description" -> "This is a new description"),
  identityProviderId = ""

You can query what rights a user has:

@ participant1.ledger_api.users.rights.list(
res10: UserRights = UserRights(
  actAs = Set(alice::1220b2a9a43f...),
  readAs = Set(bob::1220b2a9a43f...),
  participantAdmin = false,
  identityProviderAdmin = false

You can grant more rights. The returned value contains only newly granted rights; it does not contain rights the user already had even if you attempted to grant them again (like the read-as alice right in this example):

@ participant1.ledger_api.users.rights.grant(id =, actAs = Set(alice, bob), readAs = Set(eve), participantAdmin = true)
res11: UserRights = UserRights(
  actAs = Set(bob::1220b2a9a43f...),
  readAs = Set(eve::1220b2a9a43f...),
  participantAdmin = true,
  identityProviderAdmin = false

You can revoke rights from the user. Again, the returned value contains only rights that were actually removed:

@ participant1.ledger_api.users.rights.revoke(id =, actAs = Set(bob), readAs = Set(alice), participantAdmin = true)
res12: UserRights = UserRights(
  actAs = Set(bob::1220b2a9a43f...),
  readAs = Set(),
  participantAdmin = true,
  identityProviderAdmin = false

Now that you have granted and revoked some rights, you can fetch all of the user’s rights again and see what they are:

@ participant1.ledger_api.users.rights.list(
res13: UserRights = UserRights(
  actAs = Set(alice::1220b2a9a43f...),
  readAs = Set(bob::1220b2a9a43f..., eve::1220b2a9a43f...),
  participantAdmin = false,
  identityProviderAdmin = false

Also, multiple users can be fetched at the same time. In order to do that, first create another user called myotheruser and then list all the users whose user name starts with my:

@ participant1.ledger_api.users.create(id = "myotheruser")
res14: User = User(
  id = "myotheruser",
  primaryParty = None,
  isActive = true,
  annotations = Map(),
  identityProviderId = ""
@ participant1.ledger_api.users.list(filterUser = "my")
res15: UsersPage = UsersPage(
  users = Vector(
      id = "myotheruser",
      primaryParty = None,
      isActive = true,
      annotations = Map(),
      identityProviderId = ""
      id = "myuser",
      primaryParty = None,
      isActive = true,
      annotations = Map("baz" -> "bar", "description" -> "This is a new description"),
      identityProviderId = ""
  nextPageToken = ""


You can delete a user by its id:

@ participant1.ledger_api.users.delete("myotheruser")

You can confirm it has been removed by e.g. listing it:

@ participant1.ledger_api.users.list("myotheruser")
res17: UsersPage = UsersPage(users = Vector(), nextPageToken = "")

If you want to prevent a user from accessing the ledger API it may be better to deactivate it rather than deleting it. A deleted user can be recreated as if it never existed in the first place, while a deactivated user must be explicitly reactivated to be able to access the ledger API again.

@ participant1.ledger_api.users.update("myuser", user => user.copy(isActive = false))
res18: User = User(
  id = "myuser",
  primaryParty = None,
  isActive = false,
  annotations = Map("baz" -> "bar", "description" -> "This is a new description"),
  identityProviderId = ""

Configure a default Participant Admin

Fresh participant nodes come with a default participant admin user called participant_admin, which can be used to bootstrap other users. You might prefer to have an admin user with a different user id ready on a participant startup. For such situations, you can specify an additional participant admin user with the user id of your choice.


If a user with the specified id already exists, then no additional user will be created, even if the preexisting user was not an admin user.

canton.participants.myparticipant.ledger-api.user-management-service.additional-admin-user-id = "my-admin-id"

Adding a new Party to a Participant

The simplest operation is adding a new party to a participant. For this, we add it normally at the topology manager of the participant, which in the default case is part of the participant node. There is a simple macro to enable the party on a given participant if the participant is running their own topology manager:

val name = "Gottlieb"

This will create a new party in the namespace of the participants topology manager.

And there is the corresponding disable macro:


The macros themselves just use topology.party_to_participant_mappings.authorize to create the new party, but add some convenience such as automatically determining the parameters for the authorize call.


Please note that the participant.parties.enable macro will add the parties to the same namespace as the participant is in. It only works if the participant has authority over that namespace either by possessing the root or a delegated key.

Client Controlled Party

Parties are only weakly tied to participant nodes. They can be allocated in their own namespace and then be delegated to a given participant. For simplicity and convenience, the participant creates new parties in its own namespace by default, but there are situations where this is not desired.

A common scenario is that you first host the party on behalf of your client, but subsequently hand over the party to the client’s own node. With the default party allocation, you would still control the party of the client.

To avoid this, you need your client to create a new party on their own and export a party delegation to you. This party delegation can then be imported into your topology state, which will then allow you to act on behalf of the party.

For this process, we use a participant node which won’t be connected to any domain. We don’t need the full node, but just the topology manager. First, we need to find out the participant id of the hosting node:

res1: String = "PAR::participant2::122052cd0ccf52e9731cc936c5d425ce2f155489c17fffee79bcb69421a899ad9b16"

This identifier needs to be communicated to the client and can be imported using ParticipantId.tryFromProtoPrimitive. The client then creates first a new key (they could use the default key created):

@ val secret = client.keys.secret.generate_signing_key("my-party-key")
secret : SigningPublicKey = SigningPublicKey(id = 12202a2758a8..., format = Tink, scheme = Ed25519)

and an appropriate root certificate for this key:

@ val rootCert = client.topology.namespace_delegations.authorize(TopologyChangeOp.Add,secret.fingerprint,secret.fingerprint,isRootDelegation = true)
rootCert : = <ByteString@593d30c5 size=652 contents="\n\211\005\n\267\002\n\262\002\n\257\002\022 tQEfzWWTiQEjmTRigLrl249D2ah2NsF2\032...">

This root certificate needs to be exported into a file:

@ import com.digitalasset.canton.util.BinaryFileUtil
@ BinaryFileUtil.writeByteStringToFile("rootCert.bin", rootCert)

Define the party id of the party you want to create:

@ val partyId = PartyId("Client", secret.fingerprint)
partyId : PartyId = Client::12202a2758a8...

Create and export the party to participant delegation:

@ val partyDelegation = client.topology.party_to_participant_mappings.authorize(TopologyChangeOp.Add, partyId, hostingNodeId, RequestSide.From)
partyDelegation : = <ByteString@363ab5a1 size=557 contents="\n\252\004\n\330\001\n\323\001\n\320\001\022 8FoGwZfgjnMVOWK2ulElZpEa8p62hg3Q2...">
@ BinaryFileUtil.writeByteStringToFile("partyDelegation.bin", partyDelegation)

The client now shares the rootCert.bin and partyDelegation.bin files with the hosting node. The hosting node imports them into their topology state:

@ hosting.topology.load_transaction(BinaryFileUtil.tryReadByteStringFromFile("rootCert.bin"))
@ hosting.topology.load_transaction(BinaryFileUtil.tryReadByteStringFromFile("partyDelegation.bin"))

Finally, the hosting node needs to issue the corresponding topology transaction to enable the party on its node:

@ hosting.topology.party_to_participant_mappings.authorize(TopologyChangeOp.Add, partyId,, RequestSide.To)
res11: = <ByteString@2abe8372 size=557 contents="\n\252\004\n\330\001\n\323\001\n\320\001\022 dFsfF9V9UnxLccGFa6WliYKOry3KGhwa2...">

An alternative method would be to issue an identifier delegation certificate to a key controlled by the hosting node. In this case, the party wouldn’t be delegated to a specific participant. Instead, the unique identifier would be delegated to a specific key, which would then in turn be able to delegate the party to a participant.

Replicate Party to Another Participant Node


Daml Enterprise license required


  • The improved macros are available in Daml Enterprise 2.x as of release 2.8.1.
  • In 2.x, party migration has limitations. Please read the documentation carefully.
  • The macros work with protocol version 4 or later.
  • The involved participants must be entirely quiet during the migration. Therefore, the migration can only happen during a maintenance window of the domain where the rate is set to 0.
  • The target participant must not know about any contract involving the party prior to the migration.

The weak coupling of parties to participants allows you to migrate parties together with their active contract set from one participant node to another. The process described below uses a specific set of commands which have to be executed in the right order with some care.

We assume that there are three participants: The sourceParticipant from which the existing contract set will be copied, a targetParticipant to which the contract set will be copied, and a controllingParticipant that owns the party. In some cases, the controlling participant will be the same as the source participant, but this is not required.


Please note that the entire system needs to be totally quiet for this process to succeed. You currently cannot migrate a party under load on 2.x. If you migrate a party on a system that processes transactions, the processing data will eventually become corrupt, breaking your node. The macros will refuse to run if the system is not idle. Therefore, follow the steps below carefully.

First, turn off transaction processing on the domain by setting the rate to 0 and wait for all timeouts to have elapsed (mediator & participant reaction timeout):

@ mydomain.service.set_max_rate_per_participant(0)

This is necessary as otherwise the contract set might change, or there might be inflight transactions and locked contracts which would confuse the newly onboarded participant.

Assuming there is a party named Alice permissioned on the sourceParticipant, you first download the active contract set of the party:

@ val alice = sourceParticipant.parties.find("Alice")
alice : PartyId = Alice::1220e9525df5...
@ repair.party_migration.step1_store_acs(sourceParticipant, Set(alice), partiesOffboarding = true, "alice.acs.gz")

This will store all the contracts into the file. If the file ends with “.gz”, then the content will be compressed. After transferring the file to the target participant, you first need to disconnect the target participant from the domain, because the repair service cannot run with an active domain connection:


Once disconnected, import the contracts using the next repair macro:

@ repair.party_migration.step2_import_acs(targetParticipant, Set(alice), "alice.acs.gz")

Although this step has imported the contracts, the party is still not enabled on the target participant. For a party to be delegated to a participant, both the owner of the party and the participant need to issue the required topology transactions. If the controlling participant is connected to the domain, you run the next step:

@ repair.party_migration.step3_delegate_party_to_target_node(controllingParticipant, Set(alice), targetParticipantId)

This will issue the party to participant topology transaction of type From. The To transaction must be issued on the targetParticipant, using the fourth step. The participant must be connected to the domain for this step:

@ repair.party_migration.step4_enable_party_on_target(targetParticipant, Set(alice))

After this step, the party is enabled on the target participant and the active contract set has been migrated, but the party is now hosted by both sourceParticipant and targetParticipant.

If you want to remove the party from the source participant, continue with the next step before resetting the domain rate back to its original value. First, unregister the party from the source participant:

@ repair.party_migration.step5_remove_party_delegation_from_source(controllingParticipant, Set(alice), sourceParticipant)

Then, disconnect the source participant from the domain:


Finally, remove the active contracts of Alice from the source participant:

@ repair.party_migration.step6_cleanup_source(sourceParticipant, "alice.acs.gz", Set(alice))

Thereafter, reconnect to the domain and re-enable transaction processing on the domain:

@ mydomain.service.set_max_rate_per_participant(10000)

Party on Multiple Nodes


The below section is used to demonstrate the capabilities of Canton or to be helpful in special setups. Please use the repair macros as explained above to migrate parties between nodes. The below section contains commands that can break your system if used incorrectly.

Assuming we have party ("Alice", N1) which we want to host on two participants: ("participant1", N1) and ("participant2", N2). In this case, we have the party “Alice” in namespace N1, whereas the participant2 is in namespace N2. In order to set this up, we need to appropriately authorize the participants to act on behalf of the party. In this example, we assume that the party is added to both nodes at the same time before any contract is created. If you want to migrate an existing party, follow the guide above.

In order to make sure that there is no contract created by accident which is only observed by one node and not the others, set the domain rate to 0, which will ensure that no contracts can be created on the domain during this maintenance period:

@ mydomain.service.set_max_rate_per_participant(0)

Starting with a party allocated on participant1:

@ val alice = participant1.parties.enable("Alice")
alice : PartyId = Alice::1220bfdba867...

To add this party to participant2, participant2 must first agree to host the party. This is done by authorizing the RequestSide.To of the party to participant mapping on the target participant:

@ participant2.topology.party_to_participant_mappings.authorize(TopologyChangeOp.Add, alice,, RequestSide.To, ParticipantPermission.Submission)
res3: = <ByteString@1587a72b size=556 contents="\n\251\004\n\327\001\n\322\001\n\317\001\022 VoUiVAZHfz2F4b7S7s15ZBWxofgcSfo82...">

The permission of the node can be restricted by setting the appropriate ParticipantPermission in the authorization call to either Observation or Confirmation instead of the default Submission. This allows setups where a party is hosted with Submission permissions on one node and Confirmation on another to increase the liveness of the party.


The distinction between Submission and Confirmation is only enforced in the participant node. A malicious participant node with Confirmation permission for a certain party can submit transactions in the name of the party. This is due to Canton’s high level of privacy where validators do not know the identity of the submitting participant. Therefore, a party who delegates Confirmation permissions to a participant should trust the participant sufficiently.

Next, add the RequestSide.From transaction such that the party is activated on the target participant:

@ participant1.topology.party_to_participant_mappings.authorize(TopologyChangeOp.Add, alice,, RequestSide.From, ParticipantPermission.Submission)
res4: = <ByteString@17c1610a size=556 contents="\n\251\004\n\327\001\n\322\001\n\317\001\022 0WEXsIAQlZeiureYxpgA5oAFQtALXfvm2...">

Check that the party is now hosted by two participants:

@ participant1.parties.list("Alice")
res5: Seq[ListPartiesResult] = Vector(
    party = Alice::1220bfdba867...,
    participants = Vector(
        participant = PAR::participant1::1220bfdba867...,
        domains = Vector(
          DomainPermission(domain = mydomain::122006cb223c..., permission = Submission)
        participant = PAR::participant2::1220abc43c90...,
        domains = Vector(
          DomainPermission(domain = mydomain::122006cb223c..., permission = Submission)

Finally, the transaction processing on the domain can be re-enabled again:

@ mydomain.service.set_max_rate_per_participant(100)

Both participants will now see the same contracts, and depending on the permissions, be able to submit on behalf of the party. Each hosting participant will be included in the transaction, which means that there is an upper limit on where this feature is useful. If you need to share contract data with many participants, you should consider using explicit disclosure and share contract data out of band.

Manually Initializing a Node

There are situations where a node should not be automatically initialized, but where you should control each step of the initialization. For example, this might be the case when a node in the setup does not control its own identity, when you do not want to store the identity key on the node for security reasons, or when you want to set your own keys (e.g. when keys are externally stored in a Key Management Service - KMS).

The following demonstrates the basic steps on how to initialize a node:

Keys Initialization

The following steps describe how to manually generate the necessary Canton keys (e.g. for a participant):

// first, let's create a signing key that is going to control our identity.
val identityKey =
  participant.keys.secret.generate_signing_key(name = + "-namespace")

// create signing and encryption keys
val signingKey =
  participant.keys.secret.generate_signing_key(name = + "-signing")
val encryptionKey =
  participant.keys.secret.generate_encryption_key(name = + "-encryption")


Be aware that in some particular use cases, you might want to register keys rather than generate new ones (for instance when you have pre-generated KMS keys that you want to use). Please refer to External Key Storage with a Key Management Service (KMS) for more details.

Domain Initialization

The following steps describe how to manually initialize a domain node:

// use the fingerprint of this key for our identity
val namespace = identityKey.fingerprint

// initialise the identity of this domain
val uid = mydomain.topology.init_id(identifier =, fingerprint = namespace)

// create the root certificate for this namespace
  ops = TopologyChangeOp.Add,
  namespace = namespace,
  authorizedKey = namespace,
  isRootDelegation = true,

val protocolVersion = mydomain.config.init.domainParameters.initialProtocolVersion

// set the initial dynamic domain parameters for the domain
    domainId = DomainId(uid),
    newParameters =
    protocolVersion = protocolVersion,

val mediatorId = MediatorId(uid)
Seq[Member](DomainTopologyManagerId(uid), SequencerId(uid), mediatorId).foreach { keyOwner =>
  // in this case, we are using an embedded domain. therefore, we initialise all domain
  // entities at once. in a distributed setup, the process needs to be invoked on
  // the separate entities, and therefore requires a bit more coordination.
  // however, the steps remain the same.

  // then, create a topology transaction linking the entity to the signing key
    ops = TopologyChangeOp.Add,
    keyOwner = keyOwner,
    key = signingKey.fingerprint,
    purpose = KeyPurpose.Signing,

// Register the mediator
  ops = TopologyChangeOp.Add,
  domain =,
  mediator = mediatorId,
  side = RequestSide.Both,

Participant Initialization

The following steps describe how to manually initialize a participant node:

// use the fingerprint of this key for our identity
val namespace = identityKey.fingerprint

// create the root certificate (self-signed)
  ops = TopologyChangeOp.Add,
  namespace = namespace,
  authorizedKey = namespace,
  isRootDelegation = true,

// initialise the id: this needs to happen AFTER we created the namespace delegation
// (on participants; for the domain, it's the other way around ... sorry for that)
// if we initialize the identity before we added the root certificate, then the system will
// complain about not being able to vet the admin workflow packages automatically.
// that would not be tragic, but would require a manual vetting step.
// in production, use a "random" identifier. for testing and development, use something
// helpful so you don't have to grep for hashes in your log files.
  identifier = Identifier.tryCreate("manualInit"),
  fingerprint = namespace,

// assign new keys to this participant
Seq(encryptionKey, signingKey).foreach { key =>
    ops = TopologyChangeOp.Add,
    keyOwner =,
    key = key.fingerprint,
    purpose = key.purpose,