Howto Become an Active Witness

Howto Become an Active Witness

This document serves as an introduction on how to become an actively block producing witness in in the BitShares2.0 network. We will create, configure and run a witness node in the following steps:

  • create a wallet for the testnet
  • import an account and funds
  • upgrade our account to a lifetime member
  • register a new witness
  • upvote the witness with our funds
  • sign blocks

Run the witness/full node on the network

We first run the Full Node without block production and connect it to the P2P network with the following command:

$ programs/witness_node/witness_node --rpc-endpoint

The argument --rpc-endpoint opens up a RPC port 8090 for connections from localhost.

Creating a wallet

We now open up the CLI Wallet and connect to our plain and stupid Full Node:

programs/cli_wallet/cli_wallet -s ws://

First thing to do is setting up a password for the newly created wallet prior to importing any private keys:

>>> set_password <password>
>>> unlock <password>

Wallet creation is now done.

Basic Account Management

We can import the account name (owner and active keys) to be able to access our funds in BitShares 2.0:

>>> import_key <accountname> <owner wif key>
>>> import_key <accountname> <active wif key>
>>> list_account_balances <accountname>

Since only lifetime members can become witnesses, you must first upgrade to a lifetime member. This step costs the lifetime-upgrade fee which will eventually cost about $100

>>> upgrade_account <accountname> true
[a transaction in json format]

Becoming a Witness

To become a witness and be able to produce blocks, you first need to create a witness object that can be voted in.

Note: If you want to experiment with things that require voting, be aware that votes are only tallied once per day at the maintenance interval. get_dynamic_global_properties tells us when that will be in next_maintenance_time. Once the next maintenance interval passes, run get_global_properties again and you should see that your new witness has been voted in.

Before we get started, we can see the current list of witnesses voted in, which will simply be the ten default witnesses:

>>> create_witness <accountname> "url-to-proposal" true
  "ref_block_num": 139,
  "ref_block_prefix": 3692461913,
  "relative_expiration": 3,
  "operations": [[
    "fee": {
      "amount": 0,
      "asset_id": "1.3.0"
    "witness_account": "1.2.16",
    "url": "url-to-proposal",
    "block_signing_key": "PUBLIC KEY",
    "initial_secret": "00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000"
  "signatures": [

Our witness is registered, but it can’t produce blocks because nobody has voted it in. You can see the current list of active witnesses with get_global_properties.

Now, we should vote our witness in. Vote all of the shares in our account <accountname> in favor of your new witness.

>>> vote_for_witness <accountname> <accountname> true true
[a transaction in json format]

We need wait until the next maintenance interval until we can see votes casted for our witness.

Get the witness object using get_witness and take note of two things. The id is displayed in get_global_properties when the witness is voted in, and we will need it on the witness_node command line to produce blocks. We’ll also need the public signing_key so we can look up the correspoinding private key.

>>> get_witness <accountname>
  "id": "1.6.10",
  "signing_key": "GPH7vQ7GmRSJfDHxKdBmWMeDMFENpmHWKn99J457BNApiX1T5TNM8",

Once we have that, run dump_private_keys which lists the public-key private-key pairs to find the private key.

Warning: dump_private_keys will display your keys unencrypted on the terminal, don’t do this with someone looking over your shoulder.

The id and the signing_key are the two important parameters, here. Let’s get the private key for that signing key with:

>>> dump_private_keys

Now we need to start the witness, so shut down the wallet (ctrl-d), and shut down the witness (ctrl-c). Re-launch the witness, now mentioning the new witness 1.6.10 and its keypair:

./witness_node  \
       --rpc-endpoint= \
       --witness-id '"1.6.10"' \
       --private-key '["GPH7vQ7GmRSJfDHxKdBmWMeDMFENpmHWKn99J457BNApiX1T5TNM8", "5JGi7DM7J8fSTizZ4D9roNgd8dUc5pirUe9taxYCUUsnvQ4zCaQ"]'

Alternatively, you can also add this line into yout config.ini:

witness-id = "1.6.10"
private-key = ["GPH7vQ7GmRSJfDHxKdBmWMeDMFENpmHWKn99J457BNApiX1T5TNM8","5JGi7DM7J8fSTizZ4D9roNgd8dUc5pirUe9taxYCUUsnvQ4zCaQ"]

Note: Make sure to use YOUR public/private keys instead of the once given above!

If you monitor the output of the witness_node, you should see it generate blocks signed by your witness:

Witness 1.6.10 production slot has arrived; generating a block now...
Generated block #367 with timestamp 2015-07-05T20:46:30 at time 2015-07-05T20:46:30