Witness Node Docker Install

Setup a Witness Node using a pre-configured Docker container

This document assumes that you are running Ubuntu 18.04. Other Debian based releases may also work with the provided script.

The following steps outline the Docker installation of a Witness Node:

  1. Preparing the Environment

  2. Installing Docker

  3. Installing the peerplays image

  4. Starting the Container

  5. Update the config.ini File

  6. Create a Peerplays Account

  7. Update config.ini with Witness Account Info

  8. Start the Container and Vote for Yourself

1. Preparing the Environment

1.1. Hardware requirements

Please see the general Witness hardware requirements.

For the docker install, the requirements that we'll need for this guide would be as follows:

Node Type?







8 Cores




Ubuntu 18.04

1.2. Installing the required dependencies

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install git curl

Then we'll clone the Peerplays Docker repository.

git clone -b release https://gitlab.com/PBSA/tools-libs/peerplays-docker.git

2. Installing Docker

Note: It is required to have Docker installed on the system that will be performing the steps in this document.

Docker can be installed using the run.sh script inside the Peerplays Docker repository:

sudo ./run.sh install_docker

The run.sh script contains many commands to make managing the node easy. A list of all its commands are listed in the appendix at the end of this document.

Since the script has added the currently logged in user to the Docker group, you'll need to re-login (or close and reconnect SSH) for Docker to function correctly.

Note: You can look at https://docs.docker.com/engine/install/ to learn more on how to install Docker. Or if you are having permission issues trying to run Docker, use sudo or look at https://docs.docker.com/engine/install/linux-postinstall/

2.1. Setting up the .env file

Copy the example.env to .env located in the root of the repository:

cd ~/peerplays-docker
cp example.env .env

We're going to have to make some changes to the .env file so we'll open that now using a text editor.

nano .env

Here are the important parts of the .env file. These will be the parts that need to be edited or optionally edited. The rest of the file should be unchanged.

# Comma separated port numbers to expose to the internet (binds to
# Expose 9777 to the internet, but only expose RPC ports 8090 and 8091 onto (localhost)
# allowing the host machine access to the container's RPC ports via and
# We'll need ports 8090 and 8091 open to our localhost to interact with the Peerplays CLI Wallet.
# Websocket RPC node to use by default for ./run.sh remote_wallet

3. Installing the peerplays image

Use run.sh to pull the node image:

cd ~/peerplays-docker
sudo ./run.sh install

4. Start the Container

With at least 8GB of disk space available in your home folder, we'll start the node. This will create and / or start the Peerplays docker container.

sudo ./run.sh start

Then we'll check the status of the container to see if all is well.

sudo ./run.sh logs

Last we'll stop the container so we can make updates to the config.ini file.

sudo ./run.sh stop

5. Update the config.ini File

We need to set the endpoint and seed-node addresses so we can access the cli_wallet and download all the initial blocks from the chain. Within the config.ini file, locate the p2p-endpoint, rpc-endpoint, and seed-node settings and enter the following addresses.

nano ~/peerplays-docker/data/witness_node_data_dir/config.ini
p2p-endpoint =
rpc-endpoint =
seed-node =

Save the changes and start the container back up.

sudo ./run.sh start

6. Create a Peerplays Account

We'll need an account as the basis of creating a new Witness. The easiest way to do that is to use the GUI wallet.

6.1. Download the Peerplays Core GUI Wallet to Make an Account

Peerplays Core GUI

  1. Install, open, and create an account. It's pretty self-explanatory. :)

  2. Wait for your node to sync the blocks (about 7.3GB at the time of writing). We need to do this before we can use the CLI wallet.

  3. From this point on, please note the results of the following commands as you'll need them later.

6.2. Use the cli_wallet to set a password and unlock the wallet

Back in the command line window, we can access the cli_wallet program after all the blocks have been downloaded from the chain. Note that "your-password-here" is a password that you're creating for the cli_wallet and doesn't necessarily have to be the password you used in the GUI wallet earlier.

sudo ./run.sh wallet
set_password your-password-here
unlock your-password-here

The CLI wallet will show unlocked >>> when successfully unlocked.

Note: A list of CLI wallet commands is available here: https://www.peerplays.tech/api/peerplays-wallet-api/wallet-calls

6.3. Generate OWNER private keys for the cli_wallet and import them

This will return an array with your owner key in the form of ["PPYxxx", "xxxx"]. Note that the "created-username" and "created-password" used here are the username and password from the GUI wallet!

get_private_key_from_password created-username owner created-password

The second value in the returned array is the private key of your owner key. Now we'll import that into the cli_wallet.

import_key "created-username" SECONDVALUEFROMLASTCOMMAND

6.4. Generate ACTIVE private keys for the cli_wallet and import them

Once again, this will return an array with your active key in the form of ["PPYxxx", "xxxx"]. Note that the "created-username" and "created-password" used here are the username and password from the GUI wallet!

get_private_key_from_password created-username active created-password

The second value in the returned array is the private key of your active key. Now we'll import that into the cli_wallet.

import_key "created-username" SECONDVALUEFROMLASTCOMMAND

NOTE: The keys that begin with "PPY" are the public keys.

6.5. Upgrade to lifetime membership

You will need some PPY for this command to succeed. The account must have lifetime membership status to create a new Witness.

upgrade_account created-username true

6.6. Create yourself as a Witness

The URL in this command is your own URL which should point to a page which describes who you are and why you want to become a Peerplays witness. Note your block signing key after you enter this command.

This command will require some PPY as well.

create_witness created-username "https://your-url-to-witness-proposal" true

6.7. Gather your Witness account info

First we'll get the private key for your block_signing_key.


Then dump your keys to check and compare. One of the returned values from the following command should match your block_signing_key.


Last we'll get your witness ID.

get_witness created-username

7. Edit config.ini to include your Witness ID and your private key pair

Exit the cli_wallet with the quit command. We'll stop the container and edit the config.ini file once again.

sudo ./run.sh stop
nano ~/peerplays-docker/data/witness_node_data_dir/config.ini
witness-id = "your_witness_id"
private-key = ["block_signing_key", "private_key_for_your_block_signing_key"]

8. Start the container and vote for yourself

sudo ./run.sh start

Once again, we need to wait for the node to sync the blocks to use the cli_wallet. After the sync, you can vote for yourself.

sudo ./run.sh wallet
unlock your-password-here
vote_for_witness created-username created-username true true

Now you can check your votes to verify it worked.

get_witness your_witness_account

9. Docker run.sh commands list

  • start - starts seed container

  • start_son - starts son seed container

  • start_son_regtest - starts son seed container and bitcoind container under the docker network

  • clean - Remove blockchain, p2p, and/or shared mem folder contents, seed, bitcoind, and son docker network (warns beforehand)

  • dlblocks - download and decompress the blockchain to speed up your first start

  • replay - starts seed container (in replay mode)

  • replay_son - starts son seed container (in replay mode)

  • memory_replay - starts seed container (in replay mode, with --memory-replay)

  • shm_size - resizes /dev/shm to size given, e.g. ./run.sh shm_size 10G

  • stop - stops seed container

  • status - show status of seed container

  • restart - restarts seed container

  • install_docker - install docker

  • install - pulls latest docker image from server (no compiling)

  • install_full - pulls latest (FULL NODE FOR RPC) docker image from server (no compiling)

  • rebuild - builds seed container (from docker file), and then restarts it

  • build - only builds seed container (from docker file)

  • logs - show all logs inc. docker logs, and seed logs

  • wallet - open cli_wallet in the container

  • remote_wallet - open cli_wallet in the container connecting to a remote seed

  • enter - enter a bash session in the currently running container

  • shell - launch the seed container with appropriate mounts, then open bash for inspection

10. Glossary

Witness: An independent server operator which validates network transactions.

Witness Node: Nodes with a closed RPC port. They don't allow external connections. Instead these nodes focus on processing transactions into blocks.