How many keys does a node need, and how are they used? How does each node know the keys of the other nodes? And how does every node know what (different kind of) keys come from the same node?

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The blockchain nodes don't need keys. Stake pools needs keys (the block producer nodes). They have a cold key, a VRF key, a KES key and an operational certificate. Stake pools also need a wallet for depositing the pledge and a wallet (can be the same, can be different) for receiving the rewards for minting blocks, hence they also need some payment and stake keys for this (these) wallet(s). The stake pool keys (except the KES key) are known by other because they are registered on-chain (via transactions). The KES key will be known when a stake pool mints a block. Also, the KES key (and the operational certificate created with it) are renewed every 90 days (or less).

  • What is the operational used for? And is it a ECDSA key? Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 12:27
  • The KES key is ed25519. The operational certificate is a certificate, not a key, and it is created with both the KES key and the cold key (the cold key is also known as "Stake Pool Operator Signing Key"). Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 14:43

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