I am wondering if it is currently possible to manually derive stake pool cold keys using a low-level module like cardano-addresses. The idea behind this is to have a single master seed/mnemonic, downstream of which all other key paths (staking, payment, node management, etc) lie. In other words, is cardano-cli node key-gen currently the only command to create the cold keys, or is there another way?

CIP-1853 talks about such specifications, but I'm not sure if they are already implemented or if they can be manually implemented.

Thanks in advance!

1 Answer 1


Like other keys on cardano, a stakepool cold key is just a bunch of random bytes from the protocol's perspective. While it's highly recommended to be interoperable amount tools to use reserved derivation paths to generate keys, from a technical perspective it isn't necessary and you could make up any derivation path and extract the key using cardano-addresses, and then store the CBOR encoded key in a text file.

That being said, I'd highly recommend utilizing the CIP-1853 derivation path.

  • My question was more along the lines of - is it technically feasible to do this? Based on your answer I suppose it is - I'll have to give it a try on testnet and report back.
    – zhekson
    Jan 11, 2022 at 19:31
  • 2
    Yes, it's feasible. I have a pool on testnet utilizing CIP 1853. Only reason mainnet pool doesn't is changing the cold key would result in a new pool and needing to retire the old one. I highly recommend 1853 for any new pools. Jan 17, 2022 at 2:46

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