Using EthSigner with Hashicorp Vault

EthSigner supports storing the signing key in Hashicorp Vault.

TLS is enabled by default between EthSigner and Hashicorp Vault.

Storing private key in Hashicorp Vault

After installing Hashicorp Vault and starting the server:

  1. Set the VAULT_ADDR environment variable using the command displayed after starting the server:

    export VAULT_ADDR=''
  2. Save the root token displayed after starting the server in a file called authFile.

  3. Put your signing key into the Hashicorp Vault:

    vault kv put secret/ethsignerSigningKey value=<Private Key without 0x prefix>
    vault kv put secret/ethsignerSigningKey value=8f2a55949038a9610f50fb23b5883af3b4ecb3c3bb792cbcefbd1542c692be63

    The private key is stored in the default location for EthSigner. The key must be a base 64 encoded private key for ECDSA for curve secp256k1.

Start Besu

Start Besu with the --rpc-http-port option set to 8590 to avoid conflict with the default EthSigner listening port (8545).


besu --network=dev --miner-enabled --miner-coinbase=0xfe3b557e8fb62b89f4916b721be55ceb828dbd73 --rpc-http-cors-origins="all" --host-whitelist=* --rpc-http-enabled --rpc-http-port=8590 --data-path=/tmp/tmpDatdir


EthSigner requires a chain ID to be used when signing transactions. The downstream Ethereum client must be operating in a milestone supporting replay protection. That is, the genesis file must include at least the Spurious Dragon milestone (defined as eip158Block in the genesis file) so the blockchain is using a chain ID.

Create the Known Servers File

Create a file (in this example, knownHashicorpServers) that lists one or more trusted Hashicorp Vault servers. The file contents use the format <hostame>:<port> <hex-string> where:

  • <hostname> is the server hostname
  • <port> is the port used for communication
  • <hex-string> is the SHA-256 fingerprint of the server’s certificate.


localhost:8200 7C:B3:3E:F9:98:43:5E:62:69:9F:A9:9D:41:14:03:BA:83:24:AC:04:CE:BD:92:49:1B:8D:B2:A4:86:39:4C:BB 7C:B3:3E:F9:98:43:5E:62:69:9F:A9:9D:41:14:03:BA:83:24:AC:04:CE:BD:92:49:1B:8D:B2:A4:86:39:4C:BB

The file is required if TLS is enabled, to disable TLS, set hashicorp-signer --tls-enabled to false.

Start EthSigner with Hashicorp Vault signing

Start EthSigner.


ethsigner --chain-id=2018 --downstream-http-port=8590 hashicorp-signer --host= --port=8200 --auth-file=authFile --tls-known-server-file=/Users/me/my_node/knownHashicorpServers


Use the –http-listen-port option to change the EthSigner listening port if 8545 is in use.

You can now use EthSigner to sign transactions with the key stored in the Hashicorp Vault.