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Step 4: Import validator keys to the client

Warning Import your validator key(s) to only one client. If you run them in two locations at once, you will be slashed: Forcibly exited and assessed a penalty greater than 1 ETH.

If you use the Prysm Web, you can use it or this command-line process to import keys.

Using the keymanager API to import keys

Prysm - create a wallet

Prysm requires a wallet first. Run ./ethd cmd run --rm create-wallet, which will set up a wallet and a password for it. You can then print the password with ./ethd keys get-prysm-wallet

Start the client and import keys

./ethd up to start the client and the client's keymanager API

./ethd keys to see all options available to you

./ethd keys import to import keys and their slashing protection data. This looks in .eth/validator_keys for keystore*.json files and optionally slashing_protection*.json files.

If the key JSON files are in another directory, run:

./ethd keys import --path PATHTOKEYS

replacing PATHTOKEYS with the actual path where they are.

./ethd keys list to list all imported keys

Using the client CLI to import keys ... legacy

This method will remain supported until the keymanager API is stable across all clients. It may be removed with the next Ethereum hardfork after merge. This is an alternative to using the keymanager API.

Import the validator key(s) to the validator client, assuming they are in .eth/validator_keys inside the directory eth-docker is in. Any slashing_protection*.json files will also be imported:

./ethd keyimport

If they are in another directory, run:

./ethd keyimport --path PATHTOKEYS

replacing PATHTOKEYS with the actual path where they are.


  • You will be asked whether you will be using the Web UI to import keys. Answer "y"es if you wish to use Prysm's Web UI to import keys. The Web UI is enabled by adding prysm-web-shared.yml to COMPOSE_FILE
  • You will be asked to provide a "New wallet password", independent of the keystore password.
  • If you choose not to store the wallet password with the validator, you will need to edit prysm-base.yml and prysm-web.yml and comment out the wallet-password-file parameter

If you choose to save the password during import, it'll be available to the client every time it starts. If you do not, you'll need to be present to start the validator client and start it interactively.

After import, the files in .eth/validator_keys can be safely removed from the node, once you have copied them off the node. You'll need the deposit_data file to deposit at the launchpad. The keystore-m files can be safeguarded in case the node needs to be rebuilt, or deleted and recreated from mnemonic if required. See for some thoughts on key security.