Multinetwork Node

Tezos is run on several networks, such as Mainnet (the main network) and various Test Networks. Some users may also want to run their own networks for various reasons. Networks differ in various ways:

  • they start from their own genesis block;
  • they have different names so that nodes know not to talk to other networks;
  • they may run (or have run) different protocols;
  • protocols may run with different constants (for instance, test networks move faster);
  • they have different bootstrap peers (nodes that new nodes connect to initially);
  • they may have had user-activated upgrades or user-activated protocol overrides to change the protocol without going through the voting process.

The current master branch is capable of connecting to multiple networks, including Mainnet and the test networks Zeronet, Babylonnet and Carthagenet. By contrast, the mainnet branch is only capable of connecting to Mainnet, the babylonnet branch is only capable of connecting to Babylonnet, and so on. The goal is to remove the need for such branches. Currently, the multinetwork node has not been released, but we hope that the next major Mainnet release is nothing but a tag on master, or maybe a very small branch.

By default, the multinetwork node connects to Mainnet. To connect to other networks, you can either Select Network From Command-Line or Set Network in Configuration File. You can also configure the node to connect to Custom Networks.

Select Network From Command-Line

The simplest way to select the network to connect to is to use the new --network option. For instance, to run Babylonnet:

tezos-node run --data-dir ~/tezos-babylonnet --network babylonnet

The --data-dir option is not mandatory, but it is a good idea to prevent accidentally running, say, a Mainnet data directory with the Babylonnet network.

Note that this --network option must be given everytime you restart your node. It also must be given with the snapshot export and snapshot import commands. One way to avoid this is to Set Network in Configuration File.

The --network option can be used with the following built-in networks:

  • mainnet (this is the default)
  • sandbox
  • zeronet
  • alphanet (deprecated)
  • babylonnet
  • carthagenet

Set Network in Configuration File

Instead of using --network you can set the network in the configuration file. Here is an example configuration file to run Carthagenet:

  "p2p": {},
  "network": "Carthagenet"

You can specify any built-in network from the list in Select Network From Command-Line, but its name must be capitalized.

(The p2p field is unrelated, but it is mandatory, although it can be empty.)

To use this configuration file, run the node with --config-file FILENAME where FILENAME is the name of this file. Alternatively, put the file in your data directory with the name config.json. By default, this is ~/.tezos-node/config.json.

Custom Networks

If the network you want to connect to is not in the list of built-in networks, you can configure a custom network in the configuration file. Here is an example configuration file for Mainnet:

  "p2p": {},
  "network": {
    "genesis": {
      "timestamp": "2018-06-30T16:07:32Z",
      "block": "BLockGenesisGenesisGenesisGenesisGenesisf79b5d1CoW2",
      "protocol": "Ps9mPmXaRzmzk35gbAYNCAw6UXdE2qoABTHbN2oEEc1qM7CwT9P"
    "chain_name": "TEZOS_MAINNET",
    "old_chain_name": "TEZOS_BETANET_2018-06-30T16:07:32Z",
    "incompatible_chain_name": "INCOMPATIBLE",
    "sandboxed_chain_name": "SANDBOXED_TEZOS_MAINNET",
    "user_activated_upgrades": [
        "level": 28082,
        "replacement_protocol": "PsYLVpVvgbLhAhoqAkMFUo6gudkJ9weNXhUYCiLDzcUpFpkk8Wt"
        "level": 204761,
        "replacement_protocol": "PsddFKi32cMJ2qPjf43Qv5GDWLDPZb3T3bF6fLKiF5HtvHNU7aP"
    "user_activated_protocol_overrides": [
        "replaced_protocol": "PsBABY5HQTSkA4297zNHfsZNKtxULfL18y95qb3m53QJiXGmrbU",
        "replacement_protocol": "PsBabyM1eUXZseaJdmXFApDSBqj8YBfwELoxZHHW77EMcAbbwAS"
    "default_bootstrap_peers": [ "" ]

This is equivalent to using --network mainnet, or "network": "Mainnet" in the configuration file (or to doing nothing, as Mainnet is the default).

  • genesis is the description of the genesis block, i.e. the first block of the chain. Inspect the genesis block using tezos-client rpc get /chains/main/blocks/0 to find these values.
  • chain_name is the name of the network (nodes only talk to other nodes which use the same network name).
  • old_chain_name is usually the same as chain_name, except for networks which were renamed.
  • incompatible_chain_name is a name which must be different than chain_name and old_chain_name. It is thus ensured to be incompatible. It is used for testing purposes.
  • sandboxed_chain_name is the name of the network in sandbox mode. It can be the same as chain_name but it is safer to pick a different name.
  • user_activated_upgrades is the list of past user-activated upgrades. Each item has a field level, which is the level at which the protocol must be changed, and a field replacement_protocol, which is the hash of the protocol to switch to.
  • user_activated_protocol_overrides is the list of past user-activated protocol overrides. Each item has a field replaced_protocol and a field replacement_protocol. Both are protocol hashes. If replaced_protocol is to be activated using on-chain voting, replacement_protocol is activated instead.
  • default_bootstrap_peers is the list of addresses of default bootstrap peers. They are only used if p2p.bootstrap_peers is not present in the configuration file, and --no-bootstrap-peers is not given on the command-line.


The list of built-in networks is in src/bin_node/ Edit the builtin_blockchain_networks_with_tags variable in this file to add or remove built-in networks.

To be able to connect to multiple networks without having to download the protocols, and to provide all the relevant baker / endorser / accuser binaries, all current and past protocols are compiled and linked. This means that if you patch the client commands for a protocol, you should patch the other protocols as well (at least the ones which are still in use).