Updating the network parameters

The initial network parameters can be subsequently changed through an update process. However, these changes must first be advertised to the entire network to allow nodes time to agree to the changes. Every time the server needs to be shutdown and run with one of the following flags: --set-network-parameters, --flag-day or --cancel-update. For change to be advertised to the nodes new network map has to be signed (either by HSM or by local signer).

Typical update process is as follows:

  1. Start network map with initial network parameters.

  2. To advertise an update:

    • Stop the Network Map service.

    • Run it with --set-network-parameters flag, along with the network truststore related flags. See the ‘Setting the Network Parameters’ section within the Network Map Service doc for more information. The network parameters file must have parametersUpdate config block:

      parametersUpdate {
          description = "Important update"
          updateDeadline = "2017-08-31T05:10:36.297Z" # ISO-8601 time, substitute it with update deadline

      Where description is a short description of the update that will be communicated to the nodes and updateDeadline is the time (in ISO-8601 format) by which all nodes in the network must decide that they have accepted the new parameters.


      Currently only backwards compatible changes to the network parameters can be made, i.e. notaries can’t be removed (eg. they will be always added to the existing list), max transaction size can only increase, etc.

      Upon success the process will exit. Not that as the Network Map service is up and running again, nothing will be sent to the nodes yet.

    • Start the Network Map service as normal without any flags. When the nodes on the network next poll the service for the latest Network Map they will be notified of the proposed parameter update.

  3. Before the updateDeadline time, nodes will have to run the acceptNewNetworkParameters() RPC command to accept new parameters. This will not activate the new network parameters on the nodes, only inform the Network Map service that the node has agreed to the update. It is possible to poll the network map database to check how many network participants have accepted the new network parameters - the information is stored in the node-info.accepted_parameters_hash column. See https://docs.corda.net/tutorial-clientrpc-api.html for further details.

  4. Once the updateDeadline has passed, a flag day can be issued. This is the act of changing the active network parameters to be the parameters advertised in step 2. To achieve this, restart the Network Map service with the --flag-day flag. This will cause all nodes in the network to shutdown when they next poll the service due to a parameter hash mismatch. The nodes that didn’t accept the parameter update will be removed from the network map and unable to restart until they accept. The nodes that accepted, can be restarted and continue as normal.


    All nodes will currently shutdown regardless of acceptance as there is currently no hotswapping of Network Parameters within a node.


    A flag day cannot be issued before the updateDeadline has passed. Therefore this should be chosen carefully.

It is possible to cancel the previously scheduled update. To do so simply run:

java -jar networkmap.jar --cancel-update

The Network Map service will continue to advertise the cancelled update until the new network map is signed.

Bootstrapping the network parameters

When the Network Map service is running it will serve the current network map including the network parameters.

The first time it is started it will need to know the initial value for those parameters, these can be specified with a file, like this:

notaries : [
        notaryNodeInfoFile: "/Path/To/NodeInfo/File1"
        validating: true
        notaryNodeInfoFile: "/Path/To/NodeInfo/File2"
        validating: false
minimumPlatformVersion = 1
maxMessageSize = 10485760
maxTransactionSize = 10485760
eventHorizonDays = 30 # Duration in days

whitelistContracts = {
    cordappsJars = [
    exclude = [

packageOwnership = [
        packageName = "com.megacorp.example.claimed.package",
        publicKeyPath = "/example/path/to/public_key_rsa.pem",
        algorithm = "RSA"
        packageName = "com.anothercorp.example",
        publicKeyPath = "/example/path/to/public_key_ec.pem",
        algorithm = "EC"

And the location of that file can be specified with: --set-network-parameters.

Note that when reading from file:

  1. epoch will be initialised to 1, unless a different value is specified within the config file
  2. modifiedTime will be the network map startup time

epoch will increase by one every time the network parameters are updated, however larger jumps can be achieved by manually setting the next epoch value within the config file..