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Preparing your Node for Operation

If you're here, then you've successfully started the Smartnode services, created a wallet, and finished syncing both the Execution and Consensus chains on your respective clients. If so, then you are ready to register your node on the Rocket Pool network and create a minipool with a validator! If not, please review the previous sections and return here once you've completed those steps.

Before creating a new minipool and validator, there are a few steps to take to finish preparing your node. These only need to be done once though; once you've done them, you can skip to the Creating a New Minipool section if you want to create multiple minipools on your node.

Loading your Node Wallet

Registering your node and standing up a validator both involve submitting transactions to the Ethereum network from your node wallet. This means you'll need to have some ETH on it to pay for the gas costs of those transactions. You'll also need to stake some of the RPL token prior to creating a minipool as collateral; you can do this directly on the node, or (preferably) you can use the Rocket Pool website's Stake on Behalf function to stake for your node with RPL in your cold wallet. We'll discuss the Stake on Behalf feature later in this guide when it's time to stake your RPL.

The ETH required for gas fees to set up a node with one minipool is about 0.0025 ETH times the current gas price in gwei. For example, with a gas price of 30 gwei, you would pay about 0.075 ETH in gas fees.

See this worksheet to help estimate the gas fees for various network conditions.

If you're running on the Holesky test network, please see the Practicing with the Test Network section to learn how to acquire test ETH.

For test RPL, we have added a similar faucet function directly to the CLI. Please see the Getting Test RPL on Holesky guide to acquire some.

Registering your Node with the Network

Once you have ETH in your wallet, you can register your node with the Rocket Pool network to access all of its features. To do this, run the following command:

rocketpool node register

This will prompt you for the timezone you want to register with. By default, this will detect the timezone from your system clock, but you can change it if you prefer. Any of the Country/City format timezones listed on this page should be acceptable.


The timezone is just used for the global map of node operators displayed on the main site. You don't need to set it to your actual timezone if you have security concerns. If you prefer to remain anonymous, use a generic option such as Etc/UTC.

Once this is complete, you will officially be a member of the Rocket Pool network!

Setting your Primary Withdrawal Address

Before anything else, we highly recommended you change the primary withdrawal address for your node. This is the address that all of your RPL checkpoint rewards, your staked RPL, and your Beacon Chain ETH will be sent to when you claim your checkpoint rewards or exit your validator and withdraw from your minipool.

Optionally, you can set a withdrawal address for your ETH and a new one for your RPL. The RPL withdrawal address if set will be able to trigger and claim RPL from inflation rewards and will have no effect on ETH consensus rewards or anything related to ETH. If you haven't set an RPL withdrawal address, the Primary Withdrawal Address will receive RPL rewards as well. By default, whoever controls the primary withdrawal address can access ALL your staked RPL, ETH, and rewards.

The address used to supply a node with ETH should be the primary withdrawal address for the node. Click here to read about staking ETH on behalf of a node.


Upon setting up your node for the first time, this is set to your node's wallet address. However, for security reasons, it is vitally important to set this to a different address controlled by a cold wallet. A cold wallet could be a hardware wallet (such as a Ledger, Trezor, or Grid+), or a Smart Contract wallet (such as Argent).

We strongly recommend that you DO NOT use a hot wallet such as MetaMask as your primary withdrawal address.

This way, if your node wallet is compromised, the attacker doesn't get access to your staked ETH and RPL by forcing you to exit because all of those funds will be sent to your separate cold wallet (which they hopefully do not have).

Primary withdrawal addresses are set at a node operator level. If you create multiple minipools, they will all refer to the same primary withdrawal address so you only need to perform this setup once.

See here for some basics on wallet security from the Ethereum Foundation.

There are two different ways to do this. Please read both options below to determine which one applies to you.

Use this method if your new primary withdrawal address can be used to sign transactions via MetaMask or WalletConnect.


This method will require you to submit a transaction from your new primary withdrawal address, so you must have a small amount of ETH in that address already.


For users of Ledger hardware wallets, note that Ledger Live does not yet support MetaMask or WalletConnect natively. You will need to use MetaMask and connect it to your Ledger instead. Follow the official Ledger instructions to do this.

To work with the Rocket Pool website, you will need to have your Ledger connected, unlocked, and the ETH app open. You will also need to enable "blind signing" for the current session; you can find this within the Settings portion of the ETH app on the device. Bind signing will automatically be disabled after you close the session.

If you are using Holesky Testnet and want to use your Ledger as your primary withdrawal address, you must create a new Ethereum wallet on your Ledger first to ensure you don't connect your live address to the test network, which tends to cause confusion. Make sure to select the Holesky Testnet in the network selection dropdown when connecting your Ledger to MetaMask. Note that Ledger Live will not show your balance on the test network, but other applications which support the test network (such as MetaMask and Etherscan) will be able to display it.

  1. Run rocketpool node set-primary-withdrawal-address <your cold wallet address or ENS name>. Your new primary withdrawal address will be marked as "pending". Until you confirm it, your old primary withdrawal address will still be used.

  2. To confirm it, you must send a special transaction from your new primary withdrawal address to the minipool contract to verify that you own the primary withdrawal address.

    1. The easiest way to do this is to navigate to the Rocket Pool primary withdrawal address site (for the Holesky Testnet or for Mainnet).
  3. If you haven't already connected Metamask or WalletConnect to the Rocket Pool website, do this now. Click the select wallet button in the center of the screen, and choose MetaMask or WalletConnect based on which wallet you would like to use. You will then be prompted asking you to confirm the connection. For example, using MetaMask:

    Click Next, then click Confirm to enable the Rocket Pool website to use your wallet. 3. Select primary Withdrawal Address from the top menu (or the hamburger menu on the left side if you're on a mobile device). 4. You will see this prompt:

  4. Type your node wallet address here and click on the Check Mark button to continue.

    1. You will be prompted with a question asking if you want to set a new node primary withdrawal address or confirm a pending one. Select Confirm.
    2. Now, there should be a new confirmation dialog in your wallet. Again, using MetaMask as an example, click the MetaMask icon to open it and you should see something like this:

    Click Confirm to send the transaction to the network. This will take some time until it gets included in a block, but once it does, you will see a confirmation dialog:

  1. Your new primary withdrawal address will now be confirmed and activated. You can view this with rocketpool node status.

Once this is done, you will no longer be able to change your primary withdrawal address using the set-primary-withdrawal-address command. To change it, you will need to send a signed transaction from your active primary withdrawal address (the one you just switched to). The Rocket Pool website has a function to help you do this.

Setting your Voting Delegate Address

Rocket Pool's governance process uses Snapshot as the platform for hosting governance proposals. Voting on them is done in-browser, via a wallet like MetaMask or a bridge like WalletConnect. Node operators can vote on these proposals using the RPL they have staked (their effective stake).

Since your node's wallet should never leave your node (e.g. you should never import your mnemonic into MetaMask or another wallet), we have set up a system that allows you to delegate your node's voting power to a separate address. This could be another wallet (such as a MetaMask account) that you control, or you could delegate your voting power to one of the Node Operators that have elected to be official delegates.


If you are an Allnodes user, you can use your node account as the voting address and can ignore the following guides. They are intended for normal Smartnode operators.

Setting up a voting delegate address that can vote on behalf of your node is a one-time action. Simply run the following command:

rocketpool node set-voting-delegate <address or ENS name>

The address or ENS name you use depends on whether you are voting yourself or you are delegating your vote to an official delegate. If you are voting yourself, use the address of the wallet you want to use in-browser (e.g. your MetaMask account, your hardware wallet, your Argent wallet, etc.).


As a reminder, DO NOT enter your node's wallet or mnemonic into MetaMask or any other wallet! The voting delegate feature is specifically designed to ensure you have no need to do this, which helps maintain the security of your node!

At anytime, you can reassign your voting power by setting the voting address from your node.

One limitation of Snapshot is that you must have delegated before the proposal you would like to vote on is created. We suggest that you set up your voting address or delegate early so that you don’t miss any proposal votes.

To learn more about how to participate in RocketPool governance, please check out this medium article

Map an ENS Name to your Node Wallet

If you want your node wallet address to be mapped to a human-readable name like alice.eth, follow these steps:

  1. Purchase an ENS name at the official ENS website.

  2. Still at the ENS website, setup the forward resolution for the name, defining which address will be used when someone references your .eth name.

  • Select "My account"
  • Click on the ENS name you want to edit
  • Click on "Add/edit record"
  • Insert your desired ETH address, click "Confirm" and submit the transaction.
  1. After the previous transaction is confirmed, you can use the Smartnode CLI to setup the reverse resolution. This will allow applications to map back from your node wallet address to your .eth name.

Execute the command:

rocketpool wallet set-ens-name <your-ens-name.eth>

This action also requires sending a transaction. You'll need to confirm the desired parameters and submit the transaction.


Make sure you completed step 2 to setup the forward resolution before running the CLI command to setup the reverse resolution. This is a safety measure to stop wallets from trying to impersonate an ENS name they don't control.

  1. After the transaction was successfully included in a block, run rocketpool node status to see that your your wallet is now associated to your ENS name.

Next Steps

The next steps to prepare your node will teach you about setting up a fallback node, how priority fees work, your Fee Distributor and the Smoothing Pool, and MEV. Each topic will require you to make a choice about how you want to run your node. Please move on to the next sections in the guide when you're ready.

Once you're done with those topics, you'll be guided through the process of making a minipool and earning staking rewards.