Help with how to take control over a node operated by an operator


I need help or suggestion of what to do…

We had an operator that build for us a staking pool, while he did that.
I’ve learned myself how to do it and build a staking pool myself using the coincashew tutorial, which won the first block today :slight_smile:

That operator became non responsive so we decided to take control over the server, We didn’t had control at all including access to it.

Now I want to update the staking pool with some changed information like the relay URL using registration-certificate.

The server contain only these keys

  • stake pool cold key (node.cert)
  • stake pool hot key (kes.skey)
  • stake pool VRF key (vrf.skey)

I thought I can regenerate those keys and re-submit but I guess this is not true, I’m guessing for security reasons the operator took node.skey and node.vkey into a offline device.

Can you please help figure out what I should do? in case we cannot communicate with the operator anymore, and we want control over our staking pool.

Another note:
In case I was wrong and it’s possible to regenerate the node keys. I did tried to apply the changes with registration-certificate.
I got the following similar error.
command failed: transaction submit Error: Error while submitting tx: ApplyTxError with ValueNotConservedUTxO

When I calculated the numbers it was a 500ADA difference which equal to a deposit “Missing”, the deposit itself was done by the operator, which asked us to send to a different address.

Thank you!

I does not really sound a good idea to continue the pool if a person which you not trust any more has all the keys. The person could move out pledge at any time or update pool parameters. You cannot invalidate the existing keys. So unfortunately I think it is not a good idea to continue on this existing pool.

node.cert is an operational certificate, it is not your stake pool cold keys.

The bare minimum cold keys to update your pool are:

  • cold.vkey
  • cold.skey

From these keys you can generate all necessary keys, once updated you will need to wait two epochs before the changes will take effect. You can query the ledger directly to view pending and applied changes.

It is considered best practice not to store these on a server, but rather on a air-gapped machine instead.

Without the bare minimum cold keys, you cannot make changes to your pool except moving your pledge.

Thank you both for the quick reply, so from what I understand without the cold keys (Which we don’t have and we can’t regenerate them again for the same pool),

What would be the best move in order to continue?
We need to build a new staking pool and move the pledge there?

This staking pool already won 2 blocks. I’m guessing I can’t even retire the pool because I don’t have the cold keys.

Thank you!

Correct, you will need to create a new pool and move the pledge.

It is my understanding that inactive pools are eventually removed from SMASH but I’m not sure if the blockchain will retire the pool and return the deposit automatically.

I dont think so. The 500 ADA deposit will be returned to the rewards adress after the retirement is executed. Without retirement there is not return of the deposit.