About Sawtooth Networks

In a Sawtooth network, each host system (physical computer, virtual machine, set of Docker containers, or Kubernetes pod) is a Sawtooth node that runs one validator, an optional REST API, a consensus engine, and a set of transaction processors.

The first node creates the genesis block, which specifies the initial on-chain settings for the network. The other nodes access those settings when they join the network.


The example environment includes the Sawtooth REST API on all validator nodes. However, an application could provide a custom REST API (or no REST API). See Sawtooth Supply Chain for an example of a custom REST API.

This environment also runs a consensus engine on each node. The consensus engine could run on a separate system, as long as it is reachable from the Sawtooth node. This guide does not describe how to set up a consensus engine on a different system.

A Sawtooth network has the following requirements:

  • Each node must run the same consensus engine. The procedures in this guide show you how to configure PBFT or PoET consensus. For more information, see About Dynamic Consensus.

  • Each node must run the same set of transaction processors as all other nodes in the network.

  • Each node must advertise a routable address. The Docker and Kubernetes platforms provide preconfigured settings. For the Ubuntu platform, you must configure network settings before starting the validator.

  • The authorization type must be the same on all nodes: either trust (default) or challenge. This application development environment uses trust authorization.

  • The first node on the network must create the genesis block, which includes the on-chain configuration settings that will be available to the other nodes when they join the network.


The first Sawtooth node on the network has no special meaning, other than being the node that created the genesis block. Sawtooth has no concept of a “head node” or “master node”. Once multiple nodes are up and running, each node has the same genesis block and treats all other nodes as peers.