Generally, validator keystore files are generated alongside a mnemonic. If the keystore and/or the keystore password are lost this mnemonic can regenerate a new, equivalent keystore with a new password.
There are two ways to recover keys using the
lighthouse account validator recover: recover one or more EIP-2335 keystores from a mnemonic. These keys can be used directly in a validator client.
lighthouse account wallet recover: recover an EIP-2386 wallet from a mnemonic.
Recovering validator keys from a mnemonic should only be used as a last resort. Key recovery entails significant risks:
- Exposing your mnemonic to a computer at any time puts it at risk of being compromised. Your mnemonic is not encrypted and is a target for theft.
- It's completely possible to regenerate a validator keypairs that is already active on some other validator client. Running the same keypairs on two different validator clients is very likely to result in slashing.
A single mnemonic can generate a practically unlimited number of validator keystores using an index. Generally, the first time you generate a keystore you'll use index 0, the next time you'll use index 1, and so on. Using the same index on the same mnemonic always results in the same validator keypair being generated (see EIP-2334 for more detail).
lighthouse account validator recover command you can generate the
keystores that correspond to one or more indices in the mnemonic:
lighthouse account validator recover: recover only index
lighthouse account validator recover --count 2: recover indices
lighthouse account validator recover --first-index 1: recover only index
lighthouse account validator recover --first-index 1 --count 2: recover indices
For each of the indices recovered in the above commands, a directory will be
created in the
--validator-dir location (default
which contains all the information necessary to run a validator using the
lighthouse vc command. The password to this new keystore will be placed in
Instead of creating EIP-2335 keystores directly, an EIP-2386 wallet can be
generated from the mnemonic. This wallet can then be used to generate validator
keystores, if desired. For example, the following command will create an
encrypted wallet named
wally-recovered from a mnemonic:
lighthouse account wallet recover --name wally-recovered
⚠️ Warning: the wallet will be created with a
nextaccount value of
This means that if you have already generated
n validators, then the next
validators generated by this wallet will be duplicates. As mentioned
previously, running duplicate validators is likely to result in slashing.