We’re excited to announce that our Eth2Signer signing tool has a new name—Web3Signer—to reflect support for multiple protocols, now including Filecoin. In addition to its Ethereum-based capabilities, Web3Signer will now manage the signing operations associated with block signing and consensus in Filecoin’s Lotus client.

The Filecoin Mainnet is expected to launch later in the autumn. We’re excited to support this collaboration between decentralized protocols and bring the Web3Signer tool to a new network and user base. This integration of Filecoin and Ethereum in a signer tool is one of many collaboration opportunities we see going forward for our two communities. Decentralized storage, made possible by networks like Filecoin and IPFS, is a critical part of the growing Web3 stack and the future distributed web. Much of what our users are building on Ethereum can become even more fully decentralized—and therefore accessible and secure—if it is stored on a network like Filecoin rather than a centralized server or cloud service. 

The Web3Signer separates key management from block creation and consensus validation by signing blocks using a secure private key. Web3Signer also functions like a wallet by enabling storage of keys separately from the client or dApp and allows the user to call upon them in order to sign relevant data, such as new blocks. The separation of private keys from the client adds a layer of security to operating in a given protocol and simplifies the burden of key management for the user.

Our integration of Web3Signer with Lotus will improve the Filecoin network’s usability and security when the Mainnet launches. In the case of the Lotus client, keys are used for maintaining the consensus of the network. Filecoin miners can use Web3Signer along with a hardware security module (HSM) to store their FIL keys and safeguard them against malicious attack. Users can secure their private keys in a variety of cloud providers, encrypted on a local disk, or stored in a simple HSM such as the YubiHSM from Yubico or USB Armory devices by F-Secure.

Web3Signer Filecoin integration

Web3Signer supports a number of Filecoin APIs such as WalletSign, WalletSignMessage, WalletHas, and WalletList. Using these APIs, requests are received by Web3Signer, which then interacts with a keystore—such as an HSM—to retrieve keys and carry out the signing operation. Web3Signer sends the completed request back to the Lotus client for processing, providing a simple, secure interface for Filecoin miners to manage and maintain their keys.

Web3Signer is ready for Filecoin miners to use when Mainnet launches and will soon be available on the Space Race incentivized testnet, which is currently live and already supports 146 PiB in storage power. The Web3Signer tool will be critical for Filecoin miners and users on the network from day one. We encourage members of the Filecoin community—and interested Ethereum users!—to get involved.

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