fabric-network: Using wallets to manage identities

This tutorial describes how to use wallets to manage identities used to connect to a Hyperledger Fabric network.


A wallet provides an interface for storing and accessing identity information, backed by a persistent (or non-persistent) store of your choice. Identity information stored in a wallet can be used to connect to a Hyperledger Fabric network.

Creating a wallet

A wallet is backed by a wallet store, which is responsible only for storing and retrieving data. Several different store implementations are provided for convenience:

  • In-memory: Non-persistent store. Useful for testing.
  • File system: Stores identity information in a directory on the local file system.
  • CouchDB: Stores identity information in a CouchDB database.

Wallets using default store implementations are created using static factory functions on the Wallets class, for example:

const wallet = await Wallets.newFileSystemWallet('/path/to/wallet/directory');

You can write your own custom wallet store to suit your deployment environment by implementing the WalletStore interface. A wallet backed by a custom wallet store implementation is created as follows:

const walletStore = new MyCustomWalletStore();
const wallet = new Wallet(walletStore);

Storing identity information in a wallet

An identity is a set of information and credentials required to connect to a Hyperledger Fabric network. This information is described as a simple JavaScript object using a well-defined format, including the Member Services Provider associated with the user and a type identifier that indicates the type of credentials contained in the identity. Two identity types are supported by default:

  • X.509: X.509 certificate and private key in PEM format.
  • HSM-X.509: X.509 certificate in PEM format, with the private key stored in a Hardware Security Module.

Once an identity object has been created from credentials supplied to you by your administrator or certificate authority, it can be stored and retreived from a wallet using an arbitrary label to locate the identity within the wallet, for example:

const identity: X509Identity = {
    credentials: {
        certificate: 'PEM format certificate string',
        privateKey: 'PEM format private key string',
    mspId: 'wonderland',
    type: 'X.509',
await wallet.put('alice', identity);

Note that a wallet may contain identities of varying types so, in TypeScript, indentity information retrieved from the wallet is typed as Identity (or undefined if the identity does not exist in the wallet) and will need to be cast to its specific subtype to access type-specific information, for example:

const identity = await wallet.get('alice');
if (identity && identity.type === 'X.509') {
	const privateKey = (identity as X509Identity).credentials.privateKey;

Using a Hardware Security Module

The SDK uses the PKCS #11 interface to make use of Hardware Security Module (HSM) devices for key management. Identities using an HSM-managed private key are similar to an X.509 identity but with the private key omitted. The certificate is used to generate an SKI from the public key to locate HSM managed keys. HSM managed keys need to have their label or ID set to this SKI in order for the object to be located in the HSM. In order to use HSM-managed identities the containing wallet must be configured with details of the HSM that holds the private key. This is achieved by registering an IdentityProvider with the wallet, for example:

const hsmProvider = new HsmX509Provider({
    lib: '/path/to/hsm-specific/pkcs11/library',
    pin: '1234567890',
    label: 'tokenLabel',

Once the wallet has been confgured with details of the HSM, the crypto suite being used by the provider may be assigned to a new fabric certificate authority instance. The crypto suite will have been initialized with the hsmProvider option values ( lib, pin, label ) and it has opened a session with the HSM.

const hsmCAClient = new FabricCAClient(
    {trustedRoots: [], verify: false};,
    'ca-org1', hsmProvider.getCryptoSuite()
const enrollmentResults = await hsmCAClient.enroll(options);

HSM-managed identities can be stored and retreived from the wallet. When storing an indentity, use the actual key returned in the enrollment. This key will contain all the information needed for the identity's credentials to be access on the HSM for signing requests.

const identity: HsmX509Identity = {
    credentials: {
       certificate: enrollmentResults.certificate,
          // PEM format certificate string
    mspId: 'org1',
    type: 'HSM-X.509',
await wallet.put('bob', identity);

slot configuration option

The HsmX509Provider still supports the use of the slot configuration option as follows

const hsmProvider = new HsmX509Provider({
    lib: '/path/to/hsm-specific/pkcs11/library',
    pin: '1234567890',
    slot: 0,

however this mechanism has problems in that if you initialise multiple slots then some HSM providers do not guarantee the order of the slot list and the slot value is just an index into this slot list which could result in unexpected behaviour.

slot remains available for backward compatibility only but it's recommended that you use the label mechanism instead