Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.


nix key generate-secret - generate a secret key for signing store paths


nix key generate-secret [option...]


  • Generate a new secret key:

    # nix key generate-secret --key-name cache.example.org-1 > ./secret-key

    We can then use this key to sign the closure of the Hello package:

    # nix build nixpkgs#hello
    # nix store sign --key-file ./secret-key --recursive ./result

    Finally, we can verify the store paths using the corresponding public key:

    # nix store verify --trusted-public-keys $(nix key convert-secret-to-public < ./secret-key) ./result


This command generates a new Ed25519 secret key for signing store paths and prints it on standard output. Use nix key convert-secret-to-public to get the corresponding public key for verifying signed store paths.

The mandatory argument --key-name specifies a key name (such as cache.example.org-1). It is used to look up keys on the client when it verifies signatures. It can be anything, but it’s suggested to use the host name of your cache (e.g. cache.example.org) with a suffix denoting the number of the key (to be incremented every time you need to revoke a key).


Both secret and public keys are represented as the key name followed by a base-64 encoding of the Ed25519 key data, e.g.



  • --key-name name
    Identifier of the key (e.g. cache.example.org-1).