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What makes an Ethereum network private?

  • 1) Is the networkid alone enough?
  • 2) Or is it necessary that the network be on a VPN?
  • 3) Or does it have to be within a LAN?
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Usually private network, in the context of Ethereum, means it doesn't have public access allowed, or it is restricted somehow.

As you say it can done through several ways like runnig in a LAN without connection to external nodes. Or within a WAN, connecting external nodes trough a VPN. It can also run in the Internet, but only allow connections from a set of know bootnodes and reject everything else.

The networkid is only used to separate different networks. So transactions from one network will not be accepted in another. You can use a public network id for your private network but if you try to connect that node to the public network it will be rejected and blacklisted, so it is better to not reuse a public network id.

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    Note that networkID is not present inside the TX, so you can actually use the exact same TX on EVERY ethereum network. This is why you can use, for example, the same TX on the mainnet or on the many testnets around. – Giuseppe Bertone Aug 25 '17 at 17:59
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The term "ethereum private network" is mainly used to distinguish an ethereum network that is NOT the public ethereum network (mainnet). Typically an ethereum private network has its own genesis block that is different than the one used in mainnet and has a different network id. An ethereum private network can run on any kind of network (public, private, VPN, LAN, etc).

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