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I added a brand new node into the private network, without bootnodes. Over time this node DIDN'T seem to add any peers to talk with. Is that normal and expected?

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Yes it's normal and expected. The P2P protocol requires that you indicate at least a bootnode from which your discovery will start. Bootnode is a venue for new nodes otherwise they can't know where to start searching for peers. There's a list of default bootnode in clients, but as you run a private network, this list isn't useful for your. Depending on the client you use, there may be different ways to turn a node into a bootnode. If you indicate your client and I'll edit my answer.

  • and I guess if a brand new node may end up in limbo in the network without any bootnode. – Bernie G Sep 16 '18 at 20:53
  • @BernieG without peers, your node is as useful as a brick. – Nicolas Massart Sep 16 '18 at 20:57

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