What is a neuron hotkey and how do I use it?

A Hotkey is a tool that lets you use a different controller to see the balance, maturity, dissolve delay, and other details of a neuron. These keys can be used to perform actions with limited privileges, such as voting, without exposing the secret key corresponding to the principal (e.g., could be a WebAuthn key).

Hotkeys can be used to manage a neuron and provides an alternative to using the principal’s cold key to manage the neuron, which might be more difficult to keep secure, especially if it is used regularly. A hotkey could be a WebAuthn key that is maintained inside a user device, such as a smartphone.


The following actions can be initiated using the principal or a hotkey that has been configured:

  • Vote
  • Have the neuron vote to either adopt or reject a proposal with a specified ID.
  • Follow
  • Add a rule that enables the neuron to vote automatically on proposals that belong to a specific topic, by specifying a group of followee neurons whose majority vote is followed. 


To add a new hotkey to an existing neuron, connect to nns.ic0.app and view the neuron details page. Then click on add hot key. 




You will then be prompted to enter the principal ID of the account you are authorizing to modify the neuron.