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SDK Authentication

Authenticating using a JSON Web Token (JWT)

To communicate with the Atomic Platform using one of the SDKs, the host app is required to supply a JSON Web Token (JWT) to the SDK. This JWT identifies the user and is verified by the Atomic API.

Before making a request to the Atomic Platform, the SDK asks the host app for a JWT to use for the request. It is up to the host app to determine how often these tokens should be refreshed, cached and stored on the device. If the JWT you supply is invalid, or fails verification, the SDK displays the appropriate error messaging.

Details on how to supply this JWT to each SDK is available in the installation guide for each SDK.

Video walkthrough

The following video will walk you through how to easily configure authentication in the Atomic SDKs:

Video password: sdk-auth


To allow customers to authenticate with the Atomic system without a password, we support JWT authentication. Sending a JWT signed with a private key/public key pair that you control, lets us know that it really was you that requested a user be logged in to our system.

It is recommended that you only issue a JWT to your user once they have been verified as logged in by your existing authentication systems. Because of the requirement to sign tokens with a private key you must sign tokens in a secure server-side implementation.

JWT requirements and validation

The Atomic Platform will make the following checks:

  • The token issuer is in the allowed values as configured in the Workbench
  • The token has an expiry set of 7 days or less
  • The token has not expired

Generating a JWT

Generating a JWT consists of the following steps:

Step 1 - Supply User ID

Every unique user in your system must have a distinct ID, which is supplied in a JWT to the Atomic Platform via our client-side SDKs. This ID tells the Atomic Platform which user is actioning or requesting cards, and determines which user's cards should be returned to the SDKs.

The user ID is supplied in the sub field, or atomic_sub if you wish to use a separate ID for Atomic in your existing JWT:

"sub": "1234567890",
"name": "Joe Bloggs"

In the above example, the user ID 1234567890 is a unique identifier for the user "Joe Bloggs". When sending an API request, this would be the ID you supply in the object.

Step 2 - Generate a private/public key pair

You can create a private/public key pair by running the following commands one by one in your terminal:

# Creates the key pair without having to provide a passphrase
ssh-keygen -t rsa -P "" -b 4096 -E SHA512 -m PEM -f jwtRS512.key

# Convert the generated public key into the required PEM format
ssh-keygen -e -m PEM -f jwtRS512.key >

# Show the contents of the public key - it should start with the heading -----BEGIN RSA PUBLIC KEY----

# Copy the contents of the public key to your clipboard - you need it in step 3
# For example, on MacOS you can use the pbcopy utility:
pbcopy <

Step 3 - Upload your public key to the Atomic Workbench

Atomic will use the provided public key to confirm that JWTs were signed by you. Log in to the Workbench and add your public key there.

  • From the Configuration menu in the Workbench sidebar, choose 'API Keys' under SDK.
  • Select New key.
  • Create a name for your key e.g. production-environment-1. The name you have chosen is your API key.
  • Paste in your public key and click Add.

The API key you choose above must be passed to the SDK on initialisation. This allows the Atomic Platform to determine which public key should be used to verify the JWT you provide.

More information on how to pass your API key to the SDK is available in the corresponding section for your chosen SDK(s):

Step 4 - Sign a JWT with your private key

This step will be different for each specific language and platform. Please see the libraries section to find a library suitable for your platform.

You will need to provide the following mandatory fields in the token, set in specific ways for the Atomic platform:

Field nameAccepted value
[atomic_]subThe user ID for the logged in user, as per step 1. The [atomic_] prefix is optional.
algorithmYou may only use RS256, RS512 or ES512 for signing the token.
expYou must include an expiry timestamp, no more than 7 days in the future. Note this should be a number, not a string.
iatYour token must include an issued at timestamp. Note this should be a number, not a string.
Tokens are not encrypted

Do not put sensitive user information inside the token. Although JWT tokens are signed securely, they are not encrypted.

Below is an example of signing the JWT in Node.js using jsonwebtoken :

const fs = require("fs-extra");
const jwt = require("jsonwebtoken");

const privateKey = await fs.readFile(PRIVATE_KEY_PATH, "utf8");
const id = "unique identifier for your user";
const token = jwt.sign({ sub: id }, privateKey, {
expiresIn: "3d",
algorithm: "RS512",

Step 5 - Pass the JWT to the SDK

Once a token has been signed and sent to the user, you can pass it to the respective platform SDK to authenticate requests. See the SDK documentation for your respective platform for more details: