Feb 04, 2019

Algorand Contributes to 4 Post-Quantum Standards Entering the 2nd Round of National Institute of Standards and Technology Competition

By: Sergey Gorbunov

A blockchain is a tamper-proof append-only log to which anyone can read and write. Moreover, it must remain tamper-proof for many years to come, so that even future adversaries cannot modify its state. So we need to think about future potential adversaries early on. One class of such adversaries comes from the emerging rise of quantum computers. Quantum computers could help us solve hard problems efficiently. At the same time, quantum computers can break many classical crypto schemes (such as RSA, ECC, ECDH) using Shor’s algorithm.

Everyone who works in cryptography understands that it takes time to build, agree upon, standardize and deploy new schemes. To help prepare for this threat, in 2016, NIST announced a call for proposals to identify cryptographic algorithms that should remain secure even against quantum computers. NIST expects to standardize multiple algorithms as a result of this process.

Algorand Post-Quantum Cryptography Standards

In Nov. 2017, NIST received 80 submissions for the first round of evaluation. 

After 13 months of careful examination from both NIST and the wider cryptography community, last week NIST identified 26 algorithms to enter the second round.

As an effort to maintain our thought leadership in next-generation cryptography, and as a commitment to continuous innovation, we are proud to announce that Algorand’s cryptography engineer Zhenfei Zhang contributed to 4 candidate algorithms (that is 15% of second-round candidates) for NIST second round, in collaboration with industrial partners (such as Cisco, IBM research, Philips) and universities (such as Brown University, Chinese Academy of science, École Normale Supérieure, University of Waterloo):

Falcon: Website
LAC: Paper
NTRU: GithubChrome experiment
Round5: WebsitePaper

Congratulations Zhenfei, and looking forward to seeing more news from this standardization effort!