[curves] CFRG's 25519 proposal

Trevor Perrin trevp at trevp.net
Thu Nov 27 06:40:11 PST 2014

So the latest "new curves" idea from IETF's CFRG (which is considering
curves to recommend for TLS) is to use the 25519 field prime with a
minor tweak to a different "A" value.


Of course, this breaks compatibility with existing 25519 uses: Tor,
iOS,OpenSSH, GnuPG, TextSecure, WhatsApp, NaCl and its many users:
(Pond, Threema, CryptoCat, CurveZMQ), and so on.

I imagine most of these projects won't change.  (I work on TextSecure,
and we won't replace keys and code for a meaningless tweak like this).
So this would fragment the 25519 landscape into 2 curves, both of
which require support indefinitely.

It's hard for me to understand this proposal.  My guess is Microsoft
has invested a bunch of time in proposing new curves and is insistent
that they get to put some stamp on the result. And I guess Google's
gotten tired of IETF's curve dithering, and only cares about TLS, so
is willing to concede.

But given the larger context of 25519 adoption, which includes a lot
more protocols than just TLS, and where DJB's existing 25519 curve has
significant traction, this seems like a terrible idea.

Anyone disagree?


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