Boring crypto that simply works

X25519 key exchange (Public Key Cryptography)

#include <monocypher.h>

crypto_x25519(uint8_t raw_shared_secret[32], const uint8_t your_secret_key[32], const uint8_t their_public_key[32]);

crypto_x25519_public_key(uint8_t your_public_key[32], const uint8_t your_secret_key[32]);

crypto_x25519_dirty_fast(uint8_t your_public_key[32], const uint8_t your_secret_key[32]);

crypto_x25519_dirty_small(uint8_t your_public_key[32], const uint8_t your_secret_key[32]);

crypto_x25519_inverse(uint8_t blind_salt[32], const uint8_t private_key[32], const uint8_t curve_point[32]);

crypto_x25519_to_eddsa(uint8_t eddsa[32], const uint8_t x25519[32]);

() performs an X25519 key exchange between your_secret_key and their_public_key. It is a low-level building block for protocols such as X3DH. () Generates a public key from a secret key. The arguments are:

The shared secret, known only to those who know a relevant secret key (yours or theirs). It is not cryptographically random. Do not use it directly as a key. Hash it concatenated with your_public_key and their_public_key using crypto_blake2b() for key derivation.
A 32-byte secret random number. See intro() for advice about generating random bytes (use the operating system's random number generator).
Your public key, generated by crypto_x25519_public_key().
The public key of the other party.

raw_shared_secret and your_secret_key may overlap if your secret is no longer required.

Some protocols, such as some password-authenticated key exchange (PAKE) protocols and oblivious pseudo-random functions (OPRF), may require “contributory” behaviour, which ensures that no untrusted party forces the shared secret to a known constant. If a protocol requires contributory behaviour, compare the output of () to an all-zero buffer using crypto_verify32(), then abort the protocol if the output and the all-zero buffer are equal.

Do not use the same secret key for both key exchanges and signatures. The public keys are different and revealing both may leak information. If there really is no room to store or derive two different secret keys, consider generating a key pair for signatures and then converting the private half with crypto_blake2b() or crypto_sha512(), and the public half with crypto_eddsa_to_x25519(). Or go the other way and implement XEdDSA with the help of ().

crypto_x25519() and crypto_x25519_public_key() return nothing.

The following example assumes the existence of arc4random_buf(), which fills the given buffer with cryptographically secure random bytes. If arc4random_buf() does not exist on your system, see intro() for advice about how to generate cryptographically secure random bytes.

Generate a pair of shared keys with your secret key and their public key (this can help nonce management for full duplex communications).

const uint8_t their_pk     [32]; /* Their public key          */
uint8_t       your_sk      [32]; /* Your secret key           */
uint8_t       your_pk      [32]; /* Your public key           */
uint8_t       shared_secret[32]; /* Shared secret (NOT a key) */
arc4random_buf(your_sk, 32);
crypto_x25519_public_key(your_pk, your_sk);
crypto_x25519(shared_secret, your_sk, their_pk);
/* Wipe secrets if they are no longer needed */
crypto_wipe(your_sk, 32);

uint8_t shared_keys[64]; /* Two shared session keys */
crypto_blake2b_ctx ctx;
crypto_blake2b_init  (&ctx, 64);
crypto_blake2b_update(&ctx, shared_secret, 32);
crypto_blake2b_update(&ctx, your_pk      , 32);
crypto_blake2b_update(&ctx, their_pk     , 32);
crypto_blake2b_final (&ctx, shared_keys);
const uint8_t *key_1 = shared_keys;      /* Shared key 1 */
const uint8_t *key_2 = shared_keys + 32; /* Shared key 2 */
/* Wipe secrets if they are no longer needed */
crypto_wipe(shared_secret, 32);

The () function performs the scalar multiplication of the multiplicative inverse of a scalar for X25519. It is basically the reverse of crypto_x25519():

uint8_t b    [32];       /* Random scalar                        */
uint8_t base [32];       /* Point on the prime order subgroup    */
crypto_x25519_public_key(base, b);

uint8_t private_key[32]; /* Random secret key                    */
uint8_t curve_point[32]; /* Point on the prime order subgroup    */
uint8_t blind_salt [32];
crypto_x25519(curve_point, private_key, base);
crypto_x25519_inverse(blind_salt, private_key, curve_point);
assert(memcmp(blind_salt, base, 32) == 0); /* blind_salt == base */

We can think of it as a scalar division that also clears the cofactor. The arguments are:

The output point. Guaranteed to be on the prime order subgroup. The only possible low order result is a buffer full of zeroes.
The private key (scalar) to use. It is clamped, inverted modulo the prime order of Curve25519, cleared of its cofactor, and finally used to multiply curve_point.
The curve point to divide by private_key.

() and () do the same as crypto_x25519_public_key(), with one key difference: they also add a low order point to the public key. Such public keys can be on the curve, rather than just the main prime-order subgroup. Yet they are fully compatible with crypto_x25519(), and will generate the same shared secrets as regular public keys. . Only use them for ephemeral keys that need to be hidden as random noise, in conjunction with crypto_elligator_rev().

Both functions do the same with different code size and memory characteristics: () uses multiple large temporary variables and functions that are normally used internally for crypto_eddsa_sign(). Accordingly, it uses both more stack memory and more code (unless the signing code is already compiled in elsewhere). () yields the same result with less code, less memory, and about twice as much time as crypto_x25519_dirty_fast().

The crypto_x25519_to_eddsa() converts an X25519 public key to the corresponding EdDSA public key. The sign bit of the resulting EdDSa key is set to zero (positive). This can be used to implement the XEdDSA protocol from Signal.


This function implements X25519, described in RFC 7748.

The crypto_x25519() and crypto_x25519_public_key() functions first appeared in Monocypher 0.1. The crypto_x25519_inverse(), crypto_x25519_dirty_fast(), crypto_x25519_dirty_small(), and crypto_x25519_to_eddsa() functions first appeared in Monocypher 3.1.0.

Monocypher does not perform any input validation. Any deviation from the specified input and output length ranges results in . Make sure your inputs are correct.

If either of the long-term secret keys leaks, it may compromise . This can be avoided by using protocols that provide forward secrecy, such as the X3DH key agreement protocol.

Many (private, public) key pairs produce the same shared secret. Therefore, not including the public keys in the key derivation can lead to subtle vulnerabilities. This can be avoided by hashing the shared secret concatenated with both public keys. For example,

BLAKE2b(shared_secret || your_pk || their_pk)
using crypto_blake2b().

The most significant bit of the public key is systematically ignored. It is not needed because every public key should be smaller than 2^255-19, which fits in 255 bits. If another implementation of X25519 gives you a key that is not fully reduced and has its high bit set, the computation will fail. On the other hand, it also means you may use this bit for other purposes (such as parity flipping for Ed25519 compatibility).

January 26, 2023 Debian