Skip to main content

Secure Distributed Key Generation for Discrete-Log Based Cryptosystems


A Distributed Key Generation (DKG) protocol is an essential component of threshold cryptosystems required to initialize the cryptosystem securely and generate its private and public keys. In the case of discrete-log-based (dlog-based) threshold signature schemes (ElGamal and its derivatives), the DKG protocol is further used in the distributed signature generation phase to generate one-time signature randomizers (r = gk). In this paper we show that a widely used dlog-based DKG protocol suggested by Pedersen does not guarantee a uniformly random distribution of generated keys: we describe an efficient active attacker controlling a small number of parties which successfully biases the values of the generated keys away from uniform. We then present a new DKG protocol for the setting of dlog-based cryptosystems which we prove to satisfy the security requirements from DKG protocols and, in particular, it ensures a uniform distribution of the generated keys. The new protocol can be used as a secure replacement for the many applications of Pedersen's protocol. Motivated by the fact that the new DKG protocol incurs additional communication cost relative to Pedersen's original protocol, we investigate whether the latter can be used in specific applications which require relaxed security properties from the DKG protocol. We answer this question affirmatively by showing that Pedersen's protocol suffices for the secure implementation of certain threshold cryptosystems whose security can be reduced to the hardness of the discrete logarithm problem. In particular, we show Pedersen's DKG to be sufficient for the construction of a threshold Schnorr signature scheme. Finally, we observe an interesting trade-off between security (reductions), computation, and communication that arises when comparing Pedersen's DKG protocol with ours.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Rosario Gennaro, Stanislaw Jarecki, Hugo Krawczyk or Tal Rabin.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Gennaro, R., Jarecki, S., Krawczyk, H. et al. Secure Distributed Key Generation for Discrete-Log Based Cryptosystems. J Cryptology 20, 51–83 (2007).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Signature Scheme
  • Secret Sharing
  • Discrete Logarithm
  • Threshold Scheme
  • Random Oracle Model