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Taming the Many EdDSAs

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNSC,volume 12529)


This paper analyses security of concrete instantiations of EdDSA by identifying exploitable inconsistencies between standardization recommendations and Ed25519 implementations. We mainly focus on current ambiguity regarding signature verification equations, binding and malleability guarantees, and incompatibilities between randomized batch and single verification. We give a formulation of Ed25519 signature scheme that achieves the highest level of security, explaining how each step of the algorithm links with the formal security properties. We develop optimizations to allow for more efficient secure implementations. Finally, we designed a set of edge-case test-vectors and run them by some of the most popular Ed25519 libraries. The results allowed to understand the security level of those implementations and showed that most libraries do not comply with the latest standardization recommendations. The methodology allows to test compatibility of different Ed25519 implementations which is of practical importance for consensus-driven applications.


  • EdDSA
  • Ed25519
  • Malleability
  • Blockchain
  • Cofactor

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-64357-7_4
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Fig. 1.


  1. 1.

    Cofactored means interpreting the verification equation modulo 8, which is a cofactor of the Curve25519. Any signature accepted by a “cofactorless” equation will be accepted by a “cofactored” equation, though the converse is false.

  2. 2.

    Note that a malicious signer can always bypass the correct signing execution by picking a random R and thus output two different signatures for the same message. Thus, EdDSA cannot guarantee the signature-uniqueness property.

  3. 3.

    The least significant three bits of the scalar are unset to allow using the same secret key in the DH-key agreement, where the EC point of another party is raised to the secret key. Raising to the exponent divisible by 8 there erases the small-subgroup component and defends against attacks that exploit the non-trivial co-factor of 8. The most significant bit is unset to make sure that the number is indeed the multiple of 8 and was not wrapped around the modulus. The second most significant bit is being set to prevent variable-time implementation of multiplication that first looks for the first most significant bit that is set. Note however that the secret key has 251 pseudo-random bits and is not uniformly random mod a 253-bits prime L, though this loss of a few bits of random bits is deemed acceptable.

  4. 4.

    The incompatibility in semantics between batch verification and cofactorless single verification was known in the form of cryptography community folklore  [29], but not laid out precisely.

  5. 5.

    For much of the same reasons, cofactorless verification is incompatible with a method for fast (single) signature verification initially suggested by Antipa et al.  [1] and recently made practical by Pornin  [32], yielding speedups of about 15% on single signature verification. In essence, this method relies on mutualizing point doublings involved in checking a linear combination of the verification equation using a carefully-chosen scalar. As this check’s outcome should not depend on the ability of the scalar to clear small components in the equation, which is only achievable if the verification equation is cofactored.

  6. 6.

    Pull request to Libra:, merged Sep 11, 2019.

  7. 7.

    Pull request to Dalek:, merged Dec 5, 2019.


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The authors would like to thank the reviewers of this paper for comments that greatly improved its contribution. We would also like to thank Yashvanth Kondi and Isis Lovecruft for fruitful discussions on the topic of this paper, and Rob Starkey, Yolan Romailler, Irakliy Khaburzaniya, and Rajath Shanbag for contributing to running our test vectors against EdDSA implementations.

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Correspondence to Valeria Nikolaenko .

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Appendix A Test Vectors Breaking the Non-repudiation

The test vector in Table 6a attacks the non-repudiation property of Ed25519 signature scheme with a small-order public key and a signature that is valid for two meaningful messages.

Appendix B Serialized Small Order Points

Table 6b shows 14 possible serializations of small order points. The ordering of the points match the ordering in Table 1 of Sect. 3.

Appendix C Test Vectors

The test vectors discussed in Sect. 5 are given in little-endian hex-encoded format in Table 6c.

Table 6. Hex-encoded vectors.

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Chalkias, K., Garillot, F., Nikolaenko, V. (2020). Taming the Many EdDSAs. In: van der Merwe, T., Mitchell, C., Mehrnezhad, M. (eds) Security Standardisation Research. SSR 2020. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 12529. Springer, Cham.

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