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Custom Cryptographic Solutions with Formal Security Guarantees


Modern web applications routinely rely on standardized cryptographic protocols and algorithms to protect sensitive user data. Furthermore, with the advent of blockchains, the imminence of quantum computers, and widespread concerns about privacy in an era of surveillance and machine learning algorithms, enterprises are increasingly turning to sophisticated non-standard cryptographic solutions customized for specific usage scenarios. Unfortunately, cryptographic design and implementation is notoriously error-prone with a long history of design flaws, implementation bugs, and high-profile attacks. This leaves software companies with a difficult choice: every time they deploy a new crypto standard or an innovative cryptographic application that improves the security and privacy of their users, they risk exposing embarrassing flaws in their design or code.

The research results of ERC Circus offer a way out of this conundrum by advocating the use of formal verification to build cryptographic software with machine-checked proofs of security and correctness. A landmark output from this project is HACL*, a verified high-performance cryptographic library which is currently used by mainstream software like Mozilla Firefox, Linux Kernel, Tezos Blockchain, and ElectionGuard. We propose to establish a company (called Cryspen) that will transition the research software developed in ERC Circus towards a production-quality ready-to-use verified cryptographic software stack. In addition, Cryspen will offer a developer-friendly verification framework that can be used to build new custom cryptographic solutions in C, Rust, and JavaScript. The goal of this Proof-of-Concept proposal is to fund the initial technical transfer of research software to Cryspen and the business development of this company. Once this transfer is complete, Cryspen will be able to offer long-term service contracts to existing and new users of HACL*, and offer software contracts to enterprises interested in deploying verified cryptographic software.


Net EU contribution
€ 150 000,00
Domaine De Voluceau Rocquencourt
78153 Le Chesnay Cedex

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Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Yvelines
Activity type
Research Organisations
Non-EU contribution
No data