Cryptographic primitives ‘SECP256k1’ comes to Cardano

  • Cardano is working to bring cryptographic primitives like ECDSA and Schnorr signatures to its smart contracts platform Plutus.
  • This will help for faster DApp development on Cardano with greater security and efficiency.

The Cardano development team is taking every step in expanding the platform’s ecosystem. In the latest development, they have introduced cryptographic primitives for enabling secure, cross-chain DApps development.

Every blockchain network majorly relies on cryptography to bring trust and security to its participants. The cryptographic primitives introduced by Cardano will serve as building blocks for DApp developers to conduct secure transactions that contain sensitive data. They also help in developing custom encryption and decryption algorithms while validating them by using digital signatures.

Over the last decade, Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) is the most widely used primitive for developing secure applications and cryptographic protocols. SECP, or SECP256k1 in particular, is the name of the elliptic curve. Popular blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum use this curve to implement public key cryptography.

Schnorr signatures and the Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) are examples of SECP. Along with the elliptic curve25519, Cardano uses the Edwards-curve Digital Signature Algorithm (EdDSA) as its native signature algorithm.

This is because ECDSA and Schnorr aren’t native to the Cardano blockchain. As a result, Plutus DApp developers working with other blockchains have to put in more effort, time, and funds to implement the SECP Elliptic curves in Plutus. This considerably increases security risks. Besides, since ECDSA and Schnorr aren’t built-in functions for Cardano, such operations are also more time-consuming and expensive.

Introducing ECDSA and Schnorr to Plutus

In order to solve this issue, Cardano’s parent group Input Output Global (IOG) will be introducing built-in functions for ECDSA and Schnorr to Cardano’s native smart contracts platform, Plutus. This will allow DApp developers to effectively build cross-chain applications.

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These built-in functions will now become native to the Cardano blockchain and will also provide the highest level of security. Also, the Plutus developer will be able to expand the choice of multi-signature or threshold signature design to use. Schnorr-based designs are quite popular in the DApp industry and so it is essential to bring them to the Cardano blockchain. The official announcement from Cardano reads:

After the new cryptographic primitives implementation, Plutus will be able to easily verify transactions from other blockchains using ECDSA and Schnorr standards. For example, Plutus will be able to natively verify signatures generated in EVM sidechains, which will improve the developer experience in terms of process simplicity, cost, and advanced security.

The cryptographic primitives will considerably improve the process of secure cross-chain DApp development on the Cardano network. The faster development of the DApp ecosystem on Cardano will also lead to greater usability of its native crypto ADA.

As of press time, ADA is trading at $0.41 with a market cap of $13.8 billion. We believe that over a period of time, these developments if done right, will certainly help the ADA price reach new highs.