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Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2013 21:53:14 +0100
From: Jean-Philippe Aumasson <>
Subject: password hashing competition?

Hello crypt-dev,

this is a follow-up to
and in particular to Solar Designer's suggestion to join this list (thanks!).

As I'm new to the list, let me briefly introduce myself: I've done
some research in cryptanalysis and (co-)designed the SHA3 finalist
BLAKE, and more recently SipHash and BLAKE2 (more on and

So what about this (naive?) idea of a competition? Well we've already
had block ciphers (AES), stream ciphers (eSTREAM), hash functions
(SHA-3), and very soon authenticated ciphers (TBD). Although I'm far
from an expert when it comes to password hashing schemes, my feeling
is that it's the most understudied cryptographic object, and at the
same time the most needed today. There's just been only a handful of
proposals, it's mostly ignored by academic research, and a number of
people seems to have promising idea to do better. Perfect context for
starting a new competition!

"But we already have scrypt!": well, IMHO scrypt was quite a
revolutionary design, but I tend to see it rather as a first step in
the right direction rather than as the end of the road.

Obviously organizing such a competition---or however we call
it---creates a number of challenges: who decides of the winner(s), how
should the call for submissions look like, what's the right time
frame, etc. But these issues can be solved as long as there's a
critical mass of commited people.

Is this a silly idea?


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