[Libre-soc-dev] Fwd: NLnet cryotoprimitives grant approved

Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton lkcl at lkcl.net
Tue Aug 10 13:54:55 BST 2021

with many thanks to NLnet, the EUR 50,000 grant to research and
develop Draft cryptographic primitives and instructions to the
newly-open Power ISA has been approved.

unlike RISC-V where full transparency and trust is problematic and
there are many participants whose interests may not necessarily align,
the OpenPOWER initiative, which has been in careful planning for
nearly 10 years, is a much less crowded space and, crucially, does not
require non-transparent membership of OPF in order to submit ISA RFCs
(Requests for Change)

[non-OPF members cannot participate in actual ISA WG meetings and
certainly cannot vote on RFCs, but they can at least submit them.
whereas whilst the RISC-V Foundation's Commercial Confidence
Requirements are perfectly reasonable, the blanket secrecy even for
submitting RFCs is not]

we at Libre-SOC aim to use this process, based on taking apart key
strategic cryptographic algorithms back to their mathematical roots,
then applying Vector ISA design analysis and seeing what can be

examples include going back to the fundamental basis of Rijndael, and
instead of creating hardcoded custom silicon for MixColumns as is the
"normal" practice, adding a generic Galois Field ALU and a generic
Matrix Multiply system.  another is to design instructions suitable
for "big integer math"

this in turn means that the resultant ISA would be ideally suited to
the experimental development of future cryptographic algorithms for
use in securing wallets and other purposes related to blockchain

[as bitcoin stands we cannot possibly hope to compete with custom
silicon dedicated to SHA hash production, however we would very much
like to see a future version of bitcoin that uses far less power yet
retains its high strategic value, and, at the same time, like e.g.
monero RandomX, is better suited to a general-purpose Vector
Supercomputer ISA, which is what we are developing]

OpenPOWER's commitment to a transparent RFC process allows us to do
that without compromising trust: no discussions that we participate in
will ever be behind closed doors.

if anyone would be interested to participate or collaborate on this,
we have funding available, and welcome involvement in designing and
testing an ISA suitable for securing bitcoin for end-users in a fully
transparent fashion.


crowd-funded eco-conscious hardware: https://www.crowdsupply.com/eoma68

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