Improving the Performance of the Picnic Signature Scheme

Daniel Kales, Greg Zaverucha

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Picnic is a digital signature algorithm designed to provide security against attacks by quantum computers. The design uses only symmetric-key primitives, and is an efficient instantiation of the MPC-in-the-head paradigm. In this work, we explore the Picnic design in great detail. We investigate and benchmark different parameter choices and show that there exist better parameter choices than those in the current specification. We also present improvements to the MPC protocol that shorten signatures and reduce signing time. The proposed MPC changes tailor the protocol to the circuit of interest in Picnic, but may also be of independent interest. Taken together, these changes give a new instantiation of Picnic that signs messages 7.9 to 13.9 times faster, and verifies signatures 4.5 to 5.5 times faster than the existing Picnic2 design, while having nearly the same signature sizes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-188
Number of pages44
JournalIACR Transactions on Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2020
EventCHES 2020: 2020 Annual Conference on Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems - Virtuell, China
Duration: 14 Sept 202017 Sept 2020


  • post-quantum cryptography
  • digital signatures
  • zero-knowledge
  • MPC-in-the-head
  • efficient implementation

Fields of Expertise

  • Information, Communication & Computing


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