Paper 2014/486

Binary Elligator Squared

Diego F. Aranha, Pierre-Alain Fouque, Chen Qian, Mehdi Tibouchi, and Jean-Christophe Zapalowicz


Applications of elliptic curve cryptography to anonymity, privacy and censorship circumvention call for methods to represent uniformly random points on elliptic curves as uniformly random bit strings, so that, for example, ECC network traffic can masquerade as random traffic. At ACM CCS 2013, Bernstein et al. proposed an efficient approach, called ``Elligator,'' to solving this problem for arbitrary elliptic curve-based cryptographic protocols, based on the use of efficiently invertible maps to elliptic curves. Unfortunately, such invertible maps are only known to exist for certain classes of curves, excluding in particular curves of prime order and curves over binary fields. A variant of this approach, ``Elligator Squared,'' was later proposed by Tibouchi (FC 2014) supporting not necessarily injective encodings to elliptic curves (and hence a much larger class of curves), but, although some rough efficiency estimates were provided, it was not clear how an actual implementation of that approach would perform in practice. In this paper, we show that Elligator Squared can indeed be implemented very efficiently with a suitable choice of curve encodings. More precisely, we consider the binary curve setting (which was not discussed in Tibouchi's paper), and implement the Elligator Squared bit string representation algorithm based on a suitably optimized version of the Shallue--van de Woestijne characteristic 2 encoding, which we show can be computed using only multiplications, trace and half-trace computations, and a few inversions. On the fast binary curve of Oliveira et al. (CHES 2013), our implementation runs in an average of only 22850 Haswell cycles, making uniform bit string representations possible for a very reasonable overhead---much smaller even than Elligator on Edwards curves. As a side contribution, we also compare implementations of Elligator and Elligator Squared on a curve supported by Elligator, namely Curve25519. We find that generating a random point and its uniform bitstring representation is around 35-40% faster with Elligator for protocols using a fixed base point (such as static ECDH), but 30-35% faster with Elligator Squared in the case of a variable base point (such as ElGamal encryption). Both are significantly slower than our binary curve implementation.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Preprint. MINOR revision.
ElligatorBinary Elliptic CurvesEfficient ImplementationPCLMULQDQAnonymity & Privacy
Contact author(s)
mehdi tibouchi @ normalesup org
2014-06-23: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Diego F.  Aranha and Pierre-Alain Fouque and Chen Qian and Mehdi Tibouchi and Jean-Christophe Zapalowicz},
      title = {Binary Elligator Squared},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2014/486},
      year = {2014},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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