Paper 2021/1359

Families of SNARK-friendly 2-chains of elliptic curves

Youssef El Housni and Aurore Guillevic


At CANS’20, El Housni and Guillevic introduced a new 2-chain of pairing-friendly elliptic curves for recursive zero-knowledge Succinct Non-interactive ARguments of Knowledge (zk-SNARKs) made of the former BLS12-377 curve (a Barreto–Lynn–Scott curve over a 377- bit prime field) and the new BW6-761 curve (a Brezing–Weng curve of embedding degree 6 over a 761-bit prime field). First we generalise the curve construction, the pairing formulas (e : G1 × G2 → GT ) and the group operations to any BW6 curve defined on top of any BLS12 curve, forming a family of 2-chain pairing-friendly curves. Second, we investigate other possible 2-chain families made on top of the BLS12 and BLS24 curves. We compare BW6 to Cocks–Pinch curves of higher embedding degrees 8 and 12 (CP8, CP12) at the 128-bit security level. We explicit an optimal ate and optimal Tate pairing on our new CP curves. We show that both for BLS12 and BLS24, the BW6 construction always gives the fastest pairing and curve arithmetic compared to Cocks-Pinch curves. Finally, we suggest a short list of curves suitable for Groth16 and KZG-based universal SNARKs and present an optimized implementation of these curves. Based on Groth16 and PlonK (a KZG- based SNARK) implementations, we obtain that the BLS12-377/BW6-761 pair is optimized for the former while the BLS24-315/BW6-672 pair is optimized for the latter.

Note: This article is the authors’ full version with 6 more pages compared to the version submitted to Springer-Verlag on 2022-03-01 for EUROCRYPT’22, available as ePrint 2021/1359. The version published by Springer-Verlag is available at DOI 10.1007/978-3-031-07085-3_13.

Available format(s)
Public-key cryptography
Publication info
A minor revision of an IACR publication in EUROCRYPT 2022
pairingelliptic curvesimplementationzero knowledgesnarkrecursive snark
Contact author(s)
youssef elhousni @ consensys net
aurore guillevic @ inria fr
2022-05-13: last of 3 revisions
2021-10-12: received
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Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Youssef El Housni and Aurore Guillevic},
      title = {Families of SNARK-friendly 2-chains of elliptic curves},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2021/1359},
      year = {2021},
      doi = {10.1007/978-3-031-07085-3_13},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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