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Digital Signatures and Elliptic Curve Cryptography: Request for Comments on Draft FIPS 186-5 and Draft SP 800-186
October 31, 2019


A Federal Register Notice (FRN) announces a Request for Comments on Draft FIPS 186-5 and Draft NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-186. NIST seeks feedback on multiple issues listed in the Request for Comments section of the FRN. 

The public comment period for both documents ends on January 29, 2020. For copies of the documents and instructions for submitting comments, see the publication details for Draft Federal Information Processing Standards Publication (FIPS) 186-5, Digital Signature Standard (DSS) and Draft NIST SP 800-186Recommendations for Discrete Logarithm-Based Cryptography: Elliptic Curve Domain Parameters.


NIST is proposing updates to its standards on digital signatures and elliptic curve cryptography to align with existing and emerging industry standards. As part of these updates, NIST is proposing to adopt two new elliptic curves, Ed25519 and Ed448, for use with EdDSA. EdDSA is a deterministic elliptic curve signature scheme currently specified in the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) RFC 8032, Edwards-Curve Digital Signature Algorithm.  NIST further proposes adopting a deterministic variant of ECDSA, which is currently specified in RFC 6979, Deterministic Usage of the Digital Signature Algorithm and Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm.  Finally, based on feedback received on the adoption of the current elliptic curve standards, the draft standards deprecate curves over binary fields due to their limited use by industry.

In addition to updating NIST’s Elliptic Curve Cryptography standards, Draft FIPS 186-5 proposes the removal of the Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA), noting recent security analysis against DSA implementations and increased industry adoption of ECDSA. This removal would prohibit the use of DSA for generating digital signatures, while legacy use of DSA to verify existing signatures would be allowed.

The proposed digital signature algorithms are included in Draft FIPS 186-5. NIST-recommended elliptic curves, previously specified in FIPS 186-4 Appendix D, are now included in Draft NIST SP 800-186.


NOTE: A call for patent claims is included on page iv of Draft SP 800-186. For additional information, see the Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) Patent Policy--Inclusion of Patents in ITL Publications.

Federal Register Notice

Document Number: 2019-23742
Created October 30, 2019, Updated June 22, 2020