Elliptic curve cryptography: The serpentine course of a paradigm shift

Ann Hibner Koblitz, Neal Koblitz, Alfred Menezes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Text: Over a period of sixteen years elliptic curve cryptography went from being an approach that many people mistrusted or misunderstood to being a public key technology that enjoys almost unquestioned acceptance. We describe the sometimes surprising twists and turns in this paradigm shift, and compare this story with the commonly accepted Ideal Model of how research and development function in cryptography. We also discuss to what extent the ideas in the literature on "social construction of technology" can contribute to a better understanding of this history. Video: For a video summary of this paper, please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHFFvfDoTK4.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)781-814
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Number Theory
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011


  • 01A80
  • 11T71
  • 14G50
  • 68P25
  • 94A60
  • Cryptography
  • Elliptic curve
  • Public key
  • Social construction of science
  • Social construction of technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Algebra and Number Theory


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