Apple’s quiet CryptoKit launch could bolster blockchain on iPhones

Jeremy Horwitz for VentureBeat:

Historically, Apple’s WWDC keynotes have had a predictable cadence — spotlight a handful of new OS features, flash a word cloud with 40 more highlights on screen for a minute, and move on. But this year, Apple’s keynote presenters rushed through almost all their feature reveals and notably left a fairly big one out: CryptoKit, a new Swift developer framework that can compute, evaluate, and compare keys, store keys in a device’s Secure Enclave, and generate keys for encryption and authentication.

While Apple’s long-term goals for CryptoKit are somewhat ambiguous, blockchain applications are clearly on its radar. During a mid-week WWDC presentation, Apple’s Yannick Sierra jokingly opened his “Cryptography and Your Apps” talk by referring to it as the “Bitcoin session,” though the talk focused almost exclusively on less exciting uses, such as encrypting hiking app data.

At least for now, Apple appears to be mostly focused on helping developers more easily navigate the increasingly complicated minefield of cryptography challenges and enabling them to make use of user-authenticated Secure Enclaves. CryptoKit supports 256-, 384-, and 512-bit SHA-2 secure hashes, as well as NIST P-256, -384, and -521 signatures and X25519 keys.

But opportunities for developers to experiment with more secure and less resource-demanding blockchain wallets appears to be in the cards.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple’s developer website says that the Apple CryptoKit framework will support common cryptographic operations:

• Compute and compare cryptographically secure digests.

• Use public-key cryptography to create and evaluate digital signatures, and to perform key exchange. In addition to working with keys stored in memory, you can also use private keys stored in and managed by the Secure Enclave.

• Generate symmetric keys, and use them in operations like message authentication and encryption.

3 Comments

  1. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is on the record as stating NIST personnel believe that public key cryptography will be obsolete by 2025 as quantum computer based cryptanalysis will be able to break any key set in a reasonably short period of time. (The same is not true of most block code encryption technologies.)

    It makes me wonder what Apple and the rest of the world currently using PKI will do between now and then.

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