The Levchin Prize
for Real-World Cryptography

About the Prize

The Levchin prize honors major innovations in cryptography that have had a significant impact on the practice of cryptography and its use in real-world systems. Two awards are given every year, and each carries a cash prize of $10,000. The Levchin Prize was established in 2016 by a generous donation from Max Levchin, a long-term supporter of real-world cryptography.

The Levchin Prize Trophy

The Levchin Prize Trophy was created by designer, Ryan Rivas. The inspiration for the trophy is loosely based on the Jefferson Disk wheel cypher and a Cryptex, coined from the fictional writings of Dan Brown. The idea was to create an award that honors the practice of cryptography and the winners of the Levchin Prize. “We wanted to create an interactive object that itself was a hidden code waiting to be solved, using modern manufacturing practices, materials and design language”.

The trophy, and all its components, are CNC machined from solid billet 7000 series aluminum. Each finished trophy takes roughly 6 hours on several different machines to fabricate. In the final step of the process, the finished parts are hard anodized to protect the surface finish.

Nomination and elegibility

To submit a nomination please visit the nomination page. Prize winners will be selected by the award selection committee. Everyone is eligible. The only requirement is that award winners attend the award ceremony at the Real World Cryptography conference on the year when the award is given.

Submit a Nomination

Levchin Prize Winners



For co-designing the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).


For pioneering work on side channel analysis.

Watch the 2023 award ceremony:



For foundational innovations in cryptanalysis.


For fundamental improvements to the certificate ecosystem that provide free certificates for all.

Watch the 2022 award ceremony:



For the invention of elliptic curve cryptography.


For continued development of the Tor system and the underlying cryptography.

Watch the 2021 award ceremony:



For fundamental contributions to the development of public key cryptography, hash algorithms, Merkle trees, and digital signatures.


For groundbreaking work on the security of collision resistant hash functions.

Watch the 2020 award ceremony:



For outstanding contributions to the design and analysis of real-world cryptosystems, including the development of the random oracle model, modes of operation, HMAC, and models for key exchange.


For sustained contributions to the standardization of security protocols, and most recently the development and standardization of TLS 1.3.

Watch the 2019 award ceremony:



For the development of real-world cryptographic systems with strong security guarantees and proofs.


For dramatic improvements to the code quality of OpenSSL.

Watch the 2018 award ceremony:



For the development of AES and SHA3.


For the development and wide deployment of the Signal protocol.



For groundbreaking practice-oriented research that has had exceptional impact on real-world cryptography.


For the analysis of TLS and the development of the miTLS project.

Selection Committee

The Levchin prize awardees are selected annually by the real-world crypto steering committee. The current committee members are:

  • Dan Boneh, Stanford University
  • Helena Handschuh, Rambus
  • Nadia Heninger, UCSD
  • Brian LaMacchia, IACR
  • Anja Lehmann, University of Potsdam
  • Mariana Raykova, Google
  • Kazue Sako, NEC
  • Douglas Stebila, University of Waterloo
  • Nick Sullivan, Cloudflare
  • Peter Schwabe, Max Planck Institute