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.
Levchin Prize Winners
Watch the 2021 award ceremony:
For fundamental contributions to the development of public key cryptography, hash algorithms, Merkle trees, and digital signatures.
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.
Watch the 2019 award ceremony:
For the development of real-world cryptographic systems with strong security guarantees and proofs.
Watch the 2018 award ceremony:
For groundbreaking practice-oriented research that has had exceptional impact on real-world cryptography.
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
- Aggelos Kiayias, University of Edinburgh
- Brian LaMacchia, Microsoft Research
- Kenny Paterson, Royal Holloway, University of London
- Nadia Heninger, UCSD
- Kazue Sako, NEC
- Tom Shrimpton, University of Florida
- Nigel Smart, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
- Nick Sullivan, Cloudflare