Programming language: Go
License: BSD 3-clause "New" or "Revised" License
Tags: Security    
Latest version: v0.4

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This is a pure Go implementation of the API's available in NaCL: https://nacl.cr.yp.to. Compared with the implementation in golang.org/x/crypto/nacl, this library offers all of the API's present in NaCL, better compatibility with NaCL implementations written in other languages, as well as some utilities for generating and loading keys and nonces, and encrypting messages.

Many of them are simple wrappers around functions or libraries available in the Go standard library, or in the golang.org/x/crypto package. Other code I copied directly into this library with the appropriate LICENSE; if a function is longer than, say, 5 lines, I didn't write it myself. There are no dependencies outside of the standard library or golang.org/x/crypto.

The goal is to both show how to implement the NaCL functions in pure Go, and to provide interoperability between messages encrypted/hashed/authenticated in other languages, and available in Go.

Among other benefits, NaCL is designed to be misuse resistant and standardizes on the use of 32 byte keys and 24 byte nonces everywhere. Several helpers are present for generating keys/nonces and loading them from configuration, as well as for encrypting messages. You can generate a key by running openssl rand -hex 32 and use the helpers in your program like so:

import "github.com/kevinburke/nacl"
import "github.com/kevinburke/nacl/secretbox"

func main() {
    key, err := nacl.Load("6368616e676520746869732070617373776f726420746f206120736563726574")
    if err != nil {
    encrypted := secretbox.EasySeal([]byte("hello world"), key)

The package names match the primitives available in NaCL, with the crypto_ prefix removed. Some function names have been changed to match the Go conventions.


go get github.com/kevinburke/nacl

Or you can Git clone the code directly to $GOPATH/src/github.com/kevinburke/nacl.

Who am I?

While you probably shouldn't trust random security code from the Internet, I'm reasonably confident that this code is secure. I did not implement any of the hard math (poly1305, XSalsa20, curve25519) myself - I call into golang.org/x/crypto for all of those functions. I also ported over every test I could find from the C/C++ code, and associated RFC's, and ensured that these libraries passed those tests.

I'm a contributor to the Go Standard Library and associated tools, and I've also been paid to do security consulting for startups, and found security problems in consumer sites.


  • The implementation of crypto_sign uses the ref10 implementation of ed25519 from SUPERCOP, not the current implementation in NaCL. The difference is that the entire 64-byte signature is prepended to the message; in the current version of NaCL, separate bits are prepended and appended to the message.

  • Compared with golang.org/x/crypto/ed25519, this library's Sign implementation returns the message along with the signature, and Verify expects the first 64 bytes of the message to be the signature. This simplifies the API and matches the behavior of the ref10 implementation and other NaCL implementations. Sign also flips the order of the message and the private key: Sign(message, privatekey), to match the NaCL implementation.

  • Compared with golang.org/x/crypto/nacl/box, Precompute returns the shared key instead of modifying the input. In several places the code was modified to call functions that now exist in nacl.

  • Compared with golang.org/x/crypto/nacl/secretbox, Seal and Open call the onetimeauth package in this library, instead of calling golang.org/x/crypto/poly1305 directly.

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the nacl README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.