There are different accounts as to who created the secp256k1 standard, for example:

Mastering Bitcoin, p.61:

Bitcoin uses a specific elliptic curve and set of mathematical constants, as defined in a standard called secp256k1, established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

theymos in this thread on r/crypto:

secp256k1 isn't a NIST curve. It was created purely by SECG. SECG also publishes some NIST curves in their standards (such as secp256r1, aka P-256), but secp256k1 isn't one of them.

So who created it? Is there a 'canonical' publication of it somewhere?

1 Answer 1


It can be found in https://www.secg.org/sec2-v2.pdf:

SEC 2: Recommended Elliptic Curve Domain Parameters

Certicom Research

Contact: Daniel R. L. Brown ([email protected])

January 27, 2010

Version 2.0

c©2010 Certicom Corp.

In section 2.4.1, "Recommended Parameters secp256k1".

  • 1
    Is it then correct to state that NIST doesn't have anything to do with the secp256k1 standard?
    – drogos86
    Commented May 5, 2022 at 13:12
  • 3
    Yes, NIST has nothing to do with the secp256k1 standard. Some NIST-invented curves are standardized both through NIST and through SECG (e.g. NIST P-256 is the same curve as SECG secp256r1), but secp256k1 is not one of them. It was constructed by Certicom, and only standardized through SECG (SECG is basically Certicom...). Commented May 5, 2022 at 13:14
  • UPDATE: secp256k1 was indeed created by SECG/Certicom back around 2000 (SEC2 v2 is 2010, but v1 was 2000), but as of Feb. 2023 it is also 'allowed' by NIST for blockchain, see SP800-186 Appendix H.2 . Commented Mar 17 at 1:06

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