Apple is set to launch CryptoKit, a Swift API to perform basic cryptographic operations on its upcoming iOS 13 software release. The announcement came during the tech giant’s Worldwide Developers Conference.
According to Apple, the new framework will integrate options for hashing, key generation and exchange, and encryption for developers on iOS apps. The new framework will supplant Apple’s previous framework, CommonCrypto, which does not support Swift.
CryptoKit will allow developers to avoid lower-level interfaces by freeing developers from managing raw pointers and automatically overwriting sensitive data during memory deallocation, according to the company. Encryption will be possible for data at rest or in transit.
The common key operations will include computing and comparing cryptographically secure digests, using public-key cryptography to create and evaluate digital signatures, and generating symmetric keys for message authentication and encryption.
While the new framework features more hash functionality, like support for SHA256, it will not support the secp256k1 curve used by Ethereum and other blockchains. This means that CryptoKit has limited implications for cryptocurrencies at this stage but crypto fans aren’t ruling it out. Others, obviously, are less optimistic.
“YOUR IPHONE WILL NOT BE A HARDWARE WALLET,” said programmer Ronald Mannak on Twitter.
5. The documentation suggests the SE still only supports the secp256r1 (aka prime256) curve, not the secp256k1 curve used by Ethereum and other blockchains. Unless that changes in a future hardware upgrade, YOUR IPHONE WILL NOT BE A HARDWARE WALLET.
— Ronald Mannak (@ronaldmannak) June 4, 2019
Ouriel Ohayon, co-founder of ZenGo, concurred.
“For now [CryptoKit] is pretty much useless for cryptocurrencies because, one, it does not use the relevant elliptic curves for blockchains, and two, there is no access to the secure enclave to export and migrate private keys if you need to,” he said.
Striking a positive note, Ohayon said, “I do anticipate [Apple] to go that route a few years from now and it will make the industry a lot better.”