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Small, secure and portable virtual machine for crypto language processing
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Zenroom - crypto language VM

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Zenroom is a brand new virtual machine for fast cryptographic operations on Elliptic Curves. The Zenroom VM has no external dependencies, includes a cutting edge selection of C99 libraries and builds a small executable ready to run on: desktop, embedded, mobile, cloud and browsers (webassembly). It also compiles unikernel (without Linux).

Zencode is the name of the language executed by Zenroom: it is simple to understand and can process large data structures while operating cryptographic transformations on them.

Zencode is a Domain Specific Language whose design is informed by pilot use-cases in the DECODE Project.

On this page you can download our software, ready for use. For less technical explanations see the links below:

Latest stable release is 0.10:



Language bindings

Zenroom is designed to be embedded inside host applications and used from its very simple interface to execute code on an input and return an output of the transformation. The embedding API is:

int zenroom_exec(char *script, char *conf, char *keys,
                 char *data, int verbosity);

This API can be called in similar ways from a variety of languages and in particular four wrappers already facilitate its usage:


Zenroom is software in BETA stage and is part of the DECODE project about data commons and technological sovereignty. Our effort is that of improving people's awareness of how their data is processed by algorithms, as well facilitate the work of developers to create along privacy by design principles.

DECODE project

This software aims to make it easy and less error-prone to write portable scripts using end-to-end encryption inside isolated environments that can be easily made interoperable. Basic crypto functions provided include primitives to manage a/symmetric keys, key derivation, hashing and signing functionalities.

Zenroom is software inspired by the language-theoretical security research, it allows to expresses cryptographic operations in a readable scripting language that has no access to the calling process, underlying operating system or filesystem.

No more Turing Completion!

Zenroom's restricted execution environment is a sort of sandbox whose parser is based on LUA's syntax-direct translation and has coarse-grained control of computations and memory. The Zenroom VM is designed to "brittle" and exit execution returning a meaningful message on any error.

Zenroom's documentation and examples are being written to encourage a declarative approach to scripting, providing functional tools to manipulate efficiently even complex data structures.

Full Recognition Before Processing!

The main use case for Zenroom is that of distributed computing of untrusted code where advanced cryptographic functions are required, for instance it can be used as a distributed ledger implementation (also known as blockchain smart contracts).

Project funded by the European Commission

This project is receiving funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement nr. 732546 (DECODE).


Copyright (C) 2017-2019 by foundation, Amsterdam

Designed, written and maintained by Denis Roio

With contributions by Puria Nafisi Azizi and Daniele Lacamera.

Go bindings by Christian Espinoza and Samuel Mulube.

JS bindings by Jordi Coscolla and Puria.

Special thanks to Francesca Bria for leading the DECODE project and to George Danezis, Ola Bini, Mark de Villiers, Ivan J., Alberto Sonnino, Richard Stallman, Enrico Zimuel, Jim Barritt and Andrea D'Intino for their expert reviews.

This software includes software components by: R. Ierusalimschy, W. Celes and L.H. de Figueiredo (lua), Mike Scott and Kealan McCusker (milagro-crypto-c), Ralph Hempel (umm_malloc), Mark Pulford (lua-cjson), Daan Sprenkels (randombytes), Salvatore Sanfilippo (cmsgpack)

Some Lua extensions included are written by: Kyle Conroy (statemachine), Enrique García Cota (inspect and semver).

Zenroom is Licensed under the terms of the Affero GNU Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

Software contained include Lua 5.3, Copyright (C) 1994-2017, PUC-Rio licensed with an MIT style license. Also included Milagro, Copyright 2016 MIRACL UK Ltd licensed with the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License").

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License.

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