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Status Report on the Third Round of the NIST Post-Quantum Cryptography Standardization Process



Gorjan Alagic, David Cooper, Quynh Dang, Thinh Dang, John M. Kelsey, Jacob Lichtinger, Yi-Kai Liu, Carl A. Miller, Dustin Moody, Rene Peralta, Ray Perlner, Angela Robinson, Daniel Smith-Tone, Daniel Apon


The National Institute of Standards and Technology is in the process of selecting public-key cryptographic algorithms through a public, competition-like process. The new public-key cryptography standards will specify additional digital signature, public-key encryption, and key-establishment algorithms to augment Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 186-4, Digital Signature Standard (DSS), as well as NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-56A Revision 3, Recommendation for Pair-Wise Key-Establishment Schemes Using Discrete Logarithm Cryptography, and SP 800-56B Revision 2, Recommendation for Pair-Wise Key Establishment Using Integer Factorization Cryptography. It is intended that these algorithms will be capable of protecting sensitive information well into the foreseeable future, including after the advent of quantum computers. The first round of the NIST Post-Quantum Cryptography Standardization Process began in December 2017 with 69 candidate algorithms that met both the minimum acceptance criteria and submission requirements. The first round lasted until January 2019, during which candidate algorithms were evaluated based on their security, performance, and other characteristics. NIST selected 26 algorithms to advance to the second round for more analysis. The second round continued until July 2020, after which seven 'finalist' and eight 'alternate' candidate algorithms were selected to move into the third round. This report describes the evaluation and selection process, based on public feedback and internal review, of the third-round candidates. The report summarizes each of the 15 third-round candidate algorithms and identifies those selected for standardization, as well as those that will continue to be evaluated in a fourth round of analysis. The public-key encryption and key-establishment algorithm that will be standardized is CRYSTALS-Kyber. The digital signatures that will be standardized are CRYSTALS-Dilithium, Falcon, and SPHINCS+. While there are multiple signature algorithms selected, NIST recommends CRYSTALS-Dilithium as the primary algorithm to be implemented. In addition, four of the alternate key-establishment candidate algorithms will advance to a fourth round of evaluation: BIKE, Classic McEliece, HQC, and SIKE. These candidates are still being considered for future standardization. NIST will also issue a new Call for Proposals for public-key digital signature algorithms to augment and diversify its signature portfolio.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 8413
Report Number


cryptography ·digital signatures ·key-encapsulation mechanism (KEM) ·key-establishment ·post-quantum cryptography ·public-key encryption ·quantum resistant ·quantum safe


Alagic, G. , Cooper, D. , Dang, Q. , Dang, T. , Kelsey, J. , Lichtinger, J. , Liu, Y. , Miller, C. , Moody, D. , Peralta, R. , Perlner, R. , Robinson, A. , Smith-Tone, D. and Apon, D. (2022), Status Report on the Third Round of the NIST Post-Quantum Cryptography Standardization Process, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed May 28, 2024)


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Created July 5, 2022, Updated November 29, 2022