Team Invitations

The creator of a team, the GenesisBlock creator, is the first admin of a team. There are several ways the sigchain protocol supports an admin inviting team members. The key property of sigchain invitations is that the sigchain server (run by is NOT able to create or accept invitations to the team.

To create an invitation, an admin posts a block with an Invite operation:

enum Operation {
    //...more operations to follow.

enum Invitation {

Note: This property is important because if or any another adversary could intercept the invitation process, and thereby add themselves to your team, they might be able to trick you into giving them access to your infrastructure via the SSH PKI. As you’ll see, only the party holding the invitation secret will be able to accept an invitation to join the team.

Direct Invitations (in person)

A DirectInvitation is the most restrictive method to invite a team member. The admin must have the prospective member’s identity public key and email address. This invitation protocol uses the following type:

struct DirectInvitation {
    public_key: Vec<u8>,
    email: String,

An admin posts a Block with the prospective member’s public_key and email using the structure above, thereby confirming the mapping of the member’s email to their cryptographic identity. The intent of this invitation type is that the admin obtains the member’s identity through a trusted channel. In practice, the Krypton app makes this easy using QR codes and the built-in QR scanner in the app.

To accept this invitation, the prospective member appends an AcceptInvite block signed by their identity private key (corresponding to the public key encoded in the DirectInvitation).

An IndirectInvitation is a slightly less restrictive method to invite a team member. Rather than requiring the prospective member to securely pass along a public key, an admin generates a new key pair known as a nonce_key_pair. The nonce_public_key is encoded in the IndirectInvitation struct below and inserted as a block in the sigchain. Anyone with the nonce_private_key can then sign an AcceptInvite block which will be verified by every team member using the nonce_public_key. This way the admin simply has to send a single secret in order to invite any number of team members.

The nonce_private_key is sent through an independent channel like a team-wide chatroom, email, text message, etc – the important part here is that the untrusted sigchain server,, does not see this secret.

struct IndirectInvitation {
    nonce_public_key: Vec<u8>,
    restriction: IndirectInvitationRestriction,
    invite_symmetric_key_hash: Vec<u8>, // used to look up ciphertext
    invite_ciphertext: Vec<u8>,

enum IndirectInvitationRestriction {
    Domain(String), // restricts the prospective members' emails to ''.

To accept this invitation, the prospective member appends an AcceptInvite block signed by the nonce_private_key.

Note: The nonce_public_key is posted in the sigchain by an admin, giving everyone the ability to verify that the AcceptInvite block is signed by a valid nonce_private_key. At the same time, the admin sends the nonce_private_key only to the invitee. This means that the untrusted sigchain server does not learn this secret key.

Sending a nonce_private_key over a secure channel is not enough. The admin must also send the following information for a prospective member to securely join their team.

struct IndirectInvitationSecret {
    initial_team_public_key: Vec<u8>,
    last_block_hash: Vec<u8>,
    nonce_keypair_seed: Vec<u8>,
    restriction: IndirectInvitationRestriction,
  • initial_team_public_key indicates which team the member is being invited to
  • last_block_hash ensures that the sigchain server cannot lie about the latest block
  • nonce_keypair_seed encodes the nonce_private_key
  • restriction tells the member what their sign-up team email is restricted to

This is of course a large amount data – too much to easily post or send to someone. As a result, we use symmetric encryption to compress the IndirectInvitationSecret. The invite_symmetric_key_hash and invite_ciphertext fields in the IndirectInvitation block are later used to decompress the the invitation.

The admin performs the following steps to create an IndirectInvitation and a secret_link:

  1. Generate a symmetric key
  2. Encrypt the IndirectInvitationSecret with key
  3. Encode the resulting ciphertext as the invite_ciphertext in the IndirectInvitation
  4. Encode the SHA-256 hash of key as invite_symmetric_key_hash in the IndirectInvitation
  5. Append the IndirectInvitation block to the sigchain
  6. Create a secret_link including key
  7. Send secret_link along an independent channel of choosing to the prospective member

The member performs the following steps to accept an IndirectInvitation given a secret_link:

  1. Query the sigchain server for invite_ciphertext with the SHA-256 hash of key
  2. Decrypt the invite_ciphertext with key
  3. Read the IndirectInvitationSecret
  4. Post an AcceptInvite block signed with the nonce_private_key adhering to the email address restriction

Indirect Invitation Restrictions

When a prospective member posts an AcceptInvite block, all readers of the sigchain verify that the email included in the attached Identity adheres to the invite being accepted.

Domain Restriction

The admin specifies an email domain ending, like, which the prospective member must use (i.e. [email protected]).

Emails Restriction

The admin specifies a list of specific email address, like [[email protected], [email protected], [email protected]], which the prospective member must then select one of (i.e [email protected]).

Email Verification

Independent of invitation email restrictions, the Sigchain Server verifies that prospective members have access to the email address they sign up with.

Verification is done by sending the prospective member a challenge, a random nonce, to their intended email address. The prospective member then verifies their email by signing the nonce with their identity private_key and returning this signature to the sigchain server. The sigchain server only allows an AcceptInvite block if it received a signature of the challenge matching the corresponding public_key in the incoming block.

Note: Every member of the team then verifies that the email address matches the restriction or DirectInvitation email for which the AcceptInvite block corresponds to. The AcceptInvite block implies which Invite block it corresponds to based on the key pair used to sign it. For a DirectInvitation, the AcceptInvite block will be signed with the identity key pair. In the case of an IndirectInvitation, the AcceptInvite block will be signed by the nonce_key_pair.