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I suppose the biggest problem with a Cypherpunk chip is
actually getting it designed and built. I think it is
difficult to imagine anyone with a real job having the time
and money to put it together.
However, it is not out of the realm of possibility for a
graduate project, except one must run the question of whether
there is enough novelty in such a device to make it an appropriate
project. I'm not sure if IDEA has been implemented in silicon
yet, but clearly it will be more difficult to implement in a
fast way than DES.
Then there is the issue of patents...DES is the only freely
usable algorithm in the concept. One would probably have to
contact the IDEA people to ensure there are no problems with
us using the technique. RSA, well, we know the problem there.
Finally, even if implemented as a MOSIS device under NSF or
other grants in a university research situation, we'd have to
find a foundry to go into mass-production. This would not
be possible without ironing out all legal problems.
Of course, I think PKP might be on our side about Clipper,
and might be very willing to license the Cypherpunk chip
at a reasonable rate.
I've done a couple of analog chips through MOSIS...and no,
my advisor wants me doing silicon models of auditory cortex,
not crypto, but I'll mention it to any incoming grad students
here who want to do some digital stuff.