step crypto nacl


step crypto nacl – easy-to-use high-speed tools for encryption and signing


step crypto nacl subcommand [arguments] [global-flags] [subcommand-flags]


The step crypto nacl command group is a thin CLI wrapper around the NaCl (pronounced “salt”) cryptography library. NaCl’s goal is to provide all of the core operations needed to build higher-level cryptographic tools.

Perhaps its biggest advantage is simplicity. NaCl was designed to be easy to use and hard to misuse. Typical cryptographic libraries force you to specify choices for cryptographic primitives and constructions (e.g., sign this message with 4096-bit RSA using PKCS#1 v2.0 with SHA-256). But most people are not cryptographers. These choices become foot guns. By contrast, NaCl allows you to simply say “sign this message”. NaCl ships with a preselected choice – a state-of-the-art signature system suitable for most applications – and it has a side mechanism through which a cryptographer can easily override the choice of signature system.

There are language bindings and pure implementations of NaCl for all major languages. For internal use cases where compatibility with open standards like JWT are not an issue, NaCl should be your default choice for cryptographic needs.

For more information on NaCl visit


auth authenticate a message using a secret key
box authenticate and encrypt small messages using public-key cryptography
secretbox encrypt and authenticate small messages using secret-key cryptography
sign sign small messages using public-key cryptography