RSA Laboratories

7.7 What is a one-time signature scheme?

A one-time signature scheme allows the signature of only a single message using a given piece of private (and public) information. One advantage of such a scheme is that it is generally quite fast. However, the scheme tends to be unwieldy when used to authenticate multiple messages because additional data needs to be generated to both sign and verify each new message. By contrast, with conventional signature schemes like RSA (see Question 3.1.1), the same key pair can be used to authenticate multiple documents. There is a relatively efficient implementation of one-time-like signatures by Merkle called the Merkle Tree Signature Scheme (see Question 3.6.9), which does not require new key pairs for each message.

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