Warning: gmp_strval may return a null terminated string (e.g., gmp_strval(gmp_init(8)) has two characters. This is because gmp is built for speed, so uses estimates based on things it can get quickly, like the number of bits in N. So since 8 is a 4 bit number, it will be allocated ceil(log10(2^4))=ceil(4*0.30103....) = 2 characters. The gmp folks feel it is the caller's responsibility (in this case the PHP interface) to check whether or not all the characters were required. PHP might have done this for us (and may in the future), but for now, you need to check (if it matters to you--it sure did in my program!).