Researchers in Russia say they’ve developed and tested the world’s first blockchain that won’t be vulnerable to encryption-breaking attacks from future quantum computers. This technique could be a means of protecting fast-growing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum which are safe from today’s code-breaking methods, but could be exposed by tomorrow’s vastly more powerful quantum machines. A team from the Russian Quantum Centre in Moscow says its quantum blockchain technology has been successfully tested with one of Russia’s largest banks, Gazprombank, and could be used as a proof of concept to underpin secure data encryption and storage methods in the future.
Blockchain is a publicly accessible, decentralized ledger of recorded information, spread across multiple computers on the internet. This kind of distributed database is the underlying technology that makes Bitcoin possible where it maintains a list of time-stamped digital transactions that can be viewed by anyone on the platform. The idea is that the blockchain frees users on the network from needing any kind of middleman or central authority to regulate transactions or exchanges of information. Because all interactions are recorded in the distributed ledger, the blockchain makes everything a matter of public record, which, when it comes to Bitcoin, is what ensures that transactions are legitimate, and that units of the currency aren’t duplicated. Check out the video below…
But there’s a problem…
When a computer conducts a transaction, the system uses digital signatures for authentication purposes and while that protection layer may offer strong enough encryption to secure those exchanges today, they won’t be able to withstand quantum computers.
“In our quantum-secure blockchain setup, we get rid of digital signatures altogether. Instead, we utilize quantum cryptography for authentication…”
Quantum cryptography depends on entangled particles to work, and the researchers’ system used what’s called quantum key distribution, which the researchers say makes it possible to make sure nobody’s eavesdropping on private communications.