Author: Jagdish Kumar, India
With blockchain platform getting attached from quantum computers, Russian scientists have developed a new way to protect the blockchain platform from attack.
The new method has been developed by researchers from the Russian Quantum Center in Moscow using quantum key distribution (QKD).
Currently, blockchain is the new way of processing wide range of applications among non trusted partners through a distributed ledger platform that allows consensus in a large decentralized network of parties.
Evgeniy Kiktenko from the Russian Quantum Center said that the currently blockchain platforms rely on digital signatures, which are vulnerable to attacks by quantum computers.
However, the new method uses quantum key distribution (QKD) for blockchains may appear counterintuitive, as QKD networks rely on trust among nodes, whereas many blockchains lack such trust for processing the transactions.
Though blockchain is promising for a wide range of applications. But the existing platforms are vulnerable to attacks by quantum computers. This also applies to the cryptographic hash functions used in preparing new blocks, meaning those with access to quantum computation would have an unfair advantage in procuring mining rewards, such as Bitcoins, Kiktenko stressed.
The blockchain is a distributed ledger platform that allows consensus in a large decentralized network of parties who do not trust each other. One of the most prominent applications of blockchains is cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.
Kiktenko said that these risks are significant, as till 2025, an estimated 10% of global GDP will be stored on blockchains or blockchain-related technology.
The QKD will overcome these risks as they have developed a blockchain platform combining original state-machine replication without the use of digital signatures, and the new method will provide authentication. Though each QKD communication session generates a large amount of shared secret data, part of which can be used for authentication in subsequent sessions.
Aleksey Fedorov from the Russian Quantum Center said that more specifically, one may argue that QKD cannot be used for authentication because it requires an authenticated classical channel for operation itself.
A small amount of seed secret key that the parties share before their first QKD session ensures their secure authentication for all future communication. This means QKD can be used in lieu of classical digital signatures, Fedorov said.
The researchers also ran an experiment to test its capability in an urban QKD network.
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