One of the greatest concerns about cryptocurrencies is the reality of Quantum Computing. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin depend on cryptography to mine new coins and to protect their value. With the exception of a recent hacker attack on Verge that required a fork, cryptocurrencies have been hackerproof due to their encryption technology. However, Quantum Computing has the potential to unravel this encryption, making aspects of blockchain technology virtually obsolete. Developers have been working on quantum-proofing their respective blockchains using a variety of methods. One theoretical method was recently outlined by Del Rajan and Matt Visser from the Victoria University of Wellington, and it’s really weird.
Quantum weirdness occurs at the atomic and subatomic levels, where many laws of classical physics break down and the very act of measuring or otherwise observing an object will effect how it behaves. According to the EPR paradox, two subatomic particles can be entangled, meaning that they can instantaneously respond to each other’s motions even when they are thousands of light-years apart. This quantum entanglement is the beginning of Rajan and Visser’s model for quantum-proofing a blockchain.
In science-speak, they have developed a concept for designing a quantum blockchain that’s encoded into a temporal GHZ (Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger) state of photons that do not simultaneously coexist. Translated into English, they’ve developed a sort of blockchain time machine.
A traditional cryptocurrency blockchain contains an immutable record of events that include every transaction. To make it quantum-proof, this model relies upon a quantum blockchain that’s based on a series of entangled photons. In a traditional blockchain, each record is linked to records from the past that still exist on the chain. On a quantum blockchain, the current records would be linked to records from the past that no longer exist. These photons would therefore represent records that are entangled in time, meaning that current and future transactions are entangled with transactions that existed in the past, but they would not be entangled in space, meaning that the physical records are not entangled. The authors believe that this method provides a crucial quantum advantage, which have already been realized through existing experiments. Yes, this is the weirdness of Quantum physics and we don’t pretend to be experts.
To summarize, the quantum blockchain works because it’s built on photons that do not exist at the current time, but are still readable because of the fact that they had existed at one point in time. The authors of this design go on to state that the entire blockchain would be invalidated should an attacker attempt to tamper with any photon, noting that the technology for this already exists today. The potential and complete destruction of such a blockchain would arguably produce an entirely new set of problems, but assuming those are addressed, it may very well be a workable model for quantum-proofing future blockchains.
Will this quantum blockchain come into existence in the real world? It’s certainly possible, though we do not expect it to exist as anything beyond a theory in the very near future. Regardless, the very concept of entanglement may spark ideas on more practical ways to quantum-proof blockchains sooner rather than later.
Daniel is an experienced and dynamic entrepreneur with a demonstrated history of launching and operating successful businesses. Skilled in Business Strategy, Technical Consulting, Coaching, Sales, Entrepreneurship, Team Building, and Public Speaking.
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