The Distributed Futures research program announced on Tuesday, February 27th, the release of a report on the threat of quantum computing to the security of blockchain and measures that can be taken to mitigate the risk.
The report, titled “The Quantum Countdown: Quantum Computing And The Future Of Smart Ledger Encryption” is the latest in a series of interesting projects by the institution. Sponsored by blockchain organisation Cardano in collaboration with Long Finance. The comprehensive report was written for both non-technical and technical readers, starting with the essentials of cryptography, quantum computing, and how quantum computing threatens public key cryptography.
The report covers the substantial security threat quantum computing poses for Smart Ledgers and other systems. Basically, there is a concern that large-scale quantum computers (when they become available) could easily break the security of public key cryptography, which allows remote parties to communicate securely and confirm transactions and data without sharing a secret key in advance. As you can imagine, high-value information would be a sitting duck for hackers using quantum computers.
There are solutions already emerging, with the aim of preempting the threat. The issue though is when and how to address the problem, seeing as it is still unclear when the threat will be real and solutions are ever evolving.
The report then looks at currently available solutions to the threat and puts forward a framework for deciding when and how to tackle it. The report isn’t a doomsday prediction, but it does stress the importance of appropriate action, now, for Smart Ledgers and other computer systems that are new (to avoid later redesign), cannot afford to be unsecured, and require security of long duration.
“We are pleased to have sponsored this important research and do hope that the guidance herein is of help to business people, technologists, policy-makers, and regulators in considering the implications of the PQC problem,” commented Michael Parsons, FCA Chairman of Cardano Foundation, about the report.
This is a hallmark project, as it focuses on future threats to distributed ledger technology and offers preemptive measures before the threat is real. It will help shape innovation within the industry and give policymakers some important insight into the technology’s possible future trajectory.