Science 3 min read

Blockchain Security: Quantum Resistant Ledger Begins Testing

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Quantum computing is considered as an impending threat to cryptocurrency protocols and Blockchain as a whole. The Quantum Resistant Ledger is a technology intended to counter eventual quantum attacks against Blockchain, and it is has recruited testers to provide feedback.

Cryptocurrency Vulnerability to Quantum Hacks

Quantum computers are not currently deployed to hack anything. Their computations are wrapped up in more specialized work.

In the near future, however, quantum computing power could easily be repurposed to crack the network and break cryptocurrency hashes. Recently, rumors have spawned that some U.S. federal agencies, namely the NSA, have the quantum ability to crack Blockchain.

Andreas Antonopoulos, Blockchain information security expert, addressed this issue in a Q&A. He said that Bitcoin hashes are resistant to current quantum computers. But he admitted that NSA already possesses quantum computers that are ten times more powerful and efficient than Google’s, which could break encryption systems. To a question whether NSA would use its quantum technology against Bitcoin, he responded that they wouldn’t.

When the British cracked Enigma, the Germans cipher machine, authorities let Nazi bombings take place because they couldn’t tip their hand too soon. In a similar vein, even though NSA might be able to infiltrate Blockchain, they wouldn’t compromise years of efforts developing encryption cracking technology.

Quantum Resistant Ledger for Blockchain Security

According to experts, quantum computers could break the ECDSA, the signature algorithm that generates cryptographic key pairs, and private and public keys. Theoretically, once a quantum computer cracks the ECDSA, it would be able to derive the hidden private key from the public key and compromise data and funds associated with that key pair.

That’s what Peter Waterland, the founder of Quantum Resistant Ledger, thinks, as he updated a white paper on the technology.

The QRL, or the Quantum Resistant Ledger, is the first blockchain technology that provides long-term stability against quantum attacks.  QRL announced that it had recruited volunteers to create a minimum of 50 nodes and test the platform while calling for public comments and discussion on Slack before presale.

Citing the example of Blackberry’s retroactive decryption, a representative of the QRL developers team emphasized that the system would remain secure and should not be compromised for the next 50 to 100 years.

“Once the public testnet has been hardened and is sufficiently stable, Waterland said, “we will announce a launch date for the mainnet release.” Testers and public participation are a way to create scalable and effective standards for quantum attack defense and ensure the future of the technology.

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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