A new – and theoretical – system for blockchain – based data storage could ensure that hackers will not be able to crack cryptocurrency once we all enter the quantum era. The idea, proposed by researchers at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, would ensure that our cryptographic future can come for decades using a blockchain technology that is like a time machine.
You can see their results here.
To understand what is happening here, we need to define certain terms. A blockchain stores each transaction in a system on what amounts to an immutable record of events. The work necessary to maintain and confirm this immutable record is what is commonly referred to as mining . But this technology – whose co-author Del Rajan says it will represent “10% of global GDP … by 2027” – will become insecure in the era of quantum computers.
Therefore, the solution is to store a blockchain in a quantum era requires a quantum blockchain using a series of entangled photons. In addition, Spectrum writes: “Essentially, the actual recordings in a quantum blockchain are not just related to a record of the past, but rather a record in the past, does it exist anymore?”
Yes, it’s weird.
From the paper intro:
Our method consists in encoding the blockchain in a temporal state of GHZ (Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger) of photons that do not coexist simultaneously. It is shown that entanglement in time, as opposed to entanglement in space, provides the crucial quantum advantage. All subcomponents of this system have already been experimentally demonstrated. Perhaps more shockingly, our encoding procedure can be interpreted as unconventionally influencing the past; therefore, this decentralized quantum blockchain can be considered as a networked quantum time machine.
In summary, the quantum blockchain is immutable because the photons that it contains do not exist at the present time but are still legible and legible. This means that you can see the entire blockchain but you can not “touch” it and the only entry you could try to tamper with is the most recent one. In fact, the researchers write, “In this case of spatial entanglement, if an attacker tries to alter a photon, the complete blockchain would be immediately invalidated.”
Is this really possible? The researchers note that the technology already exists.
“Our new methodology encodes a chain of blocks in these temporally entangled states, which can then be integrated into a quantum network for other useful operations.” We will also show that entanglement over time, by opposition to entanglement in space, plays the central role for quantum benefit compared to a classical blockchain, “write the authors.” As discussed below, all subsystems of this design have already been shown experimentally. Moreover, if such a quantum blockchain were to be constructed, we will show that it could be considered as a networked quantum time machine. “
Do not worry about having to update your Bitcoin wallet though. This process is still very theoretical and not at all accessible to mere mortals. That said, it’s good to know that someone is watching our quantum future, strange as it is.