The emergence of quantum computing is posing a serious threat to cybersecurity as it can crack the most sophisticated encryption algorithms on the horizon.
So, sooner or later, quantum computers, which is an emerging technology that takes advantage of quantum physics to solve certain problems that are impossible to be solved on traditional computers, may become a bigger issue than most IT organisations appreciate as cybercriminals will have the resources to build their quantum computers.
Google recently claimed to have a made a breakthrough in quantum computing, pointing to a machine that has solved a problem in 200 seconds that would normally take a supercomputer over 10,000 years to figure out.
If true, the news could have big implications on the security and integrity of the cryptography behind modern blockchains.
Are blockchains at risk? Is the danger overhyped? Could Bitcoin be realistically attacked?
IBM and some other companies have been doing researches on quantum computing for the last couple of years and there are some solutions but none has come out with a standardised or certified quantum-safe cryptographic solutions.
Kadan Stadelmann, CTO at Komodo, a multi-chain blockchain architecture platform, told TechRadar Middle East that quantum computing poses dangers to blockchain and cryptocurrency.
The world of quantum computers is much more “complex and complicated”.
Komodo provides different technologies for software developers and researches to build their own open and composable blockchain platform.
Over the years, blockchain has evolved rapidly.
According to Grand View Research, the global blockchain technology market is expected to reach $57,641.3m by 2025, registering an annual growth rate of 69.4% from 2019 to 2025.
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Stadelmann said that Komodo is similar to Ethereum but it is 100% independent, free and open-sourced platform.
“As the world is getting digitised, it is all based on binary digits. Binary digits can have either 1 (on) or 0 (off). We don’t speak of bits anymore but quantum qubits or quantum bits, which can be in both 1 and 0 states at the same time. This qubit can attain so many states at the same time and they are also able to process calculations at a much faster rate than classical computers,” he said.
As a blockchain platform, Stadelmann said that Komodo is trying to solve the problem and has implemented quantum-safe cryptographic solutions for the past couple of years which will not be able to crack cryptographic signatures.
Using an IBM-built technology, known as Dilithium, into its blockchain platform, he said the new digital signature algorithm will create a key which cannot be cracked by a quantum computer.
To compare this with the traditional signature technologies, Stadelmann said that they are based on public-key cryptographic systems like RSA, etc.
For classical computers, he said that it will take billions of years to calculate but in theory, it has never been safe and it is hackable or crackable.
“Breaking existing digital signature schemes is possible, but it is not yet easy,” he said.
IBM calls this as Dilithium digital signature scheme. This new algorithm is part of Crystals [Cryptographic Suite for Algebraic Lattices] suite that has not come under any classical or quantum algorithmic attacks.
IBM donated it to the whole quantum-safe organisations and also submitted it to the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the US Department of Commerce for research. IBM is one of the publicly available open-source algorithms that are available.
This project is researching cryptographic hash functions and digital signature schemes that are secure against quantum computers.
“If NIST approves this algorithm and if it is going to become the approved algorithm for quantum-safe cryptography, then we will use it but we don’t know at this point of time if it is 100% proven that it cannot be broken by quantum computers,” he said.
Giving priority to security
“If there is any other solution that is quantum-safe, then Komodo is very flexible and will be able to integrate a new signature algorithm into any module. We are already implemented but we don’t have quantum computers yet. The invention will jeopardise all of the modern cryptography as we know it. Google hasn’t published quantum-safe cryptography yet. We are open,” Stadelmann said.
As of now, he said that Komodo platform is the only blockchain that is using quantum-safe technology and it adds consensus rule that requires each transaction to be signed twice – once in accordance with the blockchain’s original digital signature process and then a second time according to Dilithium’s new quantum-resistant signature process.
“Globally, we have around 30 production blockchains that are being run on Komodo platform. However, Komodo also has other blockchains which are not on the Komodo platform but use Komodo exchange for security. We can give any blockchain an additional layer of security. Even Ethereum-based platforms can use Komodo technology,” he said.