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Cryptography Expert: Work Today Can Help Protect Blockchain From Quantum Attacks Tomorrow

pqc blockchain
pqc blockchain

Insider Brief

  • A leading cryptographic researcher issued a warning for blockchain developers to start working on post-quantum computing protection now.
  • Professor Massimiliano Sala from Italy’s University of Trento warned that quantum computing poses significant threats to blockchain security.
  • Sala specifically called out the work of the National Institute of Standards and Technology for creating a global collaboration in PQC security.

A leading researcher in cryptographic security said that while quantum computers may not be available tomorrow, action to protect blockchains from hackers using the technology must be started today.

In a recent Ripple Insights interview, Professor Massimiliano Sala from Italy’s University of Trento warned that quantum computing poses significant threats to blockchain security. Professor Sala, an expert in cryptography, added that the blockchain industry must work now to transition to quantum-resistant cryptographic systems.

“Quantum computers could easily solve problems foundational to digital signatures, potentially undermining the mechanisms protecting users’ assets on blockchain platforms,” Professor Sala said in the post.

Quantum-resistant Cryptographic Defenses

The cryptographic community has made strides towards developing ‘post-quantum’ cryptographic schemes that offer security against quantum attacks.  Sala suggested continuing the the development and implementation of quantum-resistant cryptographic systems to further counter these threats, Professor Sala said.

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“All classical public-key cryptosystems should be replaced with counterparts secure against quantum attacks,” he said.

Transitioning to these new systems is essential to maintain blockchain integrity and security.

Algebra and coding theory can help guide the construction of quantum-resistant systems. Sala specifically cited examples such as finding the closest element in a predetermined lattice and decoding noisy data. These mathematical frameworks are vital for developing robust security solutions to protect blockchain technology from quantum threats.

Global Collaboration

International collaboration is key in this effort. Professor Sala praised initiatives like the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology — NIST — standardization process, which is boosting global efforts to establish common cryptographic standards resistant to quantum attacks. This collaborative approach ensures rigorous evaluation of new cryptographic schemes, enhancing their reliability and security.

From an educational perspective, Professor Sala stressed the need to update academic curricula to include quantum-resistant cryptographic methods. This shift involves moving from traditional cryptographic education, focused on integer factorization and discrete logarithms, to addressing challenges posed by quantum computing.

Immediate Action Needed

Professor Sala advised organizations to start transitioning to quantum-resistant technologies immediately. “The probability of quantum threats materializing may not be imminent, but it is significant enough to warrant proactive measures,” he asserted. He recommended blockchain developers stay engaged with ongoing standardization efforts and participate in forums focused on quantum-safe advancements.

Ripple And PQC

Ripple is particularly interested in post-quantum cryptography because it is a technology company that provides real-time payment solutions using blockchain technology. The Ripple community is focused on creating a secure, instant and low-cost international payments. Ripple’s primary product is the RippleNet, a global payments network that connects banks, payment providers, and digital asset exchanges to facilitate cross-border transactions.

Ripple also has its own digital currency, XRP, which is used to provide liquidity for transactions on the network and to bridge different currencies.

Ripple Insights blog also offers articles on topics including legal landscape of digital finance and privacy and trust on public blockchains.

For additional UBRI insights, you can read the latest research report.

Matt Swayne

With a several-decades long background in journalism and communications, Matt Swayne has worked as a science communicator for an R1 university for more than 12 years, specializing in translating high tech and deep tech for the general audience. He has served as a writer, editor and analyst at The Quantum Insider since its inception. In addition to his service as a science communicator, Matt also develops courses to improve the media and communications skills of scientists and has taught courses. [email protected]

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