The blockchain community should immediately begin working on three issues to prevent being overtaken by quantum computers, a cryptography expert says.
Xinxin Fan, head of cryptography at privacy- and IoT-focused blockchain platform IoTeX, published an article in The International Business Times on Nov. 7, calling on the blockchain community to stay up to date about the progress being made on quantum computers.
While reiterating that short-term developments in quantum computing are “modest,” Fan argued that blockchains will have to keep pace to avoid being overtaken by quantum computers as the technology grows and improves.
As such, Fan outlined three major directions for the blockchain community to address as soon as possible, which are the standardization of “quantum-resistant” cryptography, cryptographic agility and blockchain governance.
Standards for quantum-resistant cryptography
According to the expert, the first direction is a process to standardized quantum-resistant cryptography as it develops. Fan noted that quantum-resistant cryptography tech has already been initiated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Stressing the need for such standardization, Fan wrote:
“Developing and implementing capabilities specifically designed to resist quantum computers will be key for the future of blockchains, as well as their survival. Blockchain supporters and developers should therefore closely monitor the standardization process and prepare to integrate the results into existing and future blockchain projects.”
Next is cryptographic agility. Simply put, this concerns developers’ ability to implement quantum-resistant upgrades to existing blockchain networks.
The expert cited the Ethereum network as an example, emphasizing the importance of such platforms being able to regularly upgrade their systems due to the large number of projects that depend on them.
The third important issue is blockchain governance. According to Fan, blockchain projects must set up procedures to clearly define when and how to deploy “quantum-safe” upgrades to their networks.
Given the difficulty blockchains have faced in establishing optimal governance structures, the expert argued that the blockchain community should start seriously thinking and experimenting with “ways to ensure governance is not a hindrance to the improvement of technology.”
“There is no doubt that quantum computing is coming, and it will have major effects across the technology space. But those who believe that its simple existence is a death knell for blockchain fail to consider that the latter will grow and evolve alongside quantum computing. There is much that can be done to make blockchains more dynamic and robust — and if we do those things, we will not have to worry about quantum supremacy any time soon.”
On Oct. 25, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin delivered his opinion on the issue of quantum supremacy, saying:
“My one-sentence impression of recent quantum supremacy stuff so far is that it is to real quantum computing what hydrogen bombs are to nuclear fusion. Proof that a phenomenon and the capability to extract power from it exist, but still far from directed use toward useful things.”
Previously, Bitcoin (BTC) educator Andreas Antonopoulos claimed that Google's latest developments in quantum computing have had no impact on Bitcoin.