Security is a vital component of blockchain technology. With the help of computer science algorithms and cryptographic techniques, blockchains and subsequently cryptocurrencies have been able to exist securely. Transactions can take place, users can invest and store their wealth, all because of this underpinning security. However, this same security for many cryptocurrencies is at risk, because of advancements in quantum computing.
Quantum computers make use of quantum superposition and entanglement to create qubits. Unlike normal bits that are either 1 or 0, qubits can simultaneously be both 1 and 0 at the same time. This gives quantum computers massively greater computational abilities compared to classical computers. To be exact 2^n greater, where n is the number of qubits. You can see how this scales exponentially in favor of quantum computers. Commonly used digital signature encryption methods such as Elliptical Curve Cryptography (ECC) and RSA, will be under threat. These are examples of a trapdoor function, a function that is easy to go from A to B, while to go from B to A is incredibly hard. It is said to be mathematical infeasible and would take classical computer thousands of years to break i.e., work out the private key from the public key. This property is principal to public and private key technology. But with a quantum computer large enough, combined with algorithms such as Shor’s algorithm, ECC and RSA could be broken by a quantum computer in hours. This could lead to the forgery of private keys and the loss of billions of dollars worth of crypto from coin addresses. The threat of such attacks being carried out would make most of blockchain technology as it is today redundant.
Many people claim that quantum computing is not an issue to be worried about, that the technology is so far away and infeasible. This isn’t entirely false; researchers have calculated it would take 317 million qubits to break the ECC key used in Bitcoin. In 2018, Google announced a 72-qubit computer, in 2021, IBM made a 127-qubit one. Granted, the technology is not exactly knocking on our door. However, with huge-scale funding from both the private and public sectors for quantum technology, the world is becoming closer and closer to building a large-scale quantum computer. If quantum computers even roughly follow Moore’s law, this development will be exponential in the coming years.
And we are not the only ones to think this, in 2016 the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced its search for post-quantum cryptographic methods. Just like us, NIST understands when it comes to quantum computing technology it is not a question of if, but when. Abelian uses lattice-based cryptographic algorithms to secure against quantum attacks, those NIST shortlisted finalists in their post-quantum cryptographic standardization project.
By presenting solutions to these pressing issues, Abelian hopes to create a more secure and private layer 1 blockchain that enables digital gold 2.0. With the continued hard work and support from our community and team, this vision will soon be realized.
Abelian is a post-quantum Layer 1 blockchain led by a group of lifetime cryptographers, mathematicians, and computer scientists. A combination of our quantum-resistant cryptographic technology and privacy-enhancing features, enables us to offer unparalleled levels of both security and privacy to our users. By embedding these qualities at the core of Abelian, it is primed to foster a prosperous, scalable ecosystem and exciting community.