Experts Split on Practical Implications of Quantum Cryptography

Scientists in China were able to exchange an encryption key at a distance of 1,120 kilometers, this exceeds the previous best attempt by 1,000 kilometers. Crypto experts discuss whether this could have practical implications for the industry.


Hackerproof cryptography?

Quantum computers are scarecrows for the crypto industry for years, with some speculating that the advances in this technology will make all existing cryptography obsolete. This time quantum entanglement was used to exchange a secret key that could be used to encrypt and decrypt messages. One could imagine if this technology becomes a commodity it could make crypto hacking obsolete as users would be able to authorize transactions outside of the Internet.

We reached out to crypto experts to learn whether this technology could have practical implications for the industry in the near future.


Not in our lifetime

Cornell University professor and Ava co-founder Emin Gün Sirer told Cointelegraph that he has been hoping for this technology for the past 40 years. He believes it will become practical sooner or later. “Yes, I keep hoping! I first read about this in the 1980s. At some point, it’ll be practical,” he said.

But Bitcoin Core developer Wladimir van der Laan does not believe it will be adopted in his lifetime:

“Realistically, I expect it to be a long while before quantum computers are available commonly enough to be applicable for a decentralized network, if ever (like: not in my lifetime)”.

Too expensive

Ian Grigg, the inventor of the Ricardian Contract and a notable a cypherpunk does not believe quantum cryptography has something practical to offer:

“Nope. We don’t need quantum cryptography to securely distribute keys. We can do it cheaper with software methods.”

Sergio Demian Lerner, a Bitcoin (BTC) researcher and designer of RSK agrees with Grigg that there are less expensive ways to get the job done:

“There is no need for a quantum link to exchange keys. You just travel once, and exchange keys. And then you use those keys for the next 10 years. In my humble opinion, it has absolutely no application that can cover the infrastructure cost.”

While we await the advances in the quantum realm, a new interesting pattern in the way Satoshi Nakamoto was mining has been noted by Lerner.

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