A researcher from the University of Cambridge proposed a new type of money that is unforgeable and secure against attacks from quantum computers.
The theoretical framework was dubbed the "S-money." In a paper, the researcher claimed that it theoretically would make it possible to conduct business anywhere in the solar system and beyond in the future.
Details of S-money appears in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A.
Quick And Secure
The framework was developed by Adrian Kent, a professor at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge.
"It's a slightly different way of thinking about money: instead of something that we hold in our hands or in our bank accounts, money could be thought of as something that you need to get to a certain point in space and time, in response to data that's coming from lots of other points in space and time," he explained.
The framework, he said, can be thought of as virtual tokens that can be traded without the delays of cross-checking and verification across the network but without the risk of double-trading. The data is protected through protocols such as bit commitment: data is delivered from point A to B in a locked envelope that cannot be changed once sent. The data will only be revealed when the recipient provides the correct key.
The Future Of Commerce
There have been previous attempts to develop a theoretical framework for quantum money. However, Kent noted that, right now, it is not technologically possible to keep quantum money secure for an "appreciable length of time."
"Quantum money, insofar as it's currently understood, would require long-term storage of quantum states, or quantum memory," he stated. "This would require an awful lot of resources, and even if it becomes technologically feasible, it may be incredibly expensive."
On the other hand, S-money needs large computational overhead but might be feasible with current technologies. Kent, with the Quantum Communications Hub, will conduct a small-scale, proof-of-concept testing later this year.
They are aiming to understand how fast the S-money can be issued and spent on a network using off-the-shelf technologies. Kent added that they are trying to find out the advantages and disadvantages of the system.
The Cambridge Enterprise has filed a patent application of the research.