• Matthew Spencer - Tech Journalist

JPMorgan Chase, Visa, Toshiba, Ciena research Quantum network to protect blockchains & cyber attacks

When we reached the sweet conclusion of growing computing power, rumours of quantum computer development were pulling through headlines. We may finally see some action sooner than later, from imaginary concepts to top tech secret laboratory projects. Research firm JPMorgan Chase, storage tech giant Toshiba, financial corporation Visa and networking provider Ciena reported their vision with Quantum network research to protect blockchain.

JPMorgan, Toshiba, Ciena, and Visa already have researchers working on building blocks on quantum computing. The primary target is to create a quantum key distribution (QKD) network to protect blockchain applications against quantum attacks. Even though we are in the early stages of quantum computing, the buildup is receiving recognition across the industry.

Report published on “Paving the Way towards 800 Gbps Quantum-Secured Optical Channel Deployment in Mission-Critical Environments” described experimental research studies conducted to understand the implementation aspects of high-capacity quantum-secured optical channels in mission-critical metro-scale operational environments based on Quantum key Distributions (QKD) technology.

Many news reports the motive as a nebulous plan at best. However, the publications and reports disagree. The traditional encryption model receives quite a bit of controversy even though it works. It is impossible to decrypt these encrypted forms of data. The company itself does not hold information in their server regarding the key; if it matches, it just works. That’s the beauty of encryption.

But on the post-quantum level of security, where it can perform a thousand percentiles more calculations each second, decrypting complex codes can get much more accessible. So, cracking down traditional encryption may face many problems.

Quantum key distribution (QKD) boils down to some critical metrics powered by quantum security. The two-way secured communications network can instantly detect and defend against eavesdroppers. Distinguished engineer Marco Pistoia of Flare Research Group, JPMorgan Chase, said, “security is paramount for JPMorgan Chase.”

When we think of encryption, the first thing that comes to mind is sharing a private key and a public key among the two parties. One is held to the customer side, and the other remains operational. The theory remains the same at the quantum level as two parties agree on the same kay using photonics-based quantum technology.

Encryption on the server-side of things works on a fast connection. But on quantum-level, distance remains impractical and more so as the pressing challengers come to a post-quantum level of security.

The movement is led by Marco Pistoia, engineer and head of the Future Lab for Applied Research and Engineering (FLARE) at JPMorgan Chase. After a 24-year-old long career at IBM Research, a security specialist field is brought out of his career. Static program analysis, which may sound simple but in real-world terms, where programs are analyzed in real-time to run without being executed, is as complex as it gets. For quantum computing, difficult words are used more frequently than the other mechanism. It is targeted for laborious tasks, which are inefficient for general high-power computing.

Pistoia reported QKD as “boxes that generate keys from different parties are already available.” So, in experiments, it only makes sense that “we used to get the 100km distance. Two parties still have to be relatively closer to each other, which is good for micro areas, but we need much longer distance QKD for it to be operational and have an impact.”

The term “future-focused” on the non-technical options are suited for qubits or algorithms that perform post-quantum security. The Nationals Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has several frameworks running for future Technology. NIST and Pistoia gave out recommendations “But this is time that should be used intelligently.”

QKD uses 800 Gbps optical channels in a high-bandwidth network and provides private keys for data stream encryption. From the same track, 100 Gbps channels extend to a 70km fibre and support up to 258 AES-256 encrypted channels with the key refresh rate of 1 key/second.

Ciena’s Wave server five platforms currently supporting up to 800 Gbps optical-layer encryption runs over Ciena’s API 6500 photonic solution. The future seems bright for quantum computing, and we may see the early stages developed for quantum-level encryption.