Scientists propose quantum-proof proof-of-work consensus for blockchain

Scientists suggest quantum-proof proof-of-work consensus for blockchains.

Author: TRISTAN GREENE, Cointelegraph; Translation: Matsumaki, Blocking

A group of researchers from universities in Australia and the United States collaborated with quantum technology company BTQ to publish a recent study proposing a new blockchain consensus proof-of-work (PoW) scheme that relies on quantum computing technology to verify consensus.

The preprint research paper, titled “Achieving consensus with quantum sampling,” details a system the authors claim is “significantly accelerated compared to classical hardware calculations and more energy efficient.”

According to the researchers, current algorithms for solving PoW consensus problems are slow and require a lot of computational resources to process: “While classical PoW schemes like Bitcoin are notorious for being energy inefficient, our PoW scheme based on boson sampling offers a more energy-efficient alternative in the implementation of quantum hardware.”

The paper claims that the quantum advantage provided by the scheme will also increase mining difficulty, making it possible to “maintain consistent block mining times” and further incentivize ongoing participation by “quantum miners.”

The sampling process mentioned by the researchers — boson sampling — is not a new concept, but its application in blockchain technology appears to be innovative. Boson sampling has shown promise in numerous quantum computing applications. Nevertheless, as a non-universal quantum computing solution (it must be used for systems built for specific tasks), its potential is limited to a few areas, such as chemistry.

However, according to the researchers, it could be the perfect solution for future blockchain applications and may be able to reduce the environmental impact of mining on the Bitcoin blockchain and similar blockchains.

In addition to the quantum advantage, quantum hardware also has an advantage over older computers due to the nature of blockchain mining work.

Currently, one of the advantages of classical supercomputers over new quantum computers is the ability to “pre-calculate” when regularly processing the same type of problem. However, when it comes to blockchain, this pre-calculation is essentially wasted.

As researchers have noted, mining is a “stagnant” problem. No matter how many times blockchain problems are solved to provide proof of work, the challenges posed by computers and algorithm processing can never be better resolved.

This means that, while the development of quantum computers is challenging and costly to build and maintain, it will ultimately be able to verify consensus more effectively than even the most advanced classical systems.