The Institute of Cyber Security for Society (iCSS) and the School of Computing are celebrating a new industrial grant awarded to University of Kent Lecturer, Dr Carlos Perez-Delgado, for research into the intersection of cybersecurity, blockchain technologies and quantum information. The grant, provided by the Casper Association, started in June 2022 and is worth £155,000 for its initial period until September 2023, with further funding for up to three years afterwards.
Blockchains and cryptocurrencies are now deeply embedded in society. The highly-volatile cryptocurrency market hit a high market capitalisation mark of $3 trillion USD in November 2021. While this market currently faces many challenges, quantum technological advances could become its greatest threat. These same advances could also potentially open the door to yet untapped, and even unimagined economic opportunities. It is only through comprehensive research of the intersection of these two technologies (quantum and blockchains) that society will be able to unlock and exploit these opportunities, as well as avoid potential disasters.
This grant will allow Carlos and his research group to thoroughly investigate the consequences–both positive and negative–of quantum technology advances into blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and their markets. They will create protocols and algorithms to exploit quantum tech to improve blockchains, where possible, and develop strategies to mitigate the negative impacts of quantum tech, such as attacks from quantum-enabled malicious actors.
The funder, The Casper Association, is a non-profit organisation that oversees the ongoing evolution and decentralisation of the Casper Network. It provides resources to help accelerate the adoption of Casper and its growing ecosystem of decentralized applications. The Casper network is a scalable, enterprise-optimised, proof-of-stake blockchain system that aims to be future-proof. The research at Kent will help the Casper network to achieve its aim of remaining future-proof.
Mark Greenslade, Head of R&D at Casper Association, said: ‘Securing blockchain systems is a serious topic that requires continuous review of the emerging threat landscape. Few if any of the cryptographic schemes leveraged by existing networks are quantum resistant in any meaningful way. By collaborating with University of Kent the Casper Association is sending a strong signal that it takes this issue seriously. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, the Association is confident that the work of Carlos and his team will prove beneficial not only to the Casper network but to the wider blockchain community as a whole.’