The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is reportedly involved in a secret project to create a new cryptocurrency that would be quantum-computer resistant. Despite the belief that quantum computers aren’t possible and that they’ll never even be a threat to crypto, the secret spy agency is dedicating resources to determine whether or not it’s possible to create a digital currency solution that would be immune to theoretical quantum computer attacks.
Not much is known about how involved the NSA is in developing its digital currency. Virtually the only information that has been made available came through a tweet by William Turton, a reporter for Bloomberg Technology. Turton, who had attended the Billington CyberSecurity summit in Washington, DC, commented on a presentation by the NSA during the summit:
Crypto address keys are, by nature, very difficult to break. There is a private key and an associated public key and the string of characters has been created in such a way that deciphering the connection is virtually impossible. Applying advanced security technology makes hacking the system even more difficult.
Some computer and technology experts have posited that a quantum computer would be able to process data so quickly that being able to perform certain functions, such as breaking security, would be possible in a matter of seconds. However, the claims are dubious, at best, with certain industry experts asserting that a quantum computer is an impossibility. A mathematics professor, Gil Kalai, is one of these, and he said last year, “I think that the effort required to obtain a low enough error level for any implementation of universal quantum circuits increases exponentially with the number of qubits, and thus, quantum computers are not possible.”
The NSA’s development is apparently tied to the agency’s goal to combat ransomware and malware attacks, especially as they’re tied to crypto. Neuberger also said during the summit, “Ransomware is really interesting – 4,000 attacks a day over the last number of years. … That is certainly something that would be a key concern for the elections,” adding, “In the intelligence community, we put a tremendous focus on countries, what their plans are and how they use cyber to achieve their strategic agendas, and each one does things a bit different because their strategic objectives are a bit different.”
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