TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — From its research center in Taipei, Taiwan, BTQ is preparing for the next era of cybersecurity by developing digital cryptography tools at the dawn of the era of quantum computing.
To most readers, this probably sounds very abstract, especially because a quantum computer has yet to be invented. However, governments and companies expect such a device to appear in the near future.
Excited by the possibilities and concerned about the potential dangers quantum computers can present, companies like BTQ and others are positioning themselves to provide security solutions for digital assets against quantum computer-based attacks.
Recently, BTQ Scientific Director Cheng Chen-Mou (鄭振牟) joined the Startup Island Taiwan podcast with host Jeremy Olivier, where he discussed some of the issues with Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC) and explained the work done by BTQ.
Post-quantum cryptography is a fascinating and challenging field that combines the study of physics, mathematics, computer science and electrical engineering, said Cheng, who has been involved in the field for more than 15 years as a developer and in academia.
To explain the relationship between quantum computing and post-quantum cryptography, Cheng said that for BTQ, quantum computing is often conceptualized as an adversary. On the other hand, post-quantum cryptography is envisioned as the tools and skills needed to defend against the risks posed by such an adversary.
Currently, one of BTQ’s primary focus is blockchain cryptography, specifically the current process of moving sensitive information over publicly accessible networks to more secure blockchain networks. This transition was called for by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the US Department of Commerce.
Cheng also noted that NIST is a major player in orchestrating this transition. Last July, after six years of research and analysis, NIST announced standardized algorithms for quantum computing operations. The announcement was a boon for companies like BTQ, as they can now start developing applications and related technologies using a set of accepted global standards.
It is now an urgent priority for businesses and governments around the world to secure web transactions that still take place over unencrypted networks. Legacy networks are simply not secure against today’s cyber threats, Cheng said, and BTQ wants to ease that transition by researching cryptographic tools to secure these new blockchain-based networks.
Using the metaphor of a home renovation, Cheng said that right now the entire internet has to “replace all the pipes” to make sure online security is tight and that it doesn’t. there are no weak links. Given the massive scale of such an operation, many opportunities as well as difficult challenges loom on the horizon for those involved in the PQC. BTQ is only a small player, but wants to be part of this effort, Cheng said.
Cheng pointed out that even devices with very little computing power, such as refrigerators or other household appliances, must also be secure. One aspect of this process is to develop new hardware for such devices.
In September, BTQ announced he was collaborating with the Taiwan Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) to achieve this. The two will work together to develop a new type of computer chip to improve the security of these new blockchain-based networks and hopefully reduce power consumption in the process.
The full interview can be streamed by the player above or on the Taiwan startup island the podcast page. Readers can learn more about BTQ by visiting their website. For those who are interested, BTQ is organizing a CQP workshop in Taipei in early December as part of Taipei Blockchain Week.