Cryptocurrency with Enhanced Security: Post-Quantum and Threshold Cryptography

Cryptocurrency with Enhanced Security: Post-Quantum and Threshold Cryptography

PI: Dr. Allen M.H. Au, HKU

Project Abstract: 

Cryptocurrencies have created a new market with numerous opportunities. With a total market capitalization of over 1.7T USD, the security and privacy of cryptocurrencies attracted numerous attention lately. The goal of this project is to investigate new techniques to enhance the security and privacy of cryptocurrencies.

To be more specific, we will investigate techniques to properly protect private keys which ultimately control the ownership of the currency units. Our idea is to utilize the latest development from threshold cryptography which allows the sensitive key to be generated and stored in a distributed manner so that the number of compromised server is below a certain threshold, the key remains secure. Furthermore, under no condition do we need to pool these key pieces together so that there will be no single-point-of-failure. We believe this is one of the most promising ways forward to solve the problem of key compromise, and is a robust way to offer full wallet security.

In addition, we will consider not just traditional attackers but also attackers equipped with the all-powerful quantum computers. The core idea is to rely on lattice-based cryptography (LBC), a new class of cryptographic techniques from a mathematical structure known as lattices. LBC can be deployed in traditional computers yet offers security against quantum computers. This will ensure that existing cryptocurrencies can adopt our techniques (without requiring any quantum device) yet they will be future-proof.

We plan to apply our techniques to the previous HKU coin project to build the first prototype offering both post-quantum security, privacy and enhanced wallet security.

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