Professor Aggelos Kiayias, the Chief Scientist of blockchain technology firm IOHK, recently spoke on blockchain interoperability, energy consumption, and security, with a focus on Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Cardano, and quantum cryptography.
Professor Kiayias made these remarks in an interview with “Cyber Protection Magazine” (a publication that tackles cyber security “in words that the C-suite and corporate executives can comprehend”), which was published as an article on Friday (June 4).
Existing Blockchains’ Security Issues
“… Elon Musk has talked about speeding up Dogecoin, but how fast can one make block production in a cybercurrency before it becomes too brittle? As we have shown in recent work, the number of blocks that the network produces in given length of time each block travels the network in a predictable time and an adversary can be held off by the miners following established protocols. However, if one dares to increase that travel time by an order of magnitude as Musk suggests without making any fundamental modifications in the underlying protocol design, protection against adversaries decreases accordingly.“
On Blockchain Consensus Mechanisms’ Energy Consumption
“Energy inefficiency is built into Bitcoin and will only worsen, as its price rises… Bitcoin draws its security from the energy-intensive ‘proof of work’ process, in which Bitcoin miners use their computing power to compete to solve random, complex cryptographic puzzles, with the first to solve the puzzle earning the right to mint the next block of data on the Bitcoin ledger… As an answer to this, we have developed a highly energy efficient ‘proof-of-stake’ protocol, and were the first to formally propose such a system and have it accepted for publications to a major Cryptology Conference… The Ouroboros protocol sees the entire global blockchain network powered with the energy usage of just a single family home.“
Interoperability in the Blockchain
“… blockchain companies need to build solutions that can work together. Cardano is unique because it was built with interoperability in mind, and a lot of our work is focussed on making blockchain systems work with each other via our work on interoperability.“
On the subject of quantum cryptography
“With Google claiming to have solved the ‘holy grail’ of quantum supremacy, there was much fear that quantum computing could leave conventional security protocols and even blockchain vulnerable to quantum attacks… However, in collaboration with researchers at Texas A&M University and University of Edinburgh we have already shown that the Bitcoin design can be adapted for post-quantum resilience and in upcoming work we will be extending these results to the more challenging setting of Proof of Stake protocols like Ouroboros.“