The future has well and truly arrived thanks to the conceptualisation of a new theoretical framework called “S-Money” that has been proposed by a researcher at the University of Cambridge.
This new type of money would allow users to be protected against attacks from quantum computers, as well as ensuring secure authentication that can not be forged. In addition to this it would allow faster, more efficient, and more flexible responses, far beyond cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or anything we can imagine at the moment.
Those using the network could buy and pay for products from Venus, a planet that is 163 million miles from the Earth- a distance that would take a spacecraft 97 days to travel.
By harnessing the power of quantum theory and relativity, it could, in theory make it possible to conduct payments across the Solar System without any time lags. Of course, the idea of conducting commercial transactions galactically, is a little far fetched at the present time.
If all goes to plan, the researchers involved in the project expect to begin testing its practicality over the next few months. Whilst S-Money requires extremely fast computations to work, researchers have said testing could be feasible with current technology.
Professor Adrian Kent from the Cambridge University Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics states that “It’s a slightly different way of thinking about money: instead of something that we hold in our hands or in our bank accounts, money could be thought of as something that you need to get to a certain point in space and time, in response to data that’s coming from lots of other points in space and time.
The paper detailing the proposed framework was published in the academic journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society A” on Wednesday.
The proposed framework would secure virtual tokens that have been generated via communications between a number of points spread across a financial network. These points would respond in a flexible manner to real-time data and then ‘materialise’ so that they can be used at an optimal place and time. It would allow those using the network to respond quicker to events, than when compared with other types of money that follow ‘definite paths through space’.
“In our main scenario for S-money, the user inputs data at various space-time points, and these inputs collectively determine the space-time point at which the S-money token will be valid. Effectively, the user freely controls the destiny of the S-money token, and the scheme is designed to give as much freedom to the user as possible while preventing fraudulent presentation of duplicate tokens,” reads the paper.
When it comes to the privacy of its users, this would be maintained by a number of protocols including bit commitment which is the digital version of a sealed envelope. Data would be transported from A to B in a secure state which is immutable once sent and can only be opened once the other party provides the key.
According to Kent, we may not be making transactions to Martians any time soon. It seems that despite leaps and bounds in technology, there is still a lot of work to be done and catching up to do before quantum money becomes a reality.
“Quantum money, insofar as it’s currently understood, would require long-term storage of quantum states, or quantum memory,” said Kent. “This would require an awful lot of resources, and even if it becomes technologically feasible, it may be incredibly expensive.”