JPMorgan Chase, Toshiba and Ciena have demonstrated the full viability of a first-of-its-kind Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) network for metropolitan areas, resistant to quantum computing attacks and capable of supporting 800 Gbps data rates for mission-critical applications under real-world environmental conditions.
The three partners’ research team demonstrated the ability of the newly developed QKD network to instantly detect and defend against eavesdroppers. It also studied the impact of realistic environmental factors on the quality of the quantum channel and used a QKD-secured optical channel to deploy and secure Liink by J.P. Morgan
Liink is touted as the world’s first bank-led, production-grade, peer-to-peer blockchain network. Also, the demonstration was the first QKD securing a mission-critical blockchain application in the industry.
Under the leadership of JPMorgan Chase’s Future Lab for Applied Research and Engineering (FLARE) and Global Network Infrastructure teams, researchers from all three organisations collaborated to achieve the following.
First, a QKD channel was multiplexed on the same fiber as ultra-high bandwidth 800 Gbps optical channels for the first time and used to provide keys for encryption of the data stream.
Second, the co-existence of the quantum channel with two 800 Gbps and eight 100 Gbps channels was demonstrated for a 70-km fiber, with a key rate sufficient to support up to 258 AES-256 encrypted channels at a key refresh rate of 1 key/sec.
Third, operation of QKD and the ten high-bandwidth channels was demonstrated for distances up to 100km.
And fourth, the proof of concept network infrastructure relied on Toshiba’s Multiplexed QKD System, manufactured by Toshiba Europe at their Cambridge UK base, and Ciena’s Waveserver 5 platform, equipped with 800 Gbps optical-layer encryption and open APIs running over Ciena’s 6500 photonic solution.
“This work comes at an important time as we continue to prepare for the introduction of production-quality quantum computers, which will change the security landscape of technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrency in the foreseeable future,” said Marco Pistoia, head of the FLARE Research group at JPMorgan Chase.
According to JP Morgan Chase, QKD is currently the only solution that has been mathematically proven to defend against a potential quantum computing-based attack, with security guarantees based on the laws of quantum physics.
Ciena CTO Steve Alexander said that as the quantum computing era approaches, research and development advances will continue to ensure the confidentiality of critical data as it travels over the network.
“Based on the success of this project we now have a proven and tested method for defending against quantum attacks on blockchain,” said Yasushi Kawakura, VP and general manager of Toshiba America’s Digital Solutions Division.