Wouldn’t they just be able to switch to some hash-based or symmetric cryptographic algorithm if quantum attacks became a problem?
Thanks for the interest.
There are several cryptocurrencies which offer privacy and anonymity (designed and conceived in several different ways), why don’t we just use one — the others are unnecessary? Ethereum is the wunderkid of the blockchain world and will soon be implementing a limited form of post-quantum secure address type — why do we need any other solutions?
Security is all or nothing — secure or insecure. Once quantum thefts become a problem things will be far too late — crypto is supposed to be better than that, better than everything out there, because it is built on math and not the whimsy of bankers or lazy thinking like ‘we’ll fix it after the problem occurs’. Plurality of solutions is always a good thing for an ecosystem like cryptocurrency as it drives innovation and progress forward.
I see many use-cases for the QRL. The most obvious and least interesting is as a financial option against an unexpected Y2Q event. If such an event happens then pointing out that some addresses on the ethereum chain are post-quantum secure will not be noticeable when the price of the underlying token crashes. Of course we may have warning. But the least interesting use case of the QRL is being designed to be post-quantum ready with a ledger which will survive such a computing transition entirely without incident because all addresses are secure.
Having worked with hash-based digital signatures I can say that they are cumbersome, huge, stateful and somewhat impractical things to handle with a simple design like the QRL. Suggesting they will just plug and play into ethereum and allow the EVM to continue is certainly a complete oversimplification.
Curious, what is the incentive for people to switch to QRL?
I don’t expect people to switch to the QRL. I expect it to launch as a post-quantum reservoir of value. I expect it to allow our team to experiment with completely new categories of digital signatures for the first time in a blockchain setting — be it XMSS, SPHINCS, or lattice-based cryptographic schemes.
What excites me about the QRL is not necessarily the prospect of being a value store, but of being a decentralised secure layer which allows completely secure and private data channels to be generated and leveraged outwards into the wider net (private VPN, post-quantum secure file transfer, messenger services, secure VOIP). I see a future where internet services pass through decentralised protocol layers to be absolutely secure and incorruptible from prying eyes.
I hope that answers your questions about what we are about!