Jul 18, 2019 | Updated: 10:03 AM EDT

S-money: Ultra-Secure Form of Virtual Money for a Relativistic Economy Proposed

May 15, 2019 08:43 AM EDT

(Photo : Mohamed Hassan)

The theoretical framework was patented and developed by Professor Adrian Kent, from Cambridge's Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. It is dubbed as 'S-money' and harnesses the combined power of quantum theory and relativity, ensuring a completely unique and secure authentication and faster and more flexible responses than any existing financial technology. Theoretically, this framework would make it possible for us to conduct commerce across the Solar System and beyond, without experiencing any lags. The idea of intergalactic commerce is a bit out there but this is just to emphasize how far-reaching the technology is.

"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," said Professor Kent.

Kent explained how S-money works in an article published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A. It was stated in the article that S-money can be thought of as secure virtual tokens generated by communications between various points on a financial network. It allows users to respond to events or any real-time data faster than familiar types of money, both physical and digital, wherein these virtual tokens then 'materialize' so that they can be used whenever and wherever, without having to go through any delays due to cross-checking or verification. This is where quantum theory comes in (which is why it is also called 'quantum money'). Both end's privacy, the user and the receiver's, are maintained by bit commitment protocols, which is much like a mathematical version of a securely sealed envelope. Data is delivered in a locked state, and the only way to reveal it is for the receiving party to provide the key.

It requires very fast computations but may be feasible with current computing technology. "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."

"We're trying to understand the practicalities and understand the advantages and disadvantages," Kent further added.

The researchers are aiming to test the framework (on Earth for now) later this year in collaboration with the Quantum Communications Hub, of which the University of Cambridge is a partner institution. We should then be hearing more and more of the said currency in the months to come.

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