Quantum Prudent Contracts with Applications to Bitcoin

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Smart contracts are cryptographic protocols that are enforced without a judiciary. Smart contracts are used occasionally in Bitcoin and are prevalent in Ethereum. Public quantum money improves upon cash we use today, yet the current constructions do not enable smart contracts. In this work, we define and introduce quantum payment schemes, and show how to implement prudent contracts -- a non-trivial subset of the functionality that a network such as Ethereum provides. Examples discussed include: multi-signature wallets in which funds can be spent by any 2-out-of-3 owners; restricted accounts that can send funds only to designated destinations; and "colored coins" that can represent stocks that can be freely traded, and their owner would receive dividends. Our approach is not as universal as the one used in Ethereum since we do not reach a consensus regarding the state of a ledger. We call our proposal prudent contracts to reflect this. The main building block is either quantum tokens for digital signatures (Ben-David and Sattath QCrypt'17, Coladangelo et al. Crypto'21), semi-quantum tokens for digital signatures (Shmueli'22) or one-shot signatures (Amos et al. STOC'20). The solution has all the benefits of public quantum money: no mining is necessary, and the security model is standard (e.g., it is not susceptible to 51\% attacks, as in Bitcoin). Our one-shot signature construction can be used to upgrade the Bitcoin network to a quantum payment scheme. Notable advantages of this approach are: transactions are locally verifiable and without latency, the throughput is unbounded, and most importantly, it would remove the need for Bitcoin mining. Our approach requires a universal large-scale quantum computer and long-term quantum memory; hence we do not expect it to be implementable in the next few years.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 27 Apr 2022


  • quant-ph
  • cs.CR


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