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Schrodinger's Cash: Minting Quantum Money

By New Scientist

April 23, 2010

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The concept of quantum money—money that exists only as a stream of information and can be transmitted—is appealing because it cannot be counterfeited. Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher Scott Aaronson has brought quantum money a step closer to reality by outlining a computationally secure quantum money scheme founded on the type of asymmetric mathematics underlying public key cryptography.

Public key quantum money is first issued in the quantum state, which is kept secret by the issuing bank, and then as a circuit, or the plans for a circuit, that confirms whether the secret key is present in something claiming to be quantum cash. The challenge now facing Aaronson and colleagues is to find a quantum process that appears to have a solid asymmetrical foundation, and on which the security of quantum money could be based. In the last year Aaronson and colleagues have organized a quantum money club to find new ways of imbuing quantum cash with computational security, and then search for vulnerabilities in their concepts.

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