JPMorgan Chase, Toshiba, Ciena, build first QKD network for Blockchain app

Created February 17, 2022
Applications and Research

New research involving JPMorgan Chase, Toshiba and Ciena, has demonstrated the viability of a QKD network for metropolitan areas. Resistant to quantum computing attacks and capable of supporting 800 Gbps data under real-world environmental conditions, it is believed to be the first demonstration of QKD securing a mission-critical blockchain application in the industry.

The research team demonstrated the ability of the 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, the world’s first bank-led, production-grade, peer-to-peer blockchain network.

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 results:

  • A QKD channel was multiplexed on the same fibre as ultra-high bandwidth 800 Gbps optical channels for the first time and was used to provide keys for encryption of the data stream.
  • Co-existence of the quantum channel with two 800 Gbps and eight 100 Gbps channels was demonstrated for a 70km fibre, with a key rate sufficient to support up to 258 AES-256 encrypted channels at a key refresh rate of 1 key/sec.
  • Operation of QKD and the ten high-bandwidth channels was demonstrated for distances up to 100km.
  • The proof of concept network infrastructure used Toshiba Europe’s Multiplexed QKD System, manufactured at its 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. The tests were conducted in JPMorgan Chase’s fibre optic production simulation lab.

“Security is paramount for JPMorgan Chase,” said Marco Pistoia, PhD, Distinguished Engineer and head of the FLARE Research group, JPMorgan Chase. “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. We are proud to be at the front-end of developing QKD technology for real-world applications while partnering with industry leaders in the field, such as Toshiba and Ciena.”

Steve Alexander, chief technology officer, Ciena, added, “With more sensitive information being distributed across fibre-optic networks every day, robust encryption is of vital importance. 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, vice president and general manager Digital Solutions Division, Toshiba America, Inc. “Toshiba is proud to contribute our QKD technology to this first-of-its-kind solution.”

Read the full research paper here.


This article was written
by Peter Dykes

Peter Dykes is a independent telecoms and technology journalist who has over that last 30 years written for a wide range of B2B publications and companies. A former BT engineer, he specialises in networks and associated support systems. He is currently Editor of Optical Connections.