As online banking grows it is becoming a hot target for cybercriminals around the world as they become ever more adept at cracking bank security. Now, banks are looking into the technology behind quantum computing as a potential solution to this threat as well as its many other benefits. Currently, the technology is still in development but it is expected to take over from traditional computing in the next five to ten years.
What is quantum computing?
With quantum computing, the amount of processing power available is far larger than even the fastest silicon chips in existence today. Rather than using the traditional 1 and 0 method of binary computer processing, quantum computing uses qubits. Utilizing the theory of quantum superposition, these provide a way of processing 1s and 0s simultaneously, increasing the speed of the computer by several orders of magnitude.
For example, in October 2019, Google’s ‘Sycamore’ quantum computer solved an equation in 200 seconds that would have taken a normal supercomputer 10,000 years to complete. This gives you an idea of the power that we are talking about.
So how does this help the banking sector?
1. Fraud Detection
Fraud is quickly becoming the biggest threat to online banking and data security. Customers need to feel confident that their money and their personal information is kept secure and with data leaks happening more frequently, this problem must be addressed.
Quantum computing offers significant benefits in the fight against fraud, offering enough computing power to automatically and instantly detect patterns that are commonly associated with fraudulent activity. When you add AI and machine learning capabilities to the mix, we could potentially develop pre-warning systems that detect fraud before it even happens.
2. Quantum Cryptography
Cryptography is an area of science that has recently gained popularity. The technology has proven incredibly useful in helping to secure the blockchain networks.
Quantum cryptography takes this security to an entirely new level, particularly when applied to financial data. It provides the ability to store data in a theoretical state of constant flux, making it near impossible for hackers to read or steal.
However, it could also be used to easily crack existing cryptographic security methods. Currently, the strongest 2048-bit encryption would take normal computer ages to break in to, whereas a quantum computer could do it in a matter of seconds.
3. Distributed Keys
Distributed key generation (DKG) is already being used by many online platforms for increased protection against data interception. Now, quantum technology provides a new system known as Measurement-Device Independent Quantum Key Distribution (MKI-QKD) which secures communications to a level that even quantum computers can’t hack.
The technology is already being investigated by several financial institutions, notably major Dutch bank ABN-AMRO for their online and mobile banking applications.
4. Trading and Data
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data are all new technologies that are currently being tested enthusiastically by banks. However, one of the biggest pain points with these technologies is the amount of processing power required.
According to Deltec Bank – “Quantum computing could quickly accelerate this research past the testing level and provide instant solutions to many problems currently facing the banking world. Time-consuming activities like mortgage and loan approvals would become instant and high-frequency trading could become automated and near error-proof.”
Banks that are looking into quantum
Many major banks around the world are already investigating the potential benefits of quantum computing.
UK banking giant Barclays has worked in conjunction with IBM to develop a proof-of-concept that utilizes quantum computing to settle transactions. When applied to trading, the concept could successfully complete massive amounts of complex trades in seconds.
Major US bank JPMorgan has also expressed an interest in the technology for its security and data processing abilities. The bank has tasked its senior engineer with creating a ‘quantum culture’ in the business and meeting fortnightly with scientists to explore developments in the field.
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) is working with the Spanish National Research Council (CISC) to explore various applications of quantum computing. The team believes the technology could reduce risk and improve customer service.
Quantum Computing though still in an early stage will have a significant impact on the Banking sectors in years to come.
Disclaimer: The author of this text, Robin Trehan, has an Undergraduate degree in economics, Masters in international business and finance and MBA in electronic business. Trehan is Senior VP at Deltec International www.deltecbank.com. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this text are solely the views of the author, and not necessarily reflecting the views of Deltec International Group, its subsidiaries and/or employees.
About Deltec Bank
Headquartered in The Bahamas, Deltec is an independent financial services group that delivers bespoke solutions to meet clients’ unique needs. The Deltec group of companies includes Deltec Bank & Trust Limited, Deltec Fund Services Limited, and Deltec Investment Advisers Limited, Deltec Securities Ltd. and Long Cay Captive Management.