There had been well-known claims of unconditionally secure quantum protocols for bit commitment. However, we, and independently Mayers, showed that all proposed quantum bit commitment schemes are, in principle, insecure because the sender, Alice, can almost always cheat successfully by using an Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) type of attack and delaying her measurements. One might wonder if secure quantum bit commitment protocols exist at all. We answer this question by showing that the same type of attack by Alice will, in principle, break any bit commitment scheme. The cheating strategy generally requires a quantum computer. We emphasize the generality of this “no-go theorem”: Unconditionally secure bit commitment schemes based on quantum mechanics-fully quantum, classical or quantum but with measurements-are all ruled out by this result. Since bit commitment is a useful primitive for building up more sophisticated protocols such as zero-knowledge proofs, our results cast very serious doubt on the security of quantum cryptography in the so-called “post-cold-war” applications. We also show that ideal quantum coin tossing is impossible because of the EPR attack. This no-go theorem for ideal quantum coin tossing may help to shed some lights on the possibility of non-ideal protocols.
Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 1998
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