Petrik’s formula for quantum plastic data: breakthrough or fraud?

Viktor Petrik, Academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. Source: TASS/ Yuri Belinsky

Viktor Petrik, Academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. Source: TASS/ Yuri Belinsky

Russian scientist Viktor Petrik proposes to ensure that bank data cards become completely tamper-proof, by removing the magnetic strips and electronic chips where data is stored, and replacing it with quantum key protection technology. While his small white plastic card is being presented as a breakthrough, there are many who question its feasibility.

Your bank data cards could soon look like a piece of white plastic, with no distinctive identifying features, if Viktor Petrik has his way.

Hailing his quantum key protection technology as the “invention of the century,” Petrik claims he has “created a fundamentally new, absolutely safe kind of bank card,” which cannot be hacked or compromised.

His claims have caused a buzz of excitement across the world of finance, always looking for ways to provide tamper-proof protection for clients.

A genius and a rogue: Who is Mr. Petrik?

Viktor Petrik has been called “the Russian Leonardo Da Vinci of our times,” “a master and a thinker in many fields,” and even “a genius of the 21st century.” However, in Russian academic circles he is better known as a representative of pseudo-science. Russian scientists’ struggle with Petrik has gone so far as to acquire a name of its own: “Petrikgate.”

In 2010 a commission of the Russian Academy of Sciences analyzed his works and concluded that they have no scientific value. Petrik himself claims that the market value of his inventions amounts to $8,836,673,000. It has been reported that he allegedly discovered a formula for winning casino games, invented a method to set transportation into motion without using sources of energy and created a perpetually moving cylinder. His most dubious invention is an underground “pyramid of Cheops” that irradiates rays that Petrik argues can prolong a man’s life to 140 years.

“Russian scientist makes a breakthrough,” said a variety of global media outlets when Petrik presented his card, in which there are no magnetic strips or microchips but quantum dots are inserted in the polymer granules to make what he calls an “absolutely fraud-proof” small, white plastic card.

According to Petrik, the magnetic strip and the electronic chips are the weakest link in the bank card security chain and need to be got rid of.

“We created a fundamentally new, absolutely safe kind of bank card,” says Viktor Petrik, squeezing a small piece of white plastic in his hands. “In this object there are no magnetic strips or microchips and this card is absolutely fraud-proof.” According to Petrik, the card cannot be hacked into or compromised “using easily accessible electronic means.”

However, several Russian scientists are sceptical about the scientist’s seemingly brilliant solution for the problem of data leakage, and say the invention is of dubious value, doubting its validity.

A technological revolution or a pseudo-science?

Questions abound about the whether bank users will truly receive better protection if payment systems are routed through a quantum piece of plastic.

Petrik’s invention has several aspects that bewilder experts. First, in order to introduce it, the system of payments worldwide will need to be changed.

Yet the quantum key method could provide a high level of protection for physical objects, including cards. Other scientists have also been conducting research along similar lines, exploring similar technologies.

“The method proposed by Petrik is not new, and in the form in which it has been exposed it can be easily hacked, for example, by using a modern 3D printer,” Nikolay Suetin, scientific director of the IT cluster at the Skolkov Fund told RIR. “At the moment some approaches that use other quantum effects are being actively developed.”

The American Quantum Materials Corporation had proposed the use of quantum dots in the struggle against the production of counterfeit goods back in 2014. However, the technology they have been developing is more complex.

Research in this field has also been carried out at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. It is possible, therefore, that quantum protection technologies could replace the usual microchips and magnetic strips some time in the future, while bank cards could turn into pieces of white plastic without identifiable signs.

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