Alice and Bob have broken up and have moved as far away from each other as possible. But they still have something to sort out: who gets to keep the car. Flipping a coin while talking on the phone to decide who gets to keep it just won't work. There's no trust. Neither believes each other's result.
A paper published in Nature Communications by a team of researchers from Canada and Switzerland explores the concept of coin flipping in the context of quantum physics that uses light particles, so-called photons, to allow communication tasks in a manner that outperforms standard communication schemes.
To understand the researchers' approach, it helps to use an analogy that involves a safe. Bob flips a coin and sends the result of his coin flip, hidden in the safe, to Alice. Upon receiving Bob's safe, Alice sends the result of her own flip to Bob. Once received, Bob sends the key to Alice who unlocks the safe. Now, Alice and Bob both know each other's coin flip and, according to some previously agreed-upon rule, who will drive away with the car.
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