One day quantum computers could be used to cryptographically crack cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. And that day may come sooner than anticipated.
Theoretically, if you had a powerful enough computer, you could control the BTC blockchain. You can use your credit account with free BTC or prevent others from making transactions. Since the private key for each wallet can be derived from the public key, you can access anyone’s Bitcoin wallet you want. The keys to the $163 billion castle will be yours, of course in that scenario, the price of BTC will surely plummet as soon as its claims of invulnerability are discovered. is baseless.
While even the most powerful supercomputer would take thousands of years to crack Bitcoin, there are machines that could theoretically do so in seconds. These extremely fast devices are known as quantum computers.
And they’re actually being developed by some of the best minds on the planet right now.
Some experts say it’s too late for Bitcoin; Quantum computers have been secretly developed by governments, which can damage blockchains in just a few years.
But for others, including some quantum computer developers, anxiety is far-fetched and far-fetched; by the time quantum computers become reliable and powerful enough to attack BTC, blockchain developers will patch this vulnerability.
You want to know more? This overview guide contains everything you need to know about quantum computers and BTC.
What is a quantum computer?
Quantum physics deals with the study of structures smaller than atoms. When looking at sub-atomic structures, the laws of physics are put aside and crazy things start to happen. Quantum computers exploit those properties to perform calculations even much faster than the most powerful supercomputers.
Traditional computers, like the one you’re using to read this article, operate on the numbers 1s and 0.s. If something is “true,” then the transistor will write 1. And if it does means “false”, then the transistor will read 0. There are billions of transistors in every computer; An estimated 13 trillion transistors have been created since their first creation in 1947, making it the most produced tool ever.
But due to something called “quantum superposition”, the transistors in a quantum computer can write both 1s and 0s simultaneously, which means a quantum transistor is exponentially more powerful than a computer. commonality.
How can quantum computers crack Bitcoin’s code?
Bitcoin uses something called ECDSA to sign digital signatures and uses a cryptographic standard called SHA-256 to hash blocks on the chain.
With BTC, a randomly selected private key is run through these algorithms to generate a public key. And the BTC protocol uses the hash of this to generate a public BTC address.
A quantum computer can reverse this process and derive the private key from the public key. And here it is! The BTC claim of inviolability and inability to hack is gone and you have access to any BTC wallet you want.
Two major quantum algorithms that threaten the current state of crypto have been developed: Grover and Shor’s algorithm.
“An evil person can insert his own blocks and weaken the entire blockchain.” – Rob Campbell
Rob Campbell, Maryland-based Baltimore-based Med Cybersecurity President, says that quantum computers use both Grover and Shoror’s algorithms to be able to “mine much faster than others, and thus an attacker. Evil can insert his own blocks and destroy the entire blockchain.”
When will quantum computers be a threat to Bitcoin?
It has been estimated that you need a quantum computer with at least 4,000 qubits – the unit of power of a quantum computer to crack Bitcoin’s code. The problem is that today’s most powerful quantum computers… are clearly weaker. In October 2019, Google announced a quantum computer with 54 qubits; it is the most powerful quantum computer announced in the public domain.
But Campbell says the big companies, like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and IBM are making “rapid progress,” that is, the ownership of a host of smaller companies.
So, how long until the threat of quantum computing becomes an issue for Bitcoin? It depends on who you ask the question. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Sundar Pichai – CEO of Google parent company Alphabet, was one of the first big figures to set a deadline for this. “In the 5 to 10 year time frame, quantum computing will break the encryption as we know it today.”
Some blockchain leaders are not worried about this timeline. At Web Summit 2019, Hedera Hashgraph founder Dr. Leemon Baird compared the threat of quantum computing to the Y2K problem. “Like Y2K; yes, we had to make some changes to the software at Y2K. Is it the end of the world? Actually not.”
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin isn’t too surprised either. He told Forkast News in October 2019, “With every encryption algorithm that quantum computers can break, we know we have an alternative. […] that quantum computers cannot break. “Although they may be less efficient, “We have an upgrade path and we know what it is.”
But the threat could happen much sooner, Andersen Cheng, CEO of London-based crypto firm Post-Quantum, has shared. In the world of intelligence, what Cheng is well aware of is that his company has worked with counterterrorism departments of organizations such as NATO, GCHQ and NCSC, “There is some evidence that this may be possible. going on for about two years.”
Cheng says that Pichai’s predictions of five to 10 years are based on commercially available quantum computers; No Government would allow them to have a giant quantum computer the size of a stadium, hidden in an underground bunker.
For Pichai to sell Google’s quantum computer to other companies, it would have to be stable and practical. But for a Government computer, none of this matters, “as long as you can start cracking the encryption.”
Cheng also dismissed concerns that a quantum computer would have to be purpose-built to crack Bitcoin’s code, and whether that could take much longer. Since Shor and Grover’s algorithm already exists, “people know exactly what to do, but they don’t have the power to do it. Now, everyone is waiting for that power to explode.”
Are quantum blockchains secure?
Right now, it’s time for the blockchain and crypto community to build secure quantum blockchains.
A major milestone was a competition to create post-quantum cryptographic algorithms run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the world’s cryptographic standard-setter. The winner of NIST will determine the algorithm for a blockchain that is durable to quantum computers.
I am extremely pleased to finally be able to bring a new, exciting project out of stealth: @praxxis_iohttps://t.co/CMcVZLtSxe
— David Chaum (@chaumdotcom) August 20, 2019
“I’m happy to finally be able to deliver a new, exciting project beyond stealth: praxxis_iopraxxis.io”
The blockchains can then switch to a post-quantum security algorithm. Or blockchains can start from the ground up. For example, David Chaum, the creator of the digital currency, has begun work on Praxxis, a “quantum resistant” blockchain that is said to use quantum resistant digital signatures to sign transactions for native currencies. , coin xx.
But it’s too early to conclude anything until NIST issues a ruling, which Cheng predicts will be until the end of 2022.
Until then, Bitcoin holders will live in a state of quantum uncertainty.
Dislaimer: This information is provided as a personal blog, not general information or investment advice. We are not responsible for your investment decisions.
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