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Is Quantum Computing Threat to Bitcoin Imminent?

When the power of cryptographically based Bitcoin is so strong. What if one day in the not too distant future, computers evolve to the point where current cryptographic standards are no longer good enough?

Such is the promise and danger of quantum computing, a technology that allows computers to use the rules of quantum physics to speed up computations and process huge amounts of data at speeds other computers cannot afford. calculation today is simply not possible.

Right now, quantum computers are in their infancy and are not available in the mainstream market. But perhaps they are closer than many people realize.

Bitcoin Private Key Attack Problem

One of the most cited ways to attack a bitcoin private key – although it has never been successfully implemented as a weapon to attack Bitcoin’s private key.

Is Quantum Computing Threat to Bitcoin Imminent?  - Photo 1.

The potential threat of quantum computing to Bitcoin is imminent. CY’s photo.

A fatal attack is simply every aspect such as computer automation of the possible combinations to discover the private key, thus granting an outside actor access to one’s crypto. others.

The problem for hackers today is that the private key is a number between 1 and 2^256, aka 115 quattuorvigintillion. That is an exact number, and it is estimated to be a number greater than the total number of atoms in the universe.

That’s a level of processing that today’s computers simply aren’t capable of – unless you’ve got a few hundred years on your hands.

Future quantum computing

Quantum computing technology has succeeded to a certain extent

In February 2021, Microsoft announced the opening of a service called Azure Quantum, designed to bring quantum technology directly to Microsoft computers.

In China, computer maker SpinQ is working on a quantum computer with a view to releasing it to the mainstream for just $5,000.

And in March 2022, the NATO Center for Cybersecurity announced that it had successfully tested secure communication streams described as the “post-quantum world”.

Is Bitcoin Really At Risk With Quantum Computing?

Bitcoin is at the highest risk as transactions wait to be processed.

New blocks are mined on the Bitcoin blockchain every 10 minutes or so (although not all eligible transactions are included in the first available block). Once that has happened, they can no longer be tampered with.

Before that happens, however, a private key could theoretically be copied, allowing hackers to steal funds from users’ wallets before a new block on the blockchain is confirmed.

Quantum Computing CEO Andersen Cheng told Decrypt: “Once that public key is exposed, a quantum computer can solve the private key relatively quickly, in minutes or hours at most.”

But Cheng says the danger isn’t even necessarily about forging actual transactions — it’s about trust.

“The main threat is not whether quantum computers can ‘open’ private key information,” he said in April 2022.

“It’s more about the power of a quantum computer to copy a private key without you knowing, reducing trust in the entire signature process,” he said.

However, we have not yet reached that capacity.

According to Mark Webber at the University of Sussex in the UK, breaking this level of encryption would require a quantum computer with 1.9 billion “qubits”. This is an astonishingly high number, especially when you consider that when compared to IBM’s best quantum computer boasts only 127 quibits.

As Cheng previously told Decrypt, quantum computing is not something that will hit the mainstream market any time soon. But that doesn’t mean the crypto industry can turn away from quantum computing and the risks this technology can pose.

“When people say we don’t need to worry about quantum computers – [rằng] they are still 10, 20, 30 years away – they often talk about a commercial quantum computer,” says Cheng, adding that “in the cyber security world, the threat is all around us and growing.” .

In fact, by some estimates, the functional reality of a quantum computer cracking encrypted systems could be as little as five years away.

“We are interested in the massive and fast establishment of the first sample that will represent as the foundation, which is all it takes to break existing encryption and lead to the risks in crypto that I outlined,” Cheng said, concluding that inevitably the entire crypto ecosystem will need to become quantum secure.

What can we do

Others are thinking about how to circumvent this potential problem, which will affect not only Bitcoin and crypto, but also other systems that rely on cryptography – such as banks.

Imperial College researchers have proposed a soft fork of the Bitcoin blockchain that allows for the “secure conversion of funds to quantum-resistant wallets.” Others have suggested increasing the size of Bitcoin keys.

Crypto asset management company CoinShares writes that Bitcoin’s very structure could make quantum computing, if not irrelevant, at least unwise.

Specifically: “We believe that the combination of development costs and technical capabilities to run a quantum system suggest that it is still not technically and economically viable to compete with current ASIC miners. now, and perhaps never will be replaced.”

However, it recommends spending the next decade “modify the existing cryptographic infrastructure” to avoid a backlash.

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