Can Bitcoin be Hacked by Quantum Computer?
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Computational programming has advanced steadily over the past decade, entering the quantum domain to create mind-bending gadgets with unfathomable power.
In 2020, Chinese researchers developed a quantum computer to solve a problem that would have taken a supercomputer 2.5 billion years. The problem was quickly answered by the quantum computer. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies’ signing mechanism is vulnerable because quantum computers will someday crack most of today’s cryptography. A study by Deloitte found that in 2022, almost $24 billion worth of Bitcoin will be susceptible to a quantum attack.
The resistance of blockchain systems to rapidly improving devices called quantum computers is a major issue that is often disregarded.
Qubits (a refinement of the basic binary bit) are the basis for these supercomputers’ ability to use quantum physics to solve problems that are intractable with classical computing. Since qubits can store either a 1 or a 0 at once, we can expect a massive boost in processing speed.
The world’s leading superpowers are investing massive resources into this field of study and with good reason. The encryption safeguarding competitors’ sensitive information can be broken by the first nation or firm to harness quantum computing.
How quickly quantum computer can crack bitcoin encryption
For blockchain systems, the cryptography safeguarding their immutable ledgers could be at risk. Bitcoin’s encryption might be broken by a quantum computer with 1.9 billion qubits in as little as 10 minutes, according to a study from the University of Sussex published in February. Thirteen million qubits might finish the work in under a day.
Thankfully, it appears that we are still some time away from being able to implement quantum computers with that many qubits. IBM has already released a processor with 127 qubits, and a unit with 1,000 qubits is expected to be finished by the end of 2023.
“We’re not there yet,” said Jens Groth, a Danish cryptology professor, and Dfinity cryptographer. Even if the future is uncertain, blockchain technology may not be in jeopardy for another decade or two at most.
Physical and logical qubits are treated differently, a point emphasized by Groth. By way of a quantum gate, the latter characterizes a qubit that can exist in a superposition of 1 and 0. There are nine actual qubits that make up a logical one.
Defenders have the upper hand
Researchers have not yet determined that quantum computers pose a serious threat to blockchain technology, but they are continuing to test potential countermeasures.
When pitted against increasing computational power, blockchain engineers have a distinct edge. To be more precise, the length of the cryptographic keys protecting the chain can be made longer, a procedure that can be scaled quicker than the attackers can. In his opinion, the defenders are ultimately victorious in this conflict.
This may be shown in the realm of symmetric key encryption by looking at the most widely used encryption algorithm, the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Traditional and quantum computers alike may be able to decipher the most popular 128-bit key variant. On the other hand, AES 256, with twice as many keys, seems safe enough to withstand quantum computer brute force attacks in the near future.
However, not all cryptographers are so quick to crown encryption as the undisputed victor in the post-quantum era. Research associate Angshuman Karmakar of the Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography group says, “It’s very hard to foresee whether we can able to continuously ramp up key sizes against powerful quantum computers.”
When you’re on defense, you must always be pessimistic. A clever new algorithm may emerge out of nowhere, giving attackers an instant edge. Karmakar states, “The likelihood of this happening is vanishingly small, but it cannot be completely discounted.”
And yet another alternative to quantum attacks is lattice-based cryptography. Mathematical noise is introduced into the encryption process, which could throw off a future supercomputer. Because their odds of finding something are always being doubled, quantum computers might potentially find a needle in a haystack. You’ll need to come up with systems that are impenetrable to these computers.
Karmakar claims that lattice-based solutions are currently undergoing standardization and will soon be available to the general public. The speed with which businesses implement new encryption technologies is crucial. Contrarily, “there is a lot of time left until quantum computers reach a level where they could hack a blockchain.
Bitcoin cybersecurity weakness lies in public keys
The most common kind of cryptography is called asymmetric cryptography, and it involves using a public key in conjunction with a private key. Bitcoins mined before 2010, before public keys were hashed into a better and safer format, are quantum-vulnerable. Likewise, Bitcoin addresses that have been used once and are now public can be stolen. There are four million Bitcoin addresses, each with a unique private key that might in theory be compromised by a quantum computer powerful enough to deduce the key. A storage attack describes this kind of assault.
Switching to a new private key
For cryptographers, the most difficult part of developing a blockchain system is upgrading its encryption. It will be necessary to persuade all nodes in a typical blockchain, such as Bitcoin, to adopt a new encryption technique. The Internet Computer, a type of governance protocol, might have its system automatically updated based on user votes. In any scenario, a group decision is going to be necessary.
However, new vulnerabilities may be introduced during the process of upgrading current private keys. In fact, once post-quantum encryption has been implemented effectively, fresh keys will be created by the system, as suggested by Groth. Users will need to verify their identities with their old keys in order to activate the switch to the new key.
Problems may arise, though, if inactive users never update their private keys. Large inactive wallets, like the ones reportedly containing Satoshi Nakamoto’s 1 million Bitcoins, are unlikely to ever have their encryption improved. This might make some parts of the crypto ecosystem vulnerable to quantum-based assaults, even if the blockchain they use has been properly upgraded.
While blockchains may seem immune to quantum computing attacks at this time, developers will need to be watchful and ready to implement new safeguards.
Blockchain behemoths like Bitcoin frequently get caught in the trilemma of the Blockchain, and then quantum computing comes along. Can this technology be beaten by these behemoths? No, because quantum computing can outperform even the most powerful blockchain networks. Consequently, investments in single-penny cryptocurrencies like TechPay are likely to be more successful and lucrative in the long run.
Can quantum computer beat Bitcoin?
In addition to solving difficult mathematical problems, quantum computers can readily break the encryption used by blockchain pioneers like Bitcoin.
What is the weakness in Bitcoin cybersecurity?
Asymmetric cryptography is a type of cryptography in which we uses both public and privaye keys. Bitcoins mined before 2010, before public keys were hashed into a better and safer format, are quantum-vulnerable. Likewise, Bitcoin addresses that have been used once and are now public can be stolen.
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