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Quantum Computers Are Threat To Cryptocurrencies

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The development of quantum computers has recently made great strides. It is foreseeable that the systems will soon be powerful enough to crack certain cryptographic procedures – which will be a problem for Bitcoin & others.

It is well known that quantum computers are pretty well suited to breaking public key infrastructures (PKI). However, in the beginning, the main aim is to crack certain key pairs so that, for example, the communication of a single user can be read. This leads to the recommendation to encrypt everything, including completely irrelevant messages, so that the effort of finding sensitive information becomes difficult. At the end of the day, the question arises as to what effort an attacker would take to get certain content.

Even with the availability of individual, powerful quantum computers, it is still quite unlikely that the expensive devices will be used to decrypt some e-mails with unknown content. With cryptocurrencies, however, it looks completely different. Finally, all transactions can be tracked in the blockchain and you can search for particularly valuable wallets, break the encryption and steal the values.

The Whole System Could Break apart

“If the public key encryption is broken, users can lose their investments and the whole system would break,” said security researcher Dawn Song of the University of California, Berkeley, according to a report by the US magazine CNet. And Nir Minerbi from the software manufacturer Classiq Technologies, which specializes in programs for quantum computers, reckons that it will only take a few years before such systems are available.

The collapse of the respective cryptocurrency systems will hardly look like wallets being cracked and plundered in rows. Rather, it should be enough for this to happen in one case. Then all speculators will withdraw their deposits very quickly and the decline in value will take on extreme proportions within a very short time. If you do not manage to exit quickly enough, you will lose almost everything.

In computer science, work is already being carried out on encryption methods that can withstand quantum computer attacks. And some cryptocurrency systems like Ethereum are also developing in this area. However, such procedures require even more complex keys, which means that the already excessive demand for computing power for the operation of the networks will continue to increase. Before that, however, there should be the problem that if the underlying technology were to be changed, all users would have to be taken along, which is also an almost impossible challenge, as the planned upgrades in the Bitcoin network show again and again.

Mark Goodman

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