Quantum computing is a development which could have large impact on current IT systems. Also, what needs to be done to get a quantum resistant cryptocurrency?
During the last years, cryptocurrencies became very popular among investors and technology enthusiasts. The reason is Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies were created based on cryptography systems that couldn’t be vulnerated by traditional computers.
However, quantum computing may be a development that could threaten cryptographic solutions and the basic way in which cryptocurrencies work. Would it be possible for the market to create a quantum-resistant cryptocurrency?
Quantum Computing Explained
Nowadays, computers work by storing information using 0’s and 1’s. Everything, including numbers, texts and images can be represented in strings and combinations of 0s and 1’s. This is known as bits.
Meanwhile, quantum computers work differently to traditional systems. Rather than using bits, quantum computers work with qubits. This allows them to process difficult and large calculation in just a few seconds. In contrast to a traditional computer which would need hours or days to process this kind of data.
In many cases, traditional systems would not able to handle the requests made to a quantum counterpart due to the complexity of the task and how bit systems work.
The creation and expansion of quantum computers would simplify many things in different sectors, including science, health, mathematics, technology and many others. Among the things that can be affected by the growth of quantum computers, we could include Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Also, other traditional cryptographic systems such as those created to protect passwords or financial information.
Could Quantum Computing Affect Cryptocurrencies?
Quantum computing could threaten cryptocurrencies due to the fact that it would be possible to discover the private keys of crypto wallets just by having a public key.
As we know, if an individual holds the private key of its wallet, he will be the owner of the funds. Furthermore, nobody would be able to do anything with this unless they also have the private key. With quantum computing, the concept of the private keys could be threatened, and with it, the whole cryptocurrency market.
At the same time, massive quantum computers could have the possibility to mine cryptocurrencies. This would affect the speed at which blocks are processed and coins released to the market. If an extremely strong quantum computer starts mining Bitcoin, it could be possible for Bitcoin’s block time to be massively reduced. Meaning, that the hashing difficulty would take some time to get updated to the new hashing power.
However, some of the most powerful quantum computers that were created until now were not stable enough to manage this. Additionally, they were affected by some issues that didn’t allow them to be properly used by other companies. In the future, faster and enhanced quantum computers could be released and be sold to firms.
The main question is whether cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin could avoid being affected by quantum computing.
Quantum Resistant Cryptocurrency
There have been many attempts at creating quantum resistant cryptocurrencies. Back in August this year, the inventor of e-cash and one of the fathers of digital money, David Chaum, created a cryptocurrency that he claims is quantum resistant.
Earlier this year, IBM announced a commercial quantum computer that could be reaching the market in the future. However, this does not have any impact on Bitcoin in the short term, but it could have in the future.
The whole cryptocurrency community must get prepared for working on a quantum resistant cryptocurrency that would not be affected by the advancement of these new computers that are capable of doing many things computers cannot currently do.
Currently traditional computers and bitcoin miners don’t have the power to break cryptography used by cryptocurrencies. However, the whole cryptocurrency community should be working on a solution that should make cryptocurrencies quantum resistant. In fact, developers and crypto enthusiasts are aware of this potential thread.
As of today, the cryptocurrency community shouldn’t be worried about quantum computing. The development in the space remains far from being a threat to Bitcoin.
What are the threats and how much time is left?
Indeed, there will be a threat to the leading cryptocurrency if a quantum computer is able to run Shor’s algorithm that could eventually break ECDSA 256, which is currently being used by Bitcoin. This is the reason why it would be very important to make a network upgrade before that moment.
A quantum resistant cryptocurrency will be the one that gets prepared with time to face the threat that quantum computers represent. Bitcoin and other cryptos could get vulnerated in the next decade, or even more, which means we shouldn’t be worried about it now.
Nonetheless, addressing these issues with time would allow the community to decide which is the best way to move forward, which are the best implementations that can be followed and when to finally upgrade Bitcoin’s code to make it quantum resistant.
Many have been talking about quantum computing and the threat this poses to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the market. Although the threat is real, it may take several years for it to become an imminent peril for Bitcoin.
The crypto community will have to closely follow the evolution of quantum computing. Furthermore, in order to understand how to improve Bitcoin and make of it a quantum resistant cryptocurrency. Also, there is still time for Bitcoin but things should be addressed as soon as possible.
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