Safe Deposit. Symbol of cryptocurrency safety. The man puts a physical bitcoin in small Residential ... [+] Vault. Toned soft focus picture.
Theres a lurking fear in cryptocurrency communities about quantum computing. Could it break cryptocurrencies and the encryption that protects them? How close might that be? Do the headlines around quantum supremacy mean that my private keys are at risk?
The simple answer: no. But lets dive deeper into this phenomenon and really try to understand why this is the case and how quantum computing will interact with cryptocurrencies.
To start off with, lets define quantum computing and the classical computing were all used to, and seeing where the terms compare and contrast with one another. Quantum computing can be roughly placed in the same paradigm as classical pre-1900s physics and modern physics which comprises Einsteins insights on relativity and quantum physics.
Classical computing is the kind of computers weve grown used to, the extensions of Turings theories on computation, the laptops or mobile phones that you carry around with you. Classical computing relies heavily on the manipulation of physical bits the famous 0s and 1s.
Quantum computing relies on qubits, bits that are held in superposition and use quantum principles to complete calculations. The information captured or generated by a quantum system benefits from the ability of qubits to be in more than one physical state at a time (superposition), but there is information decay in capturing the state of the system.
One point that will be immediately relevant to the discussion is that quantum computers are not universally better than classical computers as a result. When people speak about quantum supremacy, including reports from Google GOOG and/or China, they really mean that a quantum computer can do a certain task better than classical computers, perhaps one that is impossible to do in any reasonable timeframe with classical computers.
We can think of this in terms of time scales from a computing perspective there are some, but not all functions, that go from being impossible to accomplish in any meaningful human-level time period to ones that become slow but manageable with a large enough quantum computer.
In a way, you can think of Turing tests and quantum supremacy tests in much the same way. Designed at first to demonstrate the superiority of one system over another (in the case of Turing tests, artificial language generation vs. human language comprehension, in the case of quantum supremacy tests, quantum computing systems vs classical computers), theyve become more gimmick than substance.
A quantum computer has to perform better at some minute and trivial task that might seem impressive but completely useless in much the same way a Turing test of machine-generated English might fool a Ukrainian child with no fluency in the language.
This means that we have to narrow down to a function that quantum computers can be better on that would materially affect cryptocurrencies or the encryption theyre built on in order for quantum supremacy to matter.
One area of specific focus is Shors Algorithm, which can factor large prime numbers down into two smaller ones. This is a very useful property for breaking encryption, since the RSA family of encryption depends on factoring large prime numbers in exactly this manner. Shors Algorithm works in theory with a large enough quantum computer and so its a practical concern that eventually, Shors Algorithm might come into play and among other things, RSA encryption might be broken.
On this front, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has already started gathering proposals for post-quantum cryptography, encryption that would operate and not be broken even with much larger quantum computers than the ones were currently able to build. They estimate that large enough quantum computers to disrupt classical encryption will potentially arrive in the next twenty years.
For cryptocurrencies, a fork in the future that might affect large parts of the chain, but it will be somewhat predictable there is a lot of thought being placed on post-quantum encryption technology. Bitcoin would not be one of the first planks to fall if classical encryption were suddenly broken for a number of reasons. Yet, a soft fork (as opposed to a hard one) might be enough to help move crypto-assets from suddenly insecure keys to secure post-quantum encryption.
Even an efficient implementation of Shors Algorithm may not break some of the cryptography standards used in bitcoin. SHA-256 is theorized to be quantum-resistant.
The most efficient theoretical implementation of a quantum computer to detect a SHA-256 collision is actually less efficient than the theorized classical implementation for breaking the standard. The wallet file in the original Bitcoin client is using SHA-512 (a more secure version than SHA-256) to help encrypt private keys.
Most of the encryption in modern cryptocurrencies are built on elliptic curve cryptography rather than RSA especially in the generation of signatures in bitcoin which requires ECDSA. This is largely due to the fact that elliptic curves are correspondingly harder to crack than RSA (sometimes exponentially so) from classical computers.
Thanks to Moores law and better classical computing, secure RSA key sizes have grown so large so as to be impractical compared to elliptic curve cryptography so most people will opt for elliptic curve cryptography for performance reasons for their systems, which is the case with bitcoin.
However, quantum computers seem to flip this logic on its head: given a large enough quantum computer with enough qubits, you can break elliptic curve cryptography easier than you might break RSA.
Both elliptic curve cryptography are widely used in a bunch of other industries and use cases as well RSA-2048 and higher are standards in the conventional banking system to send encrypted information, for example.
Yet, even with a large enough quantum computer, you would still have to reveal or find somebodys public keys so they could be subject to attack. With cryptocurrency wallet reuse being frowned upon, and a general encouragement of good privacy practices, the likelihood of this attack is already being reduced.
Another area of attack could be Grovers algorithm, which can exponentially speed up mining with a large enough quantum computer though its probable that ASICs, the specialized classical computers mostly used to mine bitcoin now, would be faster compared to the earliest versions of more complete quantum computers.
This poses more of a stronger threat when it comes to the state of cryptocurrencies: the ability to mine quickly in a sudden quantum speedup could lead to destabilization of prices and more importantly control of the chain itself an unexpected quantum speedup could, if hidden, lead to vast centralization of mining and possible 51% attacks. Yet the most likely case is that larger systems of quantum computing will be treated like any kind of hardware, similar to the transition for miners between GPUs, FGPAs and ASICs a slow economic transition to better tooling.
Its conceivable that these avenues of attack and perhaps other more unpredictable ones might emerge, yet post-quantum encryption planning is already in process and through the mechanism of forks, cryptocurrencies can be updated to use post-quantum encryption standards and defend against these weaknesses.
Bitcoin and even other cryptocurrencies and their history are filled with examples of hardware and software changes that had to be made to make the network more secure and performant and good security practices in the present (avoiding wallet reuse) can help prepare for a more uncertain future.
So quantum computers being added to the mix wont suddenly render classical modes of encryption useless or mining trivial quantum supremacy now doesnt mean that your encryption or the security of bitcoin is at risk right at this moment.
The real threat is when quantum computers become many scales larger than they currently are by which point planning for post-quantum encryption, which is already well on the way would come to the fore, and at which point bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can soft fork and use both decentralized governance and dynamism when needed in the face of new existential threats to defeat the threat of quantum supremacy.
Read the original post:
- And So It Begins Quantum Physicists Create a New Universe With Its Own Rules - The Daily Galaxy --Great Discoveries Channel - February 18th, 2021
- Quantum Theory May Twist Cause And Effect Into Loops, With Effect Causing The Cause - ScienceAlert - February 18th, 2021
- Extracting information stored in 100,000 nuclear quantum bits - Advanced Science News - February 18th, 2021
- Light and a Single Electron Used to Detect Quantum Information Stored in 100,000 Nuclear Quantum Bits - SciTechDaily - February 18th, 2021
- IBM Adds Future Developer And Software Details To Its Quantum Roadmap - Forbes - February 18th, 2021
- Physics - A Superconducting Qubit that Protects Itself - Physics - February 18th, 2021
- Black Quantum Futurism receives the Knight Foundations new art and technology fellowship - WHYY - February 18th, 2021
- Resolving to read more in 2021 - Powell Tribune - February 18th, 2021
- Warp Drives Are No Longer Science Fiction - Applied Physics - Business Wire - February 18th, 2021
- RI local and star of 'Ghost Hunters' + 'Kindred Spirits' on her search for the paranormal - The Providence Journal - February 18th, 2021
- Quantum Theory Proposes That Cause and Effect Can Go In Loops - Universe Today - February 14th, 2021
- The search for dark matter gets a speed boost from quantum technology - The Conversation US - February 14th, 2021
- A Magnetic Twist to Graphene Could Offer a Dramatic Increase in Processing Speeds Compared to Electronics - SciTechDaily - February 14th, 2021
- Yale Quantum Institute Co-sponsored Event - Alternative Realities for the Living - Quantum Physics & Fiction - Yale News - February 14th, 2021
- In Violation of Einstein, Black Holes Might Have 'Hair' - Quanta Magazine - February 14th, 2021
- Scientists narrow down the 'weight' of dark matter trillions of trillions of times - Livescience.com - February 5th, 2021
- Switching Nanolight On and Off | Columbia News - Columbia University - February 5th, 2021
- Photoelectric effect of physics in technology - The National - February 5th, 2021
- Quantum Physics Story Helgoland to Be Adapted by Fremantles The Apartment, CAM Film (EXCLUSIVE) - Variety - February 2nd, 2021
- 29 Scientists Came Together in the "Most Intelligent Photo" Ever Taken - My Modern Met - February 2nd, 2021
- Silence your stoner friends with this video of a room entirely constructed out of mirrors - The A.V. Club - February 2nd, 2021
- Valuable contributor to society - The Tribune India - February 2nd, 2021
- A Zoom with a view: Wintersession offers a virtual journey from the kitchen to Hollywood - Princeton University - February 2nd, 2021
- IBMs top executive says, quantum computers will never reign supreme over classical ones - The Hindu - January 31st, 2021
- Tech 24 - Welcome to the quantum era - FRANCE 24 - January 31st, 2021
- Physicists Are Reinventing the Laser - Gizmodo - January 31st, 2021
- Record-Breaking Source for Single Photons Developed That Can Produce Billions of Quantum Particles per Second - SciTechDaily - January 31st, 2021
- How Universes Might Bubble Up and Collide - WIRED - January 31st, 2021
- Insiders say Comedy Central's top creative executives tokenized employees of color and fostered an environment - Business Insider India - January 31st, 2021
- Copperizing the Complexity of Superconductivity - Newswise - January 31st, 2021
- The Convergence of Internet of Things and Quantum Computing - BBN Times - January 31st, 2021
- Who You Really Are And Why It Matters | Practical Ethics - Practical Ethics - January 31st, 2021
- Improving LIDAR and GPS: Breaking Through the Resolution Barrier With Quantum-Limited Precision - SciTechDaily - January 18th, 2021
- Amy Noelle Parks Brings The Romance of Math and Science To YA - The Nerd Daily - January 18th, 2021
- Surprising Discovery of Unexpected Quantum Behavior in Insulators Suggests Existence of Entirely New Type of Particle - SciTechDaily - January 18th, 2021
- If Wormholes Are Lurking in Our Universe, This Is How We Could Find Them - ScienceAlert - January 18th, 2021
- New quantum technology projects to solve mysteries of the universe - Open Access Government - January 14th, 2021
- Exploring the unanswered questions of our universe with quantum technologies - University of Birmingham - January 14th, 2021
- Wormholes may be lurking in the universe and new studies are proposing ways of finding them - The Conversation UK - January 14th, 2021
- University of Sheffield to lead multi-million pound project which could open up a new frontier in physics - University of Sheffield News - January 14th, 2021
- Raytheon UK part of team transforming the Royal Navy's technology, training and learning solutions - PRNewswire - January 14th, 2021
- Optical selection and sorting of nanoparticles according to quantum mechanical properties - Science Advances - January 14th, 2021
- The unhackable computers that could revolutionize the future - CNN - January 8th, 2021
- Birds Have a Mysterious 'Quantum Sense'. For The First Time, Scientists Saw It in Action - ScienceAlert - January 8th, 2021
- How understanding light has led to a hundred years of bright ideas - The Economist - January 8th, 2021
- Tokyo Institute of Technology: Quantum Mysteries: Probing an Unusual State in the Superconductor-Insulator Transition - India Education Diary - January 8th, 2021
- Quantum Nanodevice Can Be Both a Heat Engine and Refrigerator at the Same Time - SciTechDaily - January 8th, 2021
- Illumination at the limits of knowledge - The Economist - January 8th, 2021
- The top 20 most random things that happened in 2020: Nos. 16-20 - 104.3 The Fan - January 6th, 2021
- Detective Work in Theoretical Physics: Comprehensive Review of Physics of Interacting Particles - SciTechDaily - January 6th, 2021
- New Quantum-Based Distance Measurement Method for GPS and LIDAR - AZoQuantum - January 6th, 2021
- Raytheon Technologies Appoints Marie R. Sylla-Dixon as Chief Diversity Officer to Further Advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives -... - January 6th, 2021
- Quantum Superposition Evidenced by Measuring Interaction of Light with Vibration - AZoQuantum - December 24th, 2020
- Superpositions The Cosmic Weirdness of Quantum Mechanics - The Daily Galaxy --Great Discoveries Channel - December 24th, 2020
- Irish researchers reveal how Santa delivers toys to billions in one night - BreakingNews.ie - December 24th, 2020
- Eight ways Argonne advanced science in 2020 - Newswise - December 24th, 2020
- Scaling the heights of quantum computing to deliver real results - Chinadaily.com.cn - China Daily - December 24th, 2020
- MIT's quantum entangled atomic clock could still be ticking after billions of years - SYFY WIRE - December 24th, 2020
- Matter Deconstructed: The Observer Effect and Photography - PetaPixel - December 24th, 2020
- Everything you need to know about quantum physics (almost ... - December 21st, 2020
- Quantum mechanics - Wikipedia - December 21st, 2020
- Six Things Everyone Should Know About Quantum Physics - December 21st, 2020
- Counter-Intuitive Quantum Mechanics: State of Vibration That Exists Simultaneously at Two Different Times - SciTechDaily - December 21st, 2020
- A state of vibration that exists simultaneously at two different times - Tech Explorist - December 21st, 2020
- This Incredible Particle Only Arises in Two Dimensions - Popular Mechanics - December 21st, 2020
- Quantum Mechanics, the Mind-Body Problem and Negative Theology - Scientific American - December 17th, 2020
- Quantum Interference Phenomenon Identified That Occurs Through Time - SciTechDaily - December 17th, 2020
- 9 Most Confusing Sci-Fi Movies That Feel Like You Need a PhD in Quantum Physics - FandomWire - December 17th, 2020
- Expanding the Scope of Electronic-Structure Theory - Physics - December 17th, 2020
- Physicists attempt to unify all forces of nature and rectify Einstein's biggest failure - Livescience.com - December 17th, 2020
- Black dwarf supernovae: The last explosions in the Universe - SYFY WIRE - December 17th, 2020
- Orford 17-year-old is among brightest young minds in north west - Warrington Guardian - December 17th, 2020
- Meet the kaon - Symmetry magazine - November 10th, 2020
- There Are Places in the World Where Rules Are Less Important Than Kindness by Carlo Rovelli review - The Guardian - November 10th, 2020
- Digging into the 3D Quantum Hall Effect - Physics - November 10th, 2020
- Physicists Circumvent 178-Year Old Theory to Cancel Magnetic Fields - SciTechDaily - November 10th, 2020
- A Modem With a Tiny Mirror Cabinet Could Help Connect The Quantum Internet - ScienceAlert - November 8th, 2020
- Quantum Technology: Harnessing the Power of Quantum Mechanics - Analytics Insight - November 8th, 2020
- Will the Universe Remember Us after We're Gone? - Scientific American - November 8th, 2020
- Threat of Quantum Computing to Bitcoin Should be Taken Seriously, But theres Enough Time to Upgrade Current Security Systems, Experts Claim -... - November 8th, 2020