There’s no accurate prediction for when Quantum Computers could be a reality; however, signs indicate that they might be here sooner than ever. With Google officially announcing its quantum supremacy through a recent publication, crypto and cybersecurity enthusiasts fear the judgment of their protocols against the power of quantum computers.
Recently, Google’s Sycamore quantum chip was successful in speeding through complex equations typically unsolvable by conventional supercomputers, hence marking a significant leap in computing power that can bring major breakthroughs in everything from mathematics to engineering and artificial intelligence.
However, this unlocked power can potentially find its way into malicious hands such as hackers and criminals. Considering the raw power of quantum computers, modern-day security protocols may not be able to handle the supremacy of these complex machines. Even blockchain-based cryptocurrencies could soon be victims of malicious manipulation through quantum computers.
While it’s uncertain how quantum computers could disarm blockchain security; It is this uncertainty that instills fear in the cryptocurrency community about quantum computing and its potential to break the system. Now, you might be wondering if your private keys are at risk; the short answer is no.
To dive deeper, we need to understand how quantum computing works and how it will affect cryptocurrencies.
Will Quantum Computers Really Affect Cryptocurrencies?
Without going too much into the technical jargon, Google’s Sycamore quantum processor contains about 54 Qubits (Quantum Bits). Qubits denote and store data and are somewhat similar to binary digits; however, instead of being limited to 1s and 0s, quantum computing is established on the fundamentals of quantum mechanics. To summarize, these new computers are more powerful than you can imagine.
To put it into perspective, quantum computers can take about 200 seconds to perform a complex task which would take leading supercomputers over 10,000 years to perform the equivalent task.
Quantum computing has always been a potential threat to cryptocurrencies ever since the birth of Bitcoin and its contemporaries. Before we can understand why? Let’s dive into how cryptocurrency transactions work.
Let’s take Bitcoin as an example. Bitcoin is a decentralized peer-to-peer system for transferring value. This means that unlike traditional financial institutions that mediate a lot of the processes, Bitcoin users facilitate themselves, such as creating their own addresses. By means of complex algorithms, users calculate a random private key and public address to perform transactions and keep them secure.
At the moment, cryptographically secure private keys serve as the only protection for users’ funds. If quantum computers cracked the encryption safeguarding the private keys, then it would likely mark the end for bitcoin and all cryptocurrencies.
Not like we want to be the bearer of bad news, but there are already multiple quantum shortcuts that bypass public-key cryptography. Examples like Shor’s algorithm enable the extraction of private keys from any public key. Even worse, Shor’s algorithm specifically targets the ECDSA algorithm, an underlying algorithm used for various important purposes in popular cryptocurrencies.
However, that doesn’t mean the cryptocurrency community isn’t actively developing post-quantum cryptography protocols.
The Reality Of Quantum Computing Vs. Cryptocurrencies
The reality of Quantum Computers’ existence has a history of exceeding people’s expectations, which is why we see an active set of hands on this persistent threat. While Sycamore doesn’t pose any threat to cryptocurrencies, it doesn’t mean the Quantum threat doesn’t exist.
The Cryptocurrency community has to fear the existence of Quantum Computers nearing in on them. Interestingly, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology has started gathering proposals for developing post-quantum cryptography. Moreover, the cryptocurrency community is united for a post-quantum future.
Projects such as the QAN Network are building a quantum-resistant hybrid blockchain platform where developers can build their DApps and DeFi contracts on the QAN Network platform. The QAN Network was able to create a solid quantum-resistant solution by collaborating with famous mathematicians and researchers working on algorithms to resist quantum computers from cracking them.
Moreover, QAN Network isn’t the only platform that focuses on quantum-resistant solutions. Developers from existing cryptocurrency projects are striving to implement quantum-resistant algorithms to withstand the potential threat from quantum computers. However, these platforms will have to go through tough transitions such as hard forks to turn that into reality.
Similarly, Praxxis is another blockchain that utilizes quantum-resistant signatures while protecting users from any compromised metadata. The platform’s native xx coin aims to be analogous to Satoshi’s vision for a pure peer-to-peer version of digital cash.
Consequently, Quube is one of the many leading movements envisioning a quantum-safe ecosystem with the help of their Quube Quantum resistant blockchain protocol. At its core, QRP is a blockchain-of-blockchain created by Quube to fight against quantum attacks.
While there’s no surefire way of knowing how close we are to developing quantum computers that could break all encryption, Google attaining quantum supremacy was a warning sign that they may be closer than we think. The cryptocurrency community is relatively proactive, which is why crypto developers are actively preparing for the worst by preparing their crypto protocols for the post-quantum future.
So, if you fear the uprising of Quantum computers against the world, don’t panic. At least not for a very long time. Moreover, it’s important to note that the cryptocurrency community, the internet community, and the tech community are in this together, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.