The World Economic Forum says quantum computers have the potential to breach public-key cryptography, which is the mathematical process that helps keep the Bitcoin network secure.
At a World Economic Forum Centre for Cybersecurity’s Future Series meeting, cybersecurity experts explain how quantum computing may pose a serious threat to Bitcoin.
“The sheer calculating ability of a sufficiently powerful and error-corrected quantum computer means that public-key cryptography is ‘destined to fail’, and would put the technology used to protect many of today’s fundamental digital systems and activities at risk.
The key exchanges, encryption and digital signatures that protect financial transactions, secure communications, e-commerce, identity and electronic voting all rely on mechanisms which would be made redundant in such a scenario.”
But before quantum computers can actually endanger the security of cryptocurrencies, more quantum information or qubits are required.
Earlier this month, industrial powerhouse Honeywell said it has developed the fastest quantum computer in the world with a quantum volume of 64. The metric represents the total number of the computer’s qubits and how well it handles them. In comparison, Google’s supercomputer scored 53 while IBM’s machine notched a score of 32.
Dragos Ilie, a quantum computing and encryption researcher at Imperial College London, says quantum computers have a long way to go before they can start breaking into Bitcoin.
“In order to have any effect on bitcoin or most other financial systems, it would take at least about 1,500 qubits and the system must allow for the entanglement of all of them.”