A team of quantum computing experts believes that the technology’s expanding capabilities will inevitably pose a threat to the security of Bitcoin (BTC).
In a new report, The Independent highlights research exploring the massive computational potential of quantum machines that could one day compromise the security of Bitcoin.
The research team set out to determine how much quantum computing power would be required and calculated that such a feat could be achieved after magnitudes of technological gains.
Team leader Mark Webber said,
“State-of-the-art quantum computers today only have 50-100 qubits. Our estimated requirement of 30 [million] to 300 million physical qubits suggests Bitcoin should be considered safe from a quantum attack for now, but devices of this size are generally considered achievable, and future advancements may bring the requirements down further.”
A qubit is a quantum bit, the basic unit when calculating in a quantum system that’s comparable to the ones and zeroes of traditional binary computing.
When going off of Webber’s estimates, quantum computing would have to increase 300,000 times on the low end and 6,000,000 times on the high end to breach Bitcoin’s security.
A more detailed breakdown appears in the paper’s abstract.
“We calculate the number of physical qubits which would be required to break the 256-bit elliptic curve encryption of keys in the Bitcoin network, within the small available time frame in which it would actually pose a threat to do so.
It would require approximately 317 million physical qubits to break the encryption within one hour using the surface code, a code cycle time of 1 ?s [millionth of a second], a reaction time of 10 ?s, and physical gate error of 10?3.
To break the encryption instead within one day it would require 13 million physical qubits.”
The report concludes that while Bitcoin could mitigate the security risk by hard-forking into quantum encryption, the increased memory requirements would likely affect the network’s overall efficiency.Don't Miss a Beat – Subscribe to get crypto email alerts delivered directly to your inbox
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