Q&A – How are Quantum Computers a Risk to Bitcoin and Crypto.
I got a few questions about Quantum Computers and Quantum Computer Enhanced Hacking after my post yesterday, so I thought I would share my thoughts.
- Are Quantum Computers imminent? A lot of sources say 10 – 15 years? Well, let’s start with saying this, being protected against a future threat always makes sense, and reality is that no one knows when commercial Quantum Computers with reach the point of “Hacking Enabled”. Humans innovation has a tendency to surprise and leapfrog expectations. Anyway the point is that there is no risk with getting Quantum Protected now, but there is a risk with not getting Quantum Protected.
- If we now would have commercial Quantum Computers, why would Crypto be at risk? As a person who once felt a need to test security on machines that I might not have had rights to, I would say that if a bored teenager gets their hands on a Quantum Computer one of the first things will be to try to crack Blockchain, I mean come on it would be an Instafame moment :). We also have the normal black hat hacker groups that will attack for financial gain, so I believe Crypto is low hanging fruit for Quantum Hacking.
- Will Quantum Protection be more expensive? Will I need a Quantum Computer my self to be protected? No, it is the data transmitted over the Internet that is at risk, as the encryption schemes we are using now never took Quantum Computers and their capabilities in to account.
- When will then Quantum Protected Encryption be released and why should I care? You might not have to care, maybe, just like with the Y2K bug, this shift in data protection might not be noticed by you at all, and things gets fixed in the background, but being aware of a problem will make you take more informed decisions, like don’t invest in projects that don’t have Quantum Protection on their road map.
- So if Quantum Computers are these fantastic machines for Hacking / Cracking will not the encryption keys need to be huge to protect the data, even so ,big that the payload data becomes smaller then the encryption data, so we will get a slower internet? It is more about how we encrypt then anything else, let’s say we would take today’s commonly used encryption schemes and try to make them Quantum Protected, then yes they would become heavy, but Quantum Computers are not good at everything so it is about how we encrypt not only the size of the encryption.
I hope this answered a few of your questions, I have added a few links below for further reading for those of you that are interested. The one at the bottom was written by Vitalik already in 2013.