Quantum Computing Might Not Disrupt Bitcoin


One of the hot button issues that is surrounding cryptocurrency, is whether or not quantum computing will disrupt the cryptocurrency market.

Quantum computing aims to process incredible amounts of data in seconds, and unlike traditional computers that run on bits of 1 or 0, a quantum computing machine can mix the two which is known as a superposition. Cryptocurrencies were built on the foundation of a secure decentralized distributed ledger system.

Within this system, fraud is an idea of the past since its peer to peer verification system is set up to detect and throw out exploited counterfeiting of more coins. Since quantum computing could disrupt the data processing world, many people are afraid that if it is created it could hack the cryptographic codes that are created when transmitting on the blockchain.

Currently, with the binary system in place, it is almost impossible to crack the blockchain but in the future quantum computing could change that if solutions like secret sharding don’t work.

However, a recent paper written by Gavin K. Brennen might show an alternate idea that could possibly conclude that Quantum computing won’t impact cryptocurrencies as expected before.

The paper mentions that quantum computing likely won’t be possible in the next decade, in which hardware computing might be more advanced and quantum computing will be so popular that no single agent would be able to control the network. It is good to note that since quantum computing uses superposition, the hashing rate is not directly related to the hashing that is involved in the superposition.

Currently, bitcoin has difficulty and asymmetry properties within the proof of work consensus, but maybe a third element that could make quantum computing no faster than traditional computing could be added. Different ideas such as finding collisions in a hash function could potentially be quantum resistant and still use the proof of work consensus.

In this consensus, ASIC’s would not be more advanced or faster thus making quantum style computing fall on the same pedestal as traditional computing.

Quantum computing can be a scary thing as it could potentially disrupt the blockchain and cryptographic hashing.

One thing to really understand though is the fact that these technologies are still not ready to crack the blockchain and the idea of it actually working is futuristic. Blockchains have the ability to adapt and change, so if Quantum computing ever is created the actor will want to be silent. Once people figure out it exists, changes to the blockchain will be made to fight against it. It is also worth noting that quantum computing will not only affect bitcoin and blockchain technology but anything cryptographic. Banks use cryptography to secure information and secret nuclear missile codes are hidden with cryptography.

So when quantum computing is created, solutions will be adapted to fix it. If one actor (which would be most dangerous) had quantum computing, they would need to choose where to use it and so attacking the blockchain might not even be a target with all of the other options available. Quantum computing will also have a lot of expenses when running the system.

It will be very expensive to run the computers and when they are not actually processing algorithms the costs of keeping the machines stable will be enormous. Cryptography is very hard to write and only a few people in the world are actually good at writing good algorithms. When building and writing cryptography researchers will write it to stabilize for many years with the current technology.

Quantum computing won’t have an effect on bitcoin for a very long time with the current technology state, however when the time comes people will be prepared to make the transition smooth.

image via Shutterstock

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