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Quantum computers to attack the Bitcoin (BTC) network?

The properties of quantum physics are used today to develop more powerful computers. Some believe that as quantum computers become more sophisticated, they could be used by hackers to hack blockchains such as bitcoin (BTC) and steal funds.

attack of the 51%

Quantum computers and their above-average computing capabilities

On July 7, the Blockchainer account was posted a series of tweets about how quantum computers could pose a threat to the Bitcoin (BTC) network. It turns out that quantum computing has made it possible to manufacture computers whose computational capabilities are significantly higher than those of conventional computers. Analysts fear that the technology of these computers will eventually dominate the mechanisms associated with cryptocurrencies such as the Proof-of-Work (PoW), especially with regard to the Bitcoin (BTC) network.

Indeed, it appears that a hacker can succeed in hack the Bitcoin (BTC) network in a few hours using a quantum calculator. The latter seems effective for decrypting the information on the blockchain, finding its private key, corrupting the blocks and stealing the funds. Scientific studies have revealed that the Bitcoin (BTC) network can be decrypted in an hour with about 300 million qubits (the basic unit of a quantum computer).

At the same time, it has been shown that the quantum computers that are currently being developed could not exceed 100,000 qubits after 2026. However, companies could manage to exceed this value in the meantime. Computer scientists argue that the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain will remain protected for about a decade given the amount of qubits needed to successfully hack it.

They explained that it would be necessary wait until 2028 for quantum computers to be sufficiently efficient to compete with the current technology of ASIC chips (used for the mining BTC). At that time, they might be able to carry out a 51% attack on the Bitcoin (BTC) network. In the meantime, there is a good chance that ASIC chips will become even more sophisticated, therefore more resistant to such an attack.

The Bitcoin network could use quantum computing to strengthen its level of security

In theory, there are different quantum computer technologies that can compete with the Bitcoin network in terms of power. But, in practice, scaling up these technologies is difficult. At the same time, the Bitcoin network has a way to protect itself if this scaling was achieved.

Indeed, the blockchain could use an encryption method based on quantum computing to cause a soft fork. However, it will be difficult to scale this soft fork, because it requires the agreement of the vast Bitcoin (BTC) community.

In addition, during the month of April, Erik Aronesty, a Bitcoin Core developer from New York, said that the network could cope with quantum risk by implementing new public key generation method. The latter will be generated from quantum algorithms.

There is a lot of speculation about quantum computers and their ability to compromise the security of a network like Bitcoin. But, for now, nothing is certain, and Bitcoin remains protected against possible attacks.

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Luc Jose Adjinacou avatar
Luke Jose Adjinacou

Far from having cooled my ardor, an unsuccessful investment in 2017 on a cryptocurrency only increased my enthusiasm. I therefore resolved to study and understand the blockchain and its many uses and to relay information related to this ecosystem with my pen.

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