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Will Quantum Computing Break Cryptocurrency Security?

We’ve already seen some incredible technological breakthroughs in the 21st century. Innovations like quantum computing and cryptocurrency have really set a precedent for the future of information technology, and the industry shows no signs of slowing any time soon.

Unfortunately, some of these technologies might actually be working against each other. In the case of quantum computing and cryptocurrency, some experts predict an increase in cyberattacks against digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, Dogecoin, and others.

Quantum Computing vs. Blockchain Technology

The real problem revolves around the underlying blockchain technology that serves as the framework for modern cryptocurrency. While this architecture is viewed as highly secure, many experts believe that this security will become compromised due to the vast advancements in quantum computing.

Specifically, these experts are worried about the potential for forging blockchain transactions. Because every transaction has as a means of verification, it’s easy to see how a hacker could exploit this for their own gains. It would also likely put the future of cryptocurrency in severe jeopardy.

Quantum Computing vs. Encryption

Under the current structure, cryptocurrency is secured with a platform known as public key cryptography. This encrypts the data involved with each cryptocurrency transaction, and leaves the data accessible only by those who have a public or, in the case of the sender, the original private key.

However, given the sophistication of modern quantum computing, and with vast advancements made every single day, many experts believe that quantum computers will soon be able to crack this encryption. While it was once thought to be unbreakable, the current state of quantum computing has many experts re-evaluating their stance.

Breaking this form of encryption would have other consequences, too. Other digital assets, like NFTs, could also be compromised. In some cases, governmental institutions that rely on similar encryption methods, or those that deal with cryptocurrency, might also be affected.

Dawn Song, professor with the University of California, Berkeley, stated in a recent interview: “Once quantum computing becomes powerful enough, then essentially all the security guarantees will go out of the window. When public key cryptography is broken, users could be losing their funds and the whole system will break.”

Quantum Computing vs. Technological Limitations

The good news, at least for now, is that quantum computing hasn’t yet reached the level of sophistication necessary to surpass blockchain or encryption technology. Although experts predict that they’ll reach that level within a few years, this still leaves ample time for researchers and development teams to come up with a solution.

In fact, some are already working on systems that are resistant to potential attacks by quantum computers. The Ethereum Project, Cambridge Quantum Computing, and the Hyperledger Foundation have all begun efforts to mitigate such issues before they even occur.

But some of these initiatives are still years away from entering any sort of usable state. We’ve already seen how fast developments can occur in the niche of quantum computing, and experts are already predicting that we’ll see encryption-breaking quantum computers within a few short years. Nobody really knows if their solutions will be ready in time.


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