Friday, February 3

Scientists Calculate Quantum Computer Threat to Bitcoin

A group of scientists from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom carried out tests to estimate the real danger that quantum computers present to the security of Bitcoin. The study was shared by NewScientist.

In short, such computers need to improve millions of times to become a threat. In terms of time, we probably won’t see that this decade, says Mark Webber who led the research team.

Despite this, Webber comments that it is necessary to take precautions right now. After all, a lot of information that is encrypted today will be exposed in the future, needing to be updated in advance.

Quantum computer is no threat to Bitcoin

As quantum computers are able to speed up the processing of calculations, there is no doubt that they are an important security issue as they can break encryptions.

This security issue goes far beyond Bitcoin and includes banking and other services. However, the focus of the scientists was the largest cryptocurrency in the world.

According to them, although the current best quantum computer can reach 127 qubits, their study points out that to break Bitcoin’s security will require a computer with 1.9 billion qubits.

This is due to the small window of time that leaves this key vulnerable, says Mark Webber, project leader. Going further, he explains that this number may drop, however, even so, it will be difficult to see such a powerful computer in this decade.

“Transactions are announced and there is a key associated with that transaction. And there’s a finite time window where that key is vulnerable and that varies, but it’s usually 10 minutes to an hour, maybe a day.”

If this time increases to one hour, the quantum computer would need to have 317 million qubits. In the space of a day, this number drops to 13 million, still far from the current 127 qubits of the current best quantum computer.

It is necessary to prepare

While the arrival of quantum computers doesn’t present many problems at the moment, Webber noted that we need to start preventing such attacks.

“People are already worried because you can save encrypted messages now and decrypt them in the future. So there is a big concern that we urgently need to change our encryption techniques because in the future they are not secure.”

As an example, systems that use weak encryptions may be decrypted in the near future. In other words, a message safe today may be exposed tomorrow. That said, this is a problem that can be mitigated in advance.