Quantum Computing and Cryptocurrency
Madhusudhanan Sridaran

Quantum computing has direct relevance to cryptocurrency — one of these applications is circumventing RSA systemic cryptography, and elliptic-based cryptography (for signature-based encryption). Bitcoin is heavily reliant on these cryptographic methods. The procedures by which they are done have to be modified if quantum tech is to play catch up with this kind of encryption.

Quantum computing is set to disrupt, with huge potential to amplify info processing potential with a procedure referred to as ‘superposition’ — while this hasn’t crystallized into a reality yet, it is worth looking into how much of a threat this tech might pose to existing crypto currencies. Analysts within the field tend to be aggressive with their predictions, with a few stating that quantum computing poses a threat in as short a duration as five years. However, twenty years appears to be a more reasonable prediction.

The current assumption is that bitcoin is already quantum proof. However, with knowledge of the public key, security can be compromised with a device which is up to the task. If the public key is sent with the transaction needed to be made in a specified timeframe — approximately 10-20 minutes, and it remains there for too long, a quantum computer can compromise them before they are on the chain.

Quantum-based attacks are predicted to occur at the periphery of the system. It’s one matter to break things which are encrypted on the chain, but the specific point of attack is closer in proximity to the user. The specific device used to inject a transaction into the blockchain system also matters.

PUFs are a device that is in essence, not clonable. This device can be used to make yourself identifiable. However, this is contingent on the subject being aware of how the machine is going to reply. Users should be on the lookout for loopholes which can be exploited by quantum attacks at the physical security level. PUFs are a way to verify identity.

Big tech firms like Google, Rigetti, IBM, and Microsoft and Asian players like Tencent and Alibaba are entering the scenario, and this intensifies the discussion. As the expense factor comes into play, the power of quantum computers will be restricted to a few hands. Hackers may not have easy access to them.

Cryptographic schemes have certain security issues and inherent vulnerabilities. This is one of the primary causes for concern with regards to quantum computing in cryptocurrency.

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