What Google’s quantum breakthrough for Blockchain cryptography means
We have been warned for years that a breakthrough in quantum computing is just around the corner. When that day comes, they tell us, existing encryption standards may become obsolete, threatening the security of all major blockchains. It seems that day has finally arrived, with Google achieving “quantum supremacy.” As impressive as the feat may be, however, it does not indicate that the game for crypto networks is over, or at least not yet.
Actually they did, the absolute crazy
On Friday, the FT published a story stating that an article published by Google researchers described an important computer breakthrough. Using a quantum computer, the team managed to perform a calculation in just over three minutes that would take the world’s most powerful supercomputer 10,000 years. In an industry that is characterized by incremental improvements, that sounds like a leap that guarantees comparisons with the Big Bang. Quantum supremacy, which researchers claim to have achieved, refers to the moment when a quantum computer surpasses the best classical computer in the world in a specific test.
Google described the achievement as a “milestone towards large-scale quantum computing” and predicted the ability of quantum computing to expand at a “double exponential rate,” exceeding the exponential rate that Moore’s Law has so faithfully described for decades. At first glance, this technology sounds in danger of destroying everything we appreciate, starting with Bitcoin. Reality, as is often the case, is more nuanced: the predictions of the death of Bitcoin at the hands of quantum computing have been greatly exaggerated.
Cryptography and the rise of quantum-resistant blockchains
Fearing that a quantum breakthrough is just around the corner, threatening the sanctity of all known encryption algorithms, cryptographers have struggled to develop quantum-resistant blockchains that can withstand a Cambrian explosion in quantum computers.
Johann Polecsak, CTO of quantum-resistant QAN blockchain, told news.Bitcoin.com: “The most popular public key algorithms are theoretically at risk of being destroyed by a breakthrough in quantum computing. Most of the encrypted data intercepted and stored today could be decrypted by quantum computers in the near future. “On Google’s quantum computer, which is believed to be called Sycamore, Polecsak ventured:” The notion that Google will make progress Quantum sounds very dramatic, but in reality, it is difficult to measure the importance at this time. How can we be sure that Google’s quantum computer is more powerful than the D-wave computer, for example, that exceeded 1,000 qubits four years ago? “
All signatures and hashes within the QAN protocol that may be susceptible to quantum algorithms (usually searches for Shor or Grover algorithms) are protected by post-quantum cryptography. As it sounds, this is a cryptographic school dedicated to protecting networks in a world of quantum supercomputers. There are numerous models of post-quantum cryptography, with QAN in favor of a web-based approach; Other variants of the six primary schools of post-quantum cryptographic research include hash and code based cryptography.
Andrew Yang suggests that the threat is real
One of the most difficult things when discussing quantum computing is to separate facts from fiction, fears from the spread of fear and theory of practice. It is a computer sector in which FUD and FOMO are in constant supply, which could explain why the quantum threat has had such an impact on the cryptosphere. The way Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were “justified” in the case of a quantum advance depends on who you want to believe. For example, presidential pro-technology candidate Andrew Yang explains in his policy on quantum computing and encryption standards:
“Quantum computers, using qubits, can theoretically perform the calculations necessary to break our current encryption standards in less than a day. When that happens, all our encrypted data will be vulnerable. That means that our businesses, communication channels and banking and national security systems can be accessible. ”
As for when this will happen, Yang notes that “Some estimates put the timeline for this in a decade or less. In short, this is a problem that must be fixed now. First, and immediately, we need to reverse and develop new standards and encryption systems, and immediately move on to using these standards that are resistant to quantum computing to protect our most sensitive data”.
Bitcoin is not broken yet
While advances in quantum computing justify careful scrutiny, there is no evidence to suggest that BTC and BCH private keys are in danger of appearing in the short term. To illustrate how safe current cryptographic standards are, Chris Pacia of Openbazaar wrote a blog post in 2013 in which he discussed the commonly used 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), and concluded: “If each of the 7,000 millions of people on Earth had 10 computers that test one billion key combinations per second, it would take the entire population 77,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years to find a single 128-bit AES key. “
As to how fast a quantum computer could accomplish the same feat, Pacia confesses that she is not an expert, but ventures: “Quantum computing would probably double the size of a key that could be forced effectively. That could lead to the fall of AES-128, but AES-192 and AES-256 should still be safe. “
Bitcoin mining uses SHA-256, while ECDSA (Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm) is used in cryptography to create public and private key pairs. In the event that quantum computers break SHA-256, for example, an obvious solution would be to switch to a stronger encryption algorithm of the same family, such as SHA-512. As the post-Wikipedia quantum cryptography entry points out, “Although Grover’s quantum algorithm accelerates attacks against symmetric encryption, doubling the size of the key can effectively block these attacks. Therefore, post-quantum symmetric cryptography does not need to differ significantly from current symmetric cryptography. ” In other words, even if quantum computing materializes at scale, it is unlikely to require redesigning our cryptography from scratch; rather, we will only need to apply more robust versions of existing algorithms that incorporate more bits.
As Sabine Hossenfelder concluded in a video on quantum supremacy in June, “I am not very optimistic that quantum computers have practical applications in the short term.” I am quite worried that quantum computing will follow the same path as nuclear fusion: that it will remain promising forever but it will never work. However, quantum supremacy will be a super exciting event”.
Disclaimer: This press release is for informational purposes information does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of infocoin, and should not be attributed to, Infocoin.