IBM’s vice president of blockchain and digital currencies says quantum computing poses a real threat to digital assets like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) in the near future.
Jesse Lund had this to say about quantum computing as it relates to blockchain technology during the IBM Think Summit.
“The private keys that represent the control of your wallet are reverse engineering. Essentially, your public key is your wallet holding balances. And I think this is a threat that is real and credible. Bitcoin is a public ledger. So you can go out and see which public keys hold the biggest balance and you can go out and target those (the hundred or thousands of bitcoin in there) and say I’m going to spend effort (computing resource) to reverse engineer the private key from the exposed public key. I think that’s a threat even in the near term.”
Virtual currencies are very secure and with current technologies cannot be hacked. This allows users to always know that their assets are protected and that they cannot be stolen. However, it may be possible to hack virtual currencies and steal funds from users with the growth of quantum computing.
The threats to Bitcoin, Ethereum and the entire cryptocurrency market extend to virtually everyone in encryption, including intelligent vehicles, intelligent homes and all kinds of databases. The IBM executives suggested that technology space organizations need not wait until the quantum technology is in its final stages before starting to protect their systems from possible quantity attacks.
Executives at IBM believe the world will be improved by quantum computers. Michael Osborne said cryptocurrencies have a shelf – life during this new era. Blockchain technology could pose the highest risk in comparison with other technologies in the case of quantum computing. One thing’s sure, whether it’ll come in the next ten or 30 years, it’s true.
More than 50% of the projects on the market are susceptible to future quantum computing attacks, according to Lund. Cryptocurrencies, however, are not the only system that can be affected by quantum computing. In fact, encrypted systems like communications, smart vehicles, personal devices, and government databases are also at risk.
The IBM Research Manager, Switzerland, says that the new quantum age we are entering is putting shelf lives in crypto technology. He recommends that companies plan a solution to mitigate quantum computing effects. For him, the risk is too large, and in just a few years the advantages in quantum computing will disrupt things.
The IBM commercial quantum computer is proof that a reliable, upgradable commercial quantum computer can be produced. Customers who today buy a 20-qubit system, have already become aware of IBM’s commercial quantum computer and can upgrade their systems down the line. In particular, it is in the interests of researchers that having a QC on – site increases experimental uptime and helps reduce downtime of the system.
In order to protect virtual currencies such as bitcoin from quantum computing, developers will have to create a new quantum resistant blockchain that can be carried out via a hard fork.