Antonopoulos Answers the Daunting Question “is Quantum Computing A Threat To Bitcoin?”
Is Quantum Computing A Threat To Bitcoins? Antonopoulos Answers
In his recent YouTube video, Andreas M. Antonopoulos, best-selling author, speaker, educator, and one of the world's foremost bitcoin and open blockchain experts spoke about the complications the arrival of Quantum Computing brings to the blockchain ecosystem and infrastructure.
One of the audience members asked Antonopoulos:
“I have listened to one of your talks on Quantum Computing and you had said that we can assume that the NSA has Quantum computing currently. How can bitcoin safeguard against quantum computing because once a level of computation power is reached, they’ll be able to essentially break into the wallets simultaneously?”
Andreas in his trademarked composure replied:
“That’s a very good question although quantum computing isn’t an on/off thing. It’s not like you either have quantum computing or you don’t have quantum computing. The right question would be how powerful is it? How many bits of quantum computing do you have? So, the number of qubits you need to break the current set of encryption that you have in your crypto wallets in most blockchains is far greater than the wildest speculation of what might exist in intelligence agencies.”
Antonopoulos’ concerns are different. He continued:
“I am not worried about the NSA having quantum computing because one of the things that are a basic concept in security is the idea that when you have a very powerful secret weapon, you do not use it. You wait until you have a very good reason to use it.”
He goes on to give the perfect example to explain this scenario with historical perspective, Enigma.
“When the British had broken Enigma, the most important secret was keeping secret the fact that they’d broken Enigma. To keep that a secret the British had to do parallel construction. If they found out that something was going to get bombed, they have to capture a German soldier who knew about it. And if they didn’t have a different reason, they let the Germans successfully bomb killing thousands of people (of course, to save millions). All to protect the secrets of Enigma.”
So, given the case that NSA has already developed Quantum computer which can also break all of the encryption keys on all of the nukes in the world, all of the communication keys and all of the military intelligence networks; the probability of them trying to use it to break Bitcoin is very low. Bitcoin is “small fish” to them.
However, Andreas doesn’t dismiss the threat completely. He added,
“The real problem becomes when you have broad commercial availability of quantum computing but not broad enough that all of us can use it on our wallets. That interim period is a bit awkward. During that interim period, Bitcoin needs to change its algorithms. One of the interesting thing that happens is that some people have lost their keys or they are dead so can’t change their keys. So, their wallets will be captured by Quantum computers.”
Andreas goes on to explain the technical challenges the network will face. If you are interested further into the topic, you can watch the videos here.