Quantum Computing and Blockchain Transparency May Not Fare Well for Bitcoin Whales: IBM VP

The vice president of blockchain and digital currencies at IBM says that quantum computing poses a real near-term threat to digital assets such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

Lund said this in a recent interview with Fred Schebesta of Finder.com at IBM Think 2019.

Quantum Computing: A Risk for Digital Assets?

Virtual currencies are very secure and cannot be hacked with current technologies. This is something that allows users to know their assets are protected at all times and that they cannot be stolen. However, with the growth of quantum computing, it might be possible to hack virtual currencies and steal users’ funds.

On the matter, Jesse Lund said that it is possible to target large balances and spend computing resources trying to reverse engineer the private key from the public key.

Lund commented about this issue:

“Bitcoin is a public ledger. So you can go out and see which public keys are holding the largest balances and you could go out and target those (the hundred or thousands of bitcoin in there) and say I0m gonna spend effort (computing resources) to reverse engineer the private key from the public key, which is exposed. I think that’s even a near term threat.”

According to Lund, more than 50% of the projects in the market are susceptible to quantum computing attacks in the future.

Nonetheless, cryptocurrencies are not the only system that could be affected by quantum computing. Indeed, encrypted systems such as communications, smart vehicles, personal devices and government databases are also in danger.

IBM believes that these systems should start thinking about quantum proofing their projects to avoid problems in the future. Indeed, Nev Zunic, chief technology officer for IBM data security services, said that coders should address the quantum threat now.

Michael Osborne, manager of IBM Research in Switzerland, said that the new quantum era that we are currently entering is putting a shelf life on the crypto technology that we are using nowadays.

He recommends companies to plan a solution to mitigate the effects of quantum computing. For him, the risk is too high and the advantages in quantum computing will break things in just a few years.

Furthermore, communications between governments tend to be encrypted as well. If the current governments do not take action, these conversations can be intercepted, stored and decrypted in the future. This is why companies should be aware of this today and start taking action to avoid further problems and complications.

If virtual currencies such as Bitcoin want to be protected against quantum computing, developers will have to create a new quantum-resistant blockchain that could be implemented via a hard fork.


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