Bitcoin can be considered as the currency of the future. As a result, people are concerned about it reliability. Recently, Andreas Antonopoulos, who is one of the most prominent figures in the Bitcoin community, stated that Bitcoin is not vulnerable to the attacks that are initiated by Quantum Computers.
Quantum computers have gone through some major developments throughout the past few years. In fact, they became powerful enough to break down the elliptic curve cryptography. This made people wonder whether these computers are powerful enough to crack Bitcoin. Andreas Antonopoulos made the official announcement during a Q&A session with the objective of clarifying all these doubts that people had. Even with the future developments of quantum computers, Bitcoin would remain unaffected for a very long time. In addition, the technical expert also stated that steps taken by Satoshi helped to create appropriate plans in order to handle the issues that would arise as a result of quantum computing advancements.
NSA has the most powerful quantum computers that exist out there. In fact, Google has one of its quantum computers within the data center of NSA. However, Andreas Antonopoulos strongly emphasize the fact that these quantum computers are not in a position to create any impact on Bitcoin yet and people don’t need to keep any doubts in their minds. Even if NSA takes the initiative to develop a quantum computer that is about 10 times better than what they have, no effects would be exerted on Bitcoin.
This fact leads the conversation to an important point. Is NSA going to use their advance quantum computers in order to break Bitcoin?
This question has a simple answer: “NO”
If the NSA was making such plans, it would become one of the well-guarded secrets. However, the NSA doesn’t have anything like that at the moment and they are not even making any plans in order to start a project with the objective of breaking Bitcoin. In order to prove this fact, Andreas Antonopoulos brought up an example from the Second World War when Enigma was cracked. At that time, British scientists continued to let the ships sink deliberately with the objective of protecting the well-kept secret. When the secret gets out, the enemy would take required steps in order to upgrade the technology. If people figures out that Bitcoin can be cracked down with the help of quantum computers, they would immediately take required steps in order to develop a cryptography that is resistant to quantum computers and algorithms.
Andreas Antonopoulos further stated that there are two different types of cryptographic systems, which are responsible for keeping Bitcoin safe. As per him, the process followed by Satoshi to design the elements was not something accidental. The first methodology that is being used by Bitcoin in order to enhance its security is elliptic curve multiplication. This is done on a prime field, where there is a one way function. This system entirely depends on the mathematical principles that are related to prime factorization. This methodology is the most vulnerable one to quantum technology. If quantum computers are being used to crack Bitcoin, special attention would be paid towards this methodology as it is relatively easy to be cracked down. The other methodology that is being used by Bitcoin to enhance security is hash algorithms. It is important to keep in mind that hash algorithms cannot be factorized with the help of quantum technology. In other words, there aren’t any good algorithms developed, which have the ability to break the hashes by using quantum computers.
As you can see, elliptic curve multiplication is more vulnerable to be cracked down by quantum computers. Satoshi follows a unique approach in order to mitigate this risk. In other words, Satoshi does not put the public keys of elliptic key within transactions until they are spent. Bitcoin is associated with a double hashed version of the public key. Therefore, your public key is not visible to anyone until you claim it through spending the entire transaction. Likewise, if you can follow the fundamental practice of Bitcoin and use different addresses for each and every transaction, you will be able to get enhanced protection. However, you need to be careful enough to spend it completely every single time so that you will be redirected to a new address. When your public key does not contain any money, it would be advertised on the network and other people would be able to see it. If you go ahead and crack it, you will be able to receive an empty address.
As per Andreas Antonopoulos, Satoshi has taken a wise decision by introducing these two layers of enhanced protection. This would contribute a lot towards the future security of the cryptocurrency. We cannot expect technology to remain the same. At some point of time, a quantum computer that is capable of cracking the elliptic curve will be developed. In such a situation, the protocol needs to be upgraded in order to continue to ensure the security of Bitcoin.
To summarize, we can conclude that Bitcoin is not vulnerable to quantum computer attacks as of now. As per the current trends in technological developments, we can predict that Bitcoin most probably won’t be vulnerable during the next few years either. No good algorithms are available in order to break the hashes by using quantum computers. The only hope available to break Bitcoin is through elliptic keys, but that would not be possible as of now due to the lack of technological advancements and enhanced layers of protection that have been introduced.