Is quantum computers a threat to the security of cryptocurrencies?

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There have always been concerns about the development of quantum computers that can be threat to the security of Bitcoin, XRP, and cryptocurrencies. That’s because the consensus algorithms behind cryptocurrencies rely on conventional cryptography. In a chapter of the Modern CTO podcast, Ripple’s CTO, David Schwartz   stated: from the point of view of someone who is building systems based on conventional cryptography, quantum computing is a risk. We are not solving problems that need powerful computing like payments and liquidity. Tthe work that the computers do is not that incredibly complicated. But because it relies on conventional cryptography, very fast computers present a risk to the security model that we use inside the ledger. Algorithms like SHA-2 and ECDSA (elliptic curve cryptography) are sort of esoteric things deep in the plumbing but if they failed, the whole system would collapse. The system’s ability to say owners of Bitcoin or XRP or whether or not a particular transaction is authorized would be compromised. Ripple’s CTO said that Ripple is going to be ready for the emergence of quantum computers. So, they are determining the algorithms mentioned are reliable or not. It estimates that in the next 8-10 years, quantum computers will might be a threat, as Schwartz further stated: I think we have at least eight years. I have very high confidence that it’s at least a decade before quantum computing presents a threat. On the other hand you never know when there could be a breakthrough. I’m a cautious and concerned observer, I would say. The other fear would be if some bad actor or foreign government had quantum computing hiding it from the public. Depending on your threat model, you could also say what if the NSA has quantum computing. Do you worry about the NSA breaking your payment system? Despite the above, Ripple’s CTO conclude that even if there is a malicious actor with this technology, he will not use it against “the average person”. Therefore, Schwartz shows that most users have nothing to worry about: Some people might really be concerned that it depends on threat model. If you’re just an average person or an average company, you’re probably not going to be a victim of this. Let’s say hypothetically some bad actor had quantum computing that was powerful enough to break things. They’re probably not going to go after you unless you are a target of that type of actor. As soon as the problem shoes up, these systems will probably freeze until they can be fixed or improved. Therefore, most people don’t need to worry about it.

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