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Impact of Quantum Computing on Blockchain Technology

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Blockchain technology and quantum computing are two major technology. But will Quantum Computing conflict with Blockchain Technology? Read on to know more…

Blockchain technology and quantum computing are two major technology trends that have made a mark on the global IT sector. Both these technologies offers high scope to improvise and offer various applications in computing space.

Blockchain
Blockchain technology is the foundation of the cryptocurrency market and makes popular currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum possible. Many feel that blockchain will make critical data easily accessible while resolving security and data-quality issues. As a result, there are moves to place a wide variety of critical information, including electronic health records and financial records on blockchain-based systems.

Quantum Computing
Quantum computing offers the possibility of making some kinds of computation orders of magnitude faster, especially computing jobs that involve selecting from several alternatives. An obvious application of quantum computing is the breaking of encryption. It will likely take a few years, but according to an article by Nicole Kobie in Wired, “Dr. Michele Mosca, deputy director of the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, is willing to try to put a number on it, estimating a one-in-seven chance that some fundamental public-key crypto will be broken by quantum by 2026, and a one-in-two chance of the same by 2031.”

Quantum Computing Threat to Blockchain
There was a lot of buzz in the global tech community about the threat that quantum computing poses to the Blockchain. This was sparked by a Google research paper, quickly taken down after it was accidentally posted online before peer review, which claimed that Google has made incredible advancements in quantum computing. The paper reportedly claimed that a Google quantum computer can solve an equation that would take a classical computer 10,000 years in just 3 minutes and 20 seconds.

Quantum computing is such a real threat to blockchain because it rapidly expands the computing power of modern units. Blockchain can keep transaction records safe and secure by relying on public-key cryptographic systems, which makes the encryption key public and keeps the decryption key private. Blockchain uses this system and the assumptions of elliptic curve cryptography to protect data. Such approach is based upon the valid premise that classical computers cannot factor large numbers quickly. However, quantum computing will eventually be capable of solving these difficult problems in the blink of an eye. This means trouble for blockchain and data security.

Quantum computing is still in its early stages, so blockchain is safe for the foreseeable future. However, quantum computing will eventually break the blockchain — if it continues to rely on public-key cryptography systems. In fact, there is already a well-known way to circumvent this system.

Shor’s algorithm is a mathematically-proven way to break public-key cryptography systems. It targets the Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm, which is used in popular blockchain-based cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Thankfully, Shor’s algorithm is too complicated for classical computers. It takes a huge amount of processing power that even the world’s most advanced supercomputers do not have. However, quantum computers will be able to complete these calculations with ease.

The Road Ahead
Blockchain technology is here to stay. Users trust blockchain technologies because they provide secure, open recordkeeping that gives users confidence in the system and peace of mind. However, the newfound power of quantum computing threatens that security and may make blockchain obsolete, if the right steps are not taken today. Blockchain development partners and major tech companies are working on new encryption methods and new blockchain systems that will protect users from quantum computers. Expect to see more progress on quantum-resistant technology as the threat of quantum computing grows nearer.

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