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Investment firm CoinShares has published a study on the potential dangers to bitcoin with the advent of quantum computers.
In theory, there are several scenarios that could allow a quantum attacker to exploit certain vulnerabilities in the Bitcoin network. In the next decade, this technology could go mainstream, jeopardizing cryptocurrency and the entire economic sector around the world.
The investment company claims that Bitcoin has certain characteristics that make it resistant to traditional hacking methods thanks to the SHA-256 algorithm, which effectively makes it “not amenable to hacking” even if this technology evolves, but a quantum computer can harass its users through its transaction model. This security risk is based on the vulnerability of the elliptic curve and the way transactions are processed on the Bitcoin network.
By allowing an attacker to find one of the public keys used in a transaction, hackers can interfere with the UTXO and theoretically send the BTC fund to any address, including the one they control. This was mostly possible with older transactions and early BTC users as they used a technology called Pay-To-Public-Key (P2PK), according to CoinShares, according to research cited by the firm:
“An effective quantum attack would be to find the private key when the public key is revealed after a transaction to the network. This would allow an attacker to sign a new transaction using the private key, impersonating the owner of the key. “
P2PK technology has been replaced by Pay-to-Public-Key-Hash (P2PKH) and has been updated to Pay-To-Taproot with the latest Bitcoin improvements. This will make the public keys visible again, but CoinShares believes the mainstream developers are not overly concerned with this kind of attack.
Threat to the sector
On the other hand, Bitcoin could be subject to a 51% network attack caused by quantum computer technology. If more equipment based on this technology reaches the masses, the group may try to gain control of the network.
However, adjusting the difficulty of Bitcoin and the fact that other groups will own the same quantum computers will create a balance that is already in place today. This would make it nearly impossible for a group to take over the network or launch a 51% attack.
As mentioned, this sector will grow rapidly over the next decades, as will the Bitcoin ecosystem. Many experts talk about potential threats to this network and do not consider its ability to adapt and improve.
CoinShares considered the possibility for Bitcoin to implement post-quantum keys or post-quantum cryptography. Based on a proposal from Imperial College in the United Kingdom, Bitcoin could introduce “quantum resilient wallets.”
In any case, the scenarios are optimistic and far from the doomsday situation promoted by the mainstream media. For traditional financial platforms, the outlook will be less encouraging as they lack the layers of security provided by Bitcoin and its SHA-256 cryptographic algorithm.
“Because of the widespread use of 128-bit cryptography, quantum computing poses a much greater threat to much of the existing cryptographic infrastructure that is used for day-to-day e-commerce and banking transactions.”
At the time of publication, bitcoin is trading at $ 46,700 and has been moving sideways with a downward trend over the past day.
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