Will Cryptocurrency Face a Quantum Computing Problem?

"If current progress continues, quantum computers will be able to crack public key cryptography," writes CNET, "potentially creating a serious threat to the crypto world, where some currencies are valued at hundreds of billions of dollars." If encryption is broken, attackers can impersonate the legitimate owners of cryptocurrency, NFTs or other such digital assets. "Once quantum computing becomes powerful enough, then essentially all the security guarantees will go out of the window," Dawn Song, a computer security entrepreneur and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, told the Collective[i] Forecast forum in October. "When public key cryptography is broken, users could be losing their funds and the whole system will break...." "We expect that within a few years, sufficiently powerful computers will be available" for cracking blockchains open, said Nir Minerbi, CEO of quantum software maker Classiq Technologies. The good news for cryptocurrency fans is the quantum computing problem can be fixed by adopting the same post-quantum cryptography technology that the computing industry already has begun developing. The U.S. government's National Institute of Standards and Technology, trying to get ahead of the problem, is several years into a careful process to find quantum-proof cryptography algorithms with involvement from researchers around the globe. Indeed, several cryptocurrency and blockchain efforts are actively working on quantum resistant software... A problem with the post-quantum cryptography algorithms under consideration so far, though, is that they generally need longer numeric encryption keys and longer processing times, says Peter Chapman, CEO of quantum computer maker IonQ. That could substantially increase the amount of computing horsepower needed to house blockchains... The real quantum test for cryptocurrencies will be governance structures, not technologies, says Hunter Jensen, chief technology officer of Permission.io, a company using cryptocurrency for a targeted advertising system... "It will be the truly decentralized currencies which will get hit if their communities are too slow and disorganized to act," said Andersen Cheng, chief executive at Post Quantum, a London based company that sells post-quantum encryption technology.

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