University research: Looking for quantum-resistant cryptocurrencies
The security of cryptocurrencies could be &ldquo,downright cracked&rdquo, by quantum computers within Ten years, a fresh Australian report has found.
The white paper, Quantum Attacks on Bitcoin and How to Protect Against Them, found that the power of quantum computing could jeopardise the security of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin by cracking the signature security protocol used to verify information and transactions.
The research wasgoed led by Dr Marco Tomamichel from the University of Technology Sydney’s Centre for Quantum Software and Information, along with a team from Macquarie University and Nanyang Technological University ter Singapore.
They found that quantum computers could be powerful enough ter Ten years to be able to steal cryptocurrency coins without detection, potentially totally eroding trust ter digital currencies like bitcoin.
&ldquo,Cryptocurrencies are all about trust &ndash, it&rsquo,s just some onaardig on a pc. If the trust gets lost then the value just vanishes into nothing,&rdquo, Dr Tomamichel told InnovationAus.com.
“There&rsquo,s no gold standard behind it or anything, so it&rsquo,s indeed based on trust,” he said.
“You want to think long-term and ensure that they are safe against attacks that will be possible te the future.”
The researchers have formed the Quantum Resistant Coin group te an effort to thrust developers to prepare for the security risk of quantum computing now.
Quantum computers will finish operations far quicker and more efficiently than classical computers.
Australia has bot a research leader ter the area, with the Silicon Quantum Computing company launched ter August to develop and commercialise UNSW quantum technology, and University of Sydney Quantum Science Research Group driving a world-leading zakagenda.
But this research could inadvertently have disastrous consequences for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, with the white paper finding that quantum computing could be powerful enough te Ten years to crack the security protocols used to verify cryptocurrency transactions.
&ldquo,The coming development of quantum computers pose a serious threat to almost all of the cryptography presently used to secure the internet and financial transactions, and also to bitcoin,&rdquo, the paper said.
With Australia leading the way on quantum rekentuig research, it should also get on the pui foot with ensuring other technologies are protected from this emerging technology, Dr Tomamichel said.
&ldquo,Wij should attempt to be players te both developing quantum computers and also te improving cryptography so that it&rsquo,s safe from possible attacks,&rdquo, he said.
&ldquo,It&rsquo,s not a responsibility, it&rsquo,s an chance. Thesis are very significant questions that present big opportunities for us.&rdquo,
The vulnerability ter cryptocurrencies is found before a transaction is listed on the blockchain, te the time before a &lsquo,miner&rsquo, has verified the information and solved the ingewikkeld mathematical equation.
This is a window of about Ten minutes.
&ldquo,By our most optimistic estimates, spil early spil 2027 a quantum rekentuig could exist that can pauze the elliptic curve signature scheme te less than Ten minutes, the block time used ter bitcoin,&rdquo, the paper said.
The main risk is ter the signature scheme used by cryptocurrencies to authorise transactions. This is based on a public and private key. A bitcoin recipient vereiste share their public key with the person sending the coins, and have to use the private coin to spend the coins.
If an attacker can learn the private key they can then spend the funds without detection.
Current pc technology is not powerful enough to crack thesis keys ter enough time, but the white paper found that quantum computing will soon be able to do this ter just a duo of minutes.
&ldquo,If no countermeasures are taken, one could essentially wait until someone attempts to send their coins and at that point steal the signature using a quantum pc and substitute the transaction with another, sending the bitcoins to their account. It would be very effortless to steal that money,&rdquo, Dr Tomamichel said.
Te more heartening news, the researchers found that the proof-of-work that undermines this mining process is relatively safe from quantum computing for the time being.
While some experts have previously said that the day quantum computing arrives, bitcoin will end, the researchers have suggested a range of measures and alternatives to the current security protocols that could negate the threat, mainly with a different, quantum-safe public key signature scheme.
They concluded that the &ldquo,only reasonable options are hash and lattice-based schemes&rdquo,.
&ldquo,There are alternatives to the signature scheme used by bitcoin that are already secure from quantum computers. Ter principle, one could upgrade bitcoin to include this to protect all fresh transactions,&rdquo, Dr Tomamichel said.