/ aktuell / 2019/11 / could-google-s-qauntum-computer-mine-3-million-bitcoin-in-2-seconds /
Quantum computing is typically feared because it could make Bitcoin obsolete by cracking its cryptography. However, one analyst claims that there could be a much easier way to beat Bitcoin in his own game.
The quantum threat
A media post dealing with the capabilities of the quantum computer Sycamore, Google's latest quantum breakthrough. The sycamore, which allegedly gave Google "quantum supremacy", apparently managed to perform a benchmark calculation in 200 seconds – surpassing the world's fastest supercomputer by about 10,000 years.
Almost immediately after this news, panic broke out in the crypto community. Talks about an aging population were on the table, and discussions to combat this new quantum threat were discussed at length.
If you missed it: @aantonop to Google's "quantum supremacy" https://t.co/GHk1E5lPd1
– Francisco Memoria (@FranciscoMemor) November 7, 2019
Although the fears largely subsided and the exaggeration for what she was was seen, that is, until the above-mentioned medium contribution was published.
Based on Google's benchmark performance tests, the publication hypothesized that the remaining 3 million bitcoins could be extracted from Sycamore in less than 2 seconds.
However, there were a few problems in the post that has since been deleted. First, the author suggested that 1 BTC be made every 10 minutes. That's wrong. In fact, the network currently delivers 12.5 BTC approximately every 10 minutes. This misjudgment alone would already discard the theory to some degree.
However, there are other obvious omissions. The post does not contain the difficult reissue that takes place all 2016 blocks. If a quantum computer managed to break down all blocks from 2016, the network would simply adjust the difficulty level and hamper Sycamore's further attempts. In reality, however, the Bitcoin network is unlikely to be able to produce a difficulty setting of this level.
Quantum computers could break Bitcoin
Nevertheless, the author is in a sense right. Any attempt by a quantum computer to mine BTC could credibly lead to a denigration of the network. This is because a level of difficulty tuned to the quantum computer would result in only another – more powerful – machine being able to fight the removal of the remaining BTC. That is, as long as the original attempt did not completely devastate the network.
Regardless, the idea of Sycamore or another quantum computer that targets cryptocurrency is rather ridiculous. In addition, Andreas Antonopolous, a Bitcoin advocate who is relatively vocal in this area, suggests that Bitcoin is not the issue we should be worried about.
If we get quantum computers that can execute thousands of qubits without correction and consistent results, we have a much bigger problem. The bigger problem we have is that the classified communication, the confidential communication, the financial systems, etc. of the whole world today rely on cryptography.
To protect against threats, global communication would have to be upgraded to a quantum-resistant standard. Ironically, this is much easier for cryptocurrencies than for global communication systems.
Selected image source: photo via Pixabay.com