A detailed explanation: the future of quantum computing and blockchain

1. Write in front

When it comes to the future of computing, blockchain and quantum computing are two of the most talked-about and controversial industries. While blockchain is far ahead in real-world applications in cryptocurrency and cryptography, the quantum computing industry is also growing at an astonishing rate. In fact, the quantum computing industry is second only to blockchain in growth rate, and the industry is expected to grow at an annual rate of 25% from 2022 to 2027.

Some experts believe that advances in quantum computing could further drive the end of blockchain, as quantum computers can break state-of-the-art blockchain encryption, replacing blockchain in the future as a more advanced way to protect data .

Blockchain encryption and quantum computing are often combined as a cryptographic contrast. On the one hand, it is whether quantum computers can rapidly develop to crack blockchains, and on the other hand, whether cryptographers can quickly come up with secure solutions to protect themselves from quantum hackers.

However, the relationship between quantum computing and blockchain is not necessarily adversarial. Some researchers believe that quantum computing and blockchain technology will eventually merge into new technologies, creating revolutionary computing solutions that are faster, more secure, and help solve a variety of problems.

2. What is quantum computing? How is it different from blockchain?

For the uninitiated, quantum computing is a unique type of computing that utilizes “quantum states” to solve logical problems that often require staggering amounts of computer processing power that ordinary supercomputers simply cannot solve. Instead of analyzing problems one by one like a traditional supercomputer, a quantum computer can analyze a large number of potential problems simultaneously. These computers use the principles of quantum physics to minimize the number of wrong answers at breakneck speed, while giving correct answers incredibly fast.

Current computers, often referred to as classical computers, consist of traditional bits 1 or 0, not both at the same time. Quantum computers, on the other hand, are made up of qubits, and quantum superposition allows two states of a bit to exist at the same time. Furthermore, unlike conventional bits, qubits can interact with each other in the process of quantum entanglement, creating a large quantum state for the entire computing system. Each additional qubit doubles the number of potential states for computers, which have enormous computational power compared to classical computers.

A detailed explanation: the future of quantum computing and blockchain

Quantum Computing Usage

In addition to solving highly complex problems, quantum computing has the potential to transform the world of encryption. The properties of quantum physics and quantum states dictate that the actual state of a particular piece of information changes when disturbed. So, in theory, quantum encryption is unbreakable because any information state, if viewed by an eavesdropper (or machine), will change irreversibly. However, just as quantum computing can create strong encryption, it also has the potential to break previously unbreakable forms of encryption, creating a potential conflict with the existence of blockchain.

Companies like IBM, who are currently using quantum computers to solve a variety of problems, such as developing higher-energy-density batteries for electric vehicles, clean materials that reduce carbon emissions, and even searching for particles that could reveal the origin of the universe .

In contrast to quantum computing, blockchain is a distributed ledger technology, a ledger of information created by cryptography that cannot be effectively changed once verified by a series of distributed computers (called nodes). Blockchains use various consensus mechanisms—a distributed network of nodes, which are added to the blockchain by “validating” blocks of information. Blockchain is entirely in the realm of classical computing, which means that the blockchain will only be in a single state at a certain point in time.

As described in the industry, blockchain technology is an excellent tool for creating distributed applications through self-executing smart contracts, including digital currencies, logistics and record-keeping protocols, and various financial products.

However, due to network limitations, blockchain may not be able to solve high-level computing problems. The biggest problem with the current blockchain is the slow transaction speed, and new blockchains are racing to provide solutions for efficient transactions. Quantum computing, by contrast, has great potential for solving some big, intractable scientific problems, but it’s not necessarily a great tool for creating consumer applications.

Therefore, it is safe to say that quantum computing and blockchain are two technologies of different heights, and the interplay between them could profoundly change both industries.

3. Will quantum computing disrupt blockchains and end cryptocurrencies?

A Deloitte study shows that 25% of bitcoins could be stolen in one attack, and the amount stolen has reached $300 billion by January 2022. Hundreds of millions of dollars, with the power of quantum computing, hackers have the potential to destroy the entire blockchain in the future while causing global economic chaos.

Specifically, the current mainstream quantum computers have not yet developed the Shor function. When the Shor function is implemented by a quantum computer, it can theoretically solve the prime factors currently hidden by elliptic curve multiplication, which is a multiplication for hashing. form, which is currently almost impossible to invert (i.e. find the original numbers that multiplied together to form the private key).

For example, the researchers calculated that it would take 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 elementary operations, equivalent to thousands of years, to determine the private key corresponding to the public key using classical computer calculations and elliptic curve multiplication.

Under the same conditions, a quantum computer using Shor’s function only needs 2,097,152 basic operations, which is equivalent to only a few hours.

A detailed explanation: the future of quantum computing and blockchain

In addition to replacing blockchain encryption with quantum computing, another concern is that quantum computers may replace traditional computers for cryptocurrency mining . As the theory goes, if these computers are able to mine faster than traditional mining equipment (such as ASICs) with their super-fast computing power, this will lead to asset price instability, 51% attacks and extreme centralization of mining power etc. (it needs to be clarified that this situation is mainly for PoW-based blockchains like Bitcoin, which generally does not affect the proof-of-stake (PoS)-based consensus model). Due to environmental concerns and other factors, some blockchains such as Ethereum are moving to proof-of-stake and other consensus models that do not involve computationally intensive mining.

Despite these data-based concerns, not all experts are convinced that quantum computing will be able to effectively break blockchains and replace traditional cryptography in the future. For example, some believe that the SHA-256 encryption used in Bitcoin is potentially quantum-resistant, and even if a quantum computer were able to crack current blockchain encryption methods, it could take 10 to 20 years, making new Blockchain cryptographers are leading the way with new, stronger encryption methods.

In addition, RSA encryption, the most common alternative to elliptic curve encryption, may also be somewhat quantum resistant. While elliptic curve encryption is considered more secure than RSA encryption for traditional decryption, experts believe the opposite is true for quantum decryption. Furthermore, even if RSA eventually becomes “quantum crackable,” soft forks and changing wallet addresses could mitigate most of the chances that quantum computers would break blockchains or steal cryptocurrencies.

4. Can quantum computing be integrated or enhanced with future blockchains?

While some believe that quantum computing could disrupt blockchains and cryptocurrencies, others believe that quantum encryption could be combined with blockchains to create blockchains that are more secure than today’s protocols, theoretically creating a countermeasure to traditional hacking and Quantum computers attack blockchains with strong defenses.

The researchers believe that traditional blockchain cryptography methods (such as asymmetric key algorithms and hash functions utilizing the aforementioned elliptic curve multiplication) can be replaced by quantum keys.

Quantum key cryptography, also known as quantum key distribution (QKD), operates by sending “quantum particles” of light in the form of photons over an optical link. As we mentioned earlier, any interfering operation will de-validate the transaction (such as an eavesdropper looking at the photons being transmitted). In order to actually be used effectively, these quantum keys need to be used with one-time password (OTP) encryption to generate a key that can only be used once.

A paper titled “Quantum Blockchain: Decentralized, Encrypted and Distributed Databases Based on Quantum Mechanics” published in the Journal of Quantum Computing by Li Chuntang, Xu Yinsong, Tang Jiahao and Liu Wenjie details the application of quantum computing to The advantages of blockchain, especially the randomization of node selection, the quantum blockchain protocol can replace the current randomization method and use the quantum random number generator to select the validator node, which will effectively solve the current blockchain randomization problem.

The paper argues that quantum blockchains also have the potential to replace classical Byzantine agreement with a new type of quantum cryptographic Byzantine agreement. While only theoretical, if realized, it could create a new, highly secure quantum-encryption-based cryptocurrency while helping to resist 51% attacks.

A detailed explanation: the future of quantum computing and blockchain

While most of the above refers to the creation of new quantum blockchains, quantum technology is also likely to be applied to existing blockchains to increase decentralization, as well as shorten major blocks such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Solana. The transaction time of the chain.

The problem that needs to be solved in practical application is how to allow node operators to obtain quantum computing and quantum key generation functions. At present, most quantum computers are limited to the experimental stage due to their high price, which means that it is difficult to operate with a large number of node operators. But we believe the situation will improve further, with a Shenzhen-based technology company launching a small quantum computer that costs as little as $5,000, far less than what is currently required to run a full Ethereum node.

5. What is a quantum-resistant ledger?

Currently, there are two public blockchain projects that claim to be fully quantum-resistant, the quantum-resistant ledger and Bitcoin post-quantum. Quantum Resistant Ledger (QRL) bills itself as “the most secure post-quantum secure blockchain with stateful signature scheme”.

The QRL protocol uses “IETF-specified XMSS, a hash-based forward-secure signature scheme with few security assumptions.” XMSS utilizes the extended Merkle signature scheme of Merkle trees (hash trees). State-based hash signature schemes such as Merkle signatures are considered more resistant to quantum hacking than RSA or elliptic curve cryptography. However, hash state-based signature schemes such as XMSS are expected to be vulnerable if the key is used multiple times, which can be a disadvantage compared to other cryptography.

At present, the Computer Security Resource Center of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is actively conducting research on 70 “post-quantum cryptography” encryption technologies in addition to XMSS, NIST, etc. and government advantages and disadvantages.

The quantum-resistant ledger claims that its “extended” Merkle signature scheme is more efficient and secure than the traditional Merkle signature scheme, but this is difficult to prove without a truly efficient quantum computer cracking it.

6. What is post-quantum Bitcoin?

In addition to the QRL project, another blockchain project, Bitcoin Post-Quantum, also claims to be able to protect itself from quantum computing attacks using the Extended Merkle Signature Scheme (XMSS) based on hash state. BPQ is an experimental fork of the Bitcoin blockchain that uses quantum-secure digital signatures instead of traditional encryption. In the coming years, research conducted by BPQ may form the basis for introducing quantum-resistant encryption to the Bitcoin main network.

Unlike QRL, BPQ is currently in the research phase and its planned currency BitcoinPQ has not yet been mined.

7. What is the future of quantum computing and blockchain?

The future of quantum computing and blockchain is still unknown, and this final answer may be one of the decisive factors in the future of computer science. Blockchain helped democratize the internet, created cryptocurrencies, and created the world’s largest distributed computer network in the form of popular blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

By contrast, quantum computing, which is still in its early stages, has the potential to help us solve more high-impact scientific and technological problems and advance technology in ways we could not have foreseen. If quantum computing and blockchain collide, it could be an epic disaster. Conversely, if cryptography continues to evolve, enabling the creation of more and more quantum-resistant encryption methods, or if quantum encryption itself is integrated into blockchains, the combination of these technologies will help create a more secure and democratized Internet and thus have a positive impact on the world.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/a-detailed-explanation-the-future-of-quantum-computing-and-blockchain/
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