Bitcoin's Encryption Could be Broken by 2027, Claim Singapore Quantum Experts

Key protocols securing technology undergirding bitcoin are “susceptible to attack by the development of a sufficiently large quantum computer,” researchers mostly from Singapore claim in a recently-released paper, Quantum attacks on Bitcoin, and how to protect against them (Quantum), made available through the Cornell University Library.

Also read: Is Bitcoin at Risk as Google and IBM Aim for 50-Qubit Quantum Computers?

Bitcoin’s Elliptic Curve Signature Could be Broken by 2027

One particular area at risk are cryptocurrencies,” the abstract notes. “We investigate the risk of Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, to attacks by quantum computers. We find that the proof-of-work used by Bitcoin is relatively resistant to substantial speedup by quantum computers in the next 10 years,” the paper declares. This, they claim, is “mainly because specialized ASIC miners are extremely fast compared to the estimated clock speed of near-term quantum computers.”

The good news turns quickly bad, as “the elliptic curve signature scheme used by Bitcoin is much more at risk, and could be completely broken by a quantum computer as early as 2027, by the most optimistic estimates,” state authors Divesh Aggarwal, Gavin K. Brennen, Troy Lee, Miklos Santha, and Marco Tomamichel (emphasis added).

Hash per second of BTC network in blue; one quantum computer in red. The model is described in detail in Appendices B and C. For comparison, the black dotted line shows the hash rate of a single ASIC device today.

In twenty-one math-laden, chart-heavy pages, which include detailed notes, Quantum is a bear of a read. Authors begin with a basic background to Bitcoin, roll through a nice summation of the distributed ledger, and then begin to propose a series of questions. What “advantage [would a] quantum computer [have] in performing the hashcash [proof of work], and [could it] Read More Here