One of the most important uses of quantum computers is to break the complex mathematical difficulties. Such mathematical patterns form the basis of encryption on various platforms, including the crypto sector. However, experts believe that for a quantum computer to break Bitcoin’s encryption within seconds, the quantum computer must be with a qubit count of 4,000. However, at the time of writing, the highest qubit count in the latest quantum computers is 54. But, as the world is progressing rapidly in technology, there will be quantum computers that could potentially break Bitcoin’s encryption within two years.
Before going any further, it is essential to know what exactly are quantum computers. Quantum computing is a super-fast technology. Ordinary computers work in 1s and 0s. If the transistor registers something to be true, the value will be 1, and if false, the value registered will be 0. Consequently, to perform the functions of the computer, there are billions of transistors. Such an operation limits the boundaries of the working of ordinary computers. On the other hand, quantum computers use “quantum superposition.” Through the phenomenon, the transistors within the quantum computers can simultaneously record both 1s and 0s. Such work makes quantum computers far superior to ordinary computers.
Bitcoin has the Elliptical Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) to sign digital signatures. Bitcoin uses SHA-256 cryptography standards to hash blocks on a particular chain. A public key in Bitcoin is produced by picking a private key at random and running it through these algorithms. However, the process can be reversed with super-strong quantum computers, and the private key can potentially be acquired through a public key. Such advancements in technology pose a risk to the existing state of encryption.
However, Nic Carter and various other crypto specialists believe that even when quantum computers reach a high degree of maturity, that would still not be enough to carry out quantum breaches quickly. They suggest that the quantum breaches would be slow and gradual rather than abrupt. They further state that during a quantum breach or a hacking attempt, the specialists within the crypto sector would be aware and can potentially stop it from happening. A quantum breach would be slow and not occur in one or two days.
However, Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google’s parent firm, stated that quantum computing would defeat encryption in 5 to 10 years. If that happens, Bitcoin’s price will plunge drastically as its promises to be invulnerable will be proved to be false. Bitcoin will be affected, but the entire crypto industry, alongside every cryptocurrency, will be negatively affected.