Ethereum founder Buterin: Google’s quantum computer no threat to Bitcoin and others

  • In an interview, Vitalik Buterin explained that he does not see any threat for cryptocurrencies and especially Ethereum through quantum computers in the next years.
  • According to Buterin, quantum supremacy is still many years away.

As CNF reported one month ago, Google has succeeded in developing a quantum computer that clearly outshines conventional computer processors, according to documents leaked at the time. Google’s quantum computer was a much-discussed topic in the crypto community last month. After all, they pose a potential threat to the cryptographic technologies behind Bitcoin, Ethereum and all other cryptocurrencies.

Theoretically, a quantum computer can perform calculations in seconds, for which current computing technology requires an astronomically long time. Thus quantum computers have the ability to decrypt the private public key technology of BTC or ETH in order to gain control over, for example, every 21 million BTC. This would reduce the value of Bitcoin to practically zero.

Vitalik Buterin takes a relaxed view on the development

With regard to the official publication of the results of Google’s quantum computer, the creator of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, stated that he is currently little concerned about this threat. Already on Thursday Buterin declared in a tweet that quantum dominance is still far away:

My one-sentence impression of recent quantum supremacy stuff so far is that it is to real quantum computing what hydrogen bombs are to nuclear fusion. Proof that a phenomenon and the capability to extract power from it exist, but still far from directed use toward useful things.

In an interview with Forkast News published today, he also added that “the world won’t collapse tomorrow”. Buterin repeated his tweet, explaining that Google only created a proof of concept and compared it to the emergence of hydrogen bombs 70 years ago:

They only prove that there is the ability to make a big boom. What it doesn’t prove is the ability to use this big boom to create things that are useful.

Concluding Buterin said that the implementation of the Proof of Concept is “potentially over a decade away” and pointed out that cryptography is a race of encryption and decryption. Accordingly, he explained that quantum computing is not a death sentence for cryptography.

Buterin added that quantum computers will not succeed in breaking through all cryptographic technologies. For each algorithm that quantum computers can break, there is another algorithm that is quantum resistant, Buterin noted. Regarding Ethereum, he said that the ETH developers “have an upgrade path and know what the upgrade path is”.

Ethereum 3.0 to be quantum resistant

At the Ethereal Ethereum Summit in mid-September 2019, Ethereum researcher Justin Drake first introduced the concept of Ethereum 3.0, which will be an important plan to address the threat posed by quantum computers to the Ethereum platform. However, as Ethereum 2.0 is currently undergoing major development, implementation of Ethereum 3.0 has been postponed until 2027.

Furthermore, Drake explained to that the technical requirements for quantum computer resistant crypto techniques are already being met with Ethereum 2.0. According to Drake, users can specify any signature scheme. He assumes that quantum secure signature systems will gain popularity and can easily be integrated into Ethereum.

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About Author

Jake Simmons has been a crypto enthusiast since 2016, and since hearing about Bitcoin and blockchain technology, he's been involved with the subject every day. Beyond cryptocurrencies, Jake studied computer science and worked for 2 years for a startup in the blockchain sector. At CNF he is responsible for technical issues. His goal is to make the world aware of cryptocurrencies in a simple and understandable way.

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