• Although Google may have achieved quantum supremacy, there is no threat of a quantum attack on Bitcoin in 2020

Google’s 54 qubit quantum processor called Sycamore appears to have achieved quantum supremacy in 2019, meaning that it could solve a non-useful task more efficiently than any classical supercomputer. This has led to some hysteria that Bitcoin could be attacked by quantum computers in 2020, but the reality is that Bitcoin is safe from quantum attack for at least the next 5-10 years.

First off, quantum advantage has yet to be achieved, which is where a quantum computer can perform a useful task more efficiently than any classical supercomputer. Even if quantum advantage is eventually achieved, it would be years until a quantum computer could attack Bitcoin more efficiently than a classical supercomputer. Notably, even the strongest supercomputer would take longer than the age of the universe to crack a Bitcoin private key.

That being said, if a quantum computer had enough qubits and enough stability, it could theoretically crack through Bitcoin’s encryption algorithm. However, the crypto community has years to develop encryption which is resistant to quantum computers. Therefore, the hope is that once quantum computers are strong enough to crack through Bitcoin’s encryption, Bitcoin would simply hard fork to implement a new protocol that cannot be hacked by quantum computers.

 

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