Quantum vs. Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies – Bring it on

Quantum vs. Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies - Bring it on
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Many cryptocurrencies – including Bitcoin – rely on public-key cryptography for protection. Public-key cryptography is secure and virtually impenetrable for hackers today, so if you keep your credentials safe, your funds should remain safe as well.

However, this may change with the looming “Y2Q” event when quantum computers become sufficiently powerful enough to break today’s standard public-key encryption. As a result, Quantum computers pose an existential threat to today’s cryptography and therefore today’s cryptocurrencies. And unlike the Y2K “millennium bug,” there is no exact timetable for Y2Q. All we know is, it’s coming much faster than anyone predicted.

How will Y2Q and quantum computers disrupt multi-billion-dollar cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin? We lay it out below…

Can Quantum Computers Defeat Bitcoin’s Security?

To put it short, quantum computers aren’t a threat to Bitcoin today. But this will likely change as more and more powerful quantum computers enter the arena.

Transaction security in Bitcoin – and many other cryptocurrencies – relies on public and private keys. At a high level, the public key (meant to be visible to others) allows you to receive cryptocurrencies from others. The hidden private key allows you to prove ownership and transact with it.

To create a public key for you, the Bitcoin network first randomly chooses a private key. Then, it algorithmically generates a public key from that private key. This means there’s a mathematical relation between the private and public keys.

In theory, hackers could derive your private key from your public key and access your funds due to that relationship. That said, the number of possible valid private keys is so large that hackers simply could not obtain your private keys through anything other than a brute-force attack and never in a feasible time frame. So as long as you don’t reveal your private keys to anyone, your funds should be safe. But as quantum technology improves, quantum computers will become a real issue for Bitcoin security because a Quantum-based attack will radically decrease the time to determine the private key based on the public key.

The Bitcoin Network Can Protect Public Keys – To Some Extent

Public keys are therefore a major potential weakness in cryptocurrencies, but the Bitcoin network actually has an existing solution.

In today’s Bitcoin network, public keys aren’t used in transactions directly. Instead, the Bitcoin network relies on P2PKH (public key) hashes that hide the actual public key. The public key is revealed only during transactions. Assuming that the same P2PKH isn’t reused, investors’ Bitcoin funds would be safe from pretty much any attack.

In the future however, sufficiently powerful quantum computers might be able to generate an attack at the very moment the public key is revealed leading to an ability to disrupt, corrupt, or otherwise interfere with the transaction at hand.

In Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies, transactions have to be processed by so-called miners. Miners race to process batches of transactions in exchange for cryptocurrency rewards. If a hacker derives your private key after starting a transaction, they could start a competing transaction to their address. They could offer a higher mining fee and have their transaction mined faster than yours, stealing your Bitcoin.

Currently, Bitcoin transactions take about 10 minutes to be mined. So as long as a quantum computer takes more than 10 minutes to derive your private key, your funds will be safe. But it won’t be long until quantum computers become powerful enough to brute-force private keys within this small 10-minute frame. After that it’s game over.

Protecting Your Investments from the Quantum Threat

The security of Bitcoin isn’t just a matter of keeping your investments safe – it’s a far more global issue.

63% of parties owning Bitcoin are institutional investors. If a large amount of Bitcoin is suddenly stolen, businesses and investors across entire nations and continents may go bankrupt, leading to economic crises or political tensions.

Cryptocurrencies can be extremely volatile, but they’ve already solidified their role as an investment tool. Even if the crypto bubble bursts, cryptocurrencies won’t go away. In the long run, quantum-ready security solutions can help us ensure that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies stay stable and secure.

TrUE Quantum-Security to Protect Cryptocurrencies

Quantum-secure any application, product, network, or device with the QiSpace™ platform — without having to sacrifice performance or make major investments in new technology or infrastructure. See for yourself how only QiSpace™ offers TrUE quantum security via all three essential cryptographic functions. Leverage asymmetric encryption algorithms (the “Trust” or “Tr” of “TrUE”) via MASQ™, symmetric encryption (“U” for “Uncertainty”) via QEEP™ and strong random numbers (“E” for “Entropy”) via SEQUR™.  Make it TrUE with QiSpace™ — and protect your business, brand, and customer promise. Now and forever. 

To learn more about our quantum-secure solutions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts!

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Eric Chan

Eric Chan a.k.a. EEPMON is a Crypto / Digital Artist with 15 years in the industry – and Quantropi’s Creative Emissary. His hybrid fractal/digital creations have been seen in fashion, comics to museums and has exhibited worldwide. EEPMON’s collaborations include Canada Goose, MARVEL, Snoopy, Microsoft Xbox, Canada Science & Technology Museum and was a TEDx performing artist. In 2018 he represented Canada on its first Creative Industries Trade Mission led by Canada’s Minister of Heritage and serves on the Canadian Museums Association‘s Board of Directors. At the same time, he is currently completing his Master of Information Technology – Digital Media at Carleton University. 

Dafu Lou

Dafu is Quantropi’s Director of engineering. Prior to Quantropi, he served as a technical leader at Irdeto, a world-leading provider of digital platform security software, where he was responsible for white-box cryptography, cloaked CA secure core, and iOS/android application protection services, among others. Prior to Irdeto, Dafu served as a senior software engineer at SecureNex Systems, where he led the implementation of an SSL-VPN solution and ECC-based secure data storage & PKI. He earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Ottawa in 2009. Dafu is also a part-time professor, teaching VLSI, Cryptography and other subjects at uOttawa.

Pauline Arnold

As James Nguyen’s EA, Pauline Arnold brings more than 40 years of experience in complementary customer service and administrative roles. Prior to Quantropi, she served 20 years as Branch Manager and an assistant in investments, and over 20 years at Metropolitan Life Canada in various aspects of the insurance sector – assisting clients, management and colleagues to complete tasks, solve problems, address questions and achieve goals. She also worked part-time for Royal Lepage Performance for 5+ years as a receptionist & admin, and for 5 years was chair of the TKFG’s charity golf tournament.

Bond Vo

Bond Vo is the Business Analyst of Quantropi. Along with Quantropi, Bond has been dynamic in accordance with a fast and evolving startup environment and is responsible in a wide range of areas including market research, funding, and more involved in the controller roles to oversee day to day accounting operation as well as build financing models and budget to achieve company’s ultimate goals/objectives. Bond has applied best practices consistently and successfully supports equity, debt, and non-dilutive funding for Quantropi since joint the team. He earned a Bachelor of Commerce concentrated in Finance from Carleton University. Outside of his professional career, Bond also participated in volunteer for the Vietnamese Immigration Student Association (VISA) to help and support students as well as newcomers in Canada.

Tina Wang

Tina develops websites and participates in a range of different projects, using new frameworks for front-end UI, along with Vuejs, Angula, Beego, Ruby on Rails, and Electron. She developed Quantropi’s desktop CipherSpace application by integrating Electron, Webassembly and Go, to ensure a good user experience, as well as perfect operating system compatibility. She is also part of the dynamic and efficient QKD-NODE project team. Tina is always looking for new ways to increase her knowledge, improve her technological proficiency and enhance her strong execution and implementation skills. Prior to Quantropi, Tina served as a full-stack web developer at Sunny Future, where she maintained a WordPress home site and managed the release of new content for the company.

Nick Kuang

As VP Corporate Services, Nick plans, directs and coordinates a wide range of activities aimed at achieving Quantropi’s vision of the Quantum Internet. He has a keen interest in transformative technologies and the possibilities they offer for bettering our everyday lives. A pharmacist by training, Nick nurtures teams with a focus on integrity and collaborative effort, coupled with strong attention to detail. With prior experience in a successful biotech start-up developing point-of-care test kits, he enjoys the fast pace and challenge of the start-up environment.

Alex He

Alex is a product-oriented project manager who bridges the gaps between the company’s engineering and commercial teams. He has over ten years of experience in the analysis, design and development of enterprise-class applications, with a particular focus on creating optimal user experiences (UX). Ever passionate about cybersecurity solutions that can deliver solid security without unreasonably sacrificing customer convenience, Alex is the lead inventor of a registered patent on user interface security. He is committed to helping ensure that the Agile software engineering team at Quantropi delivers consistently high-quality, high crypto-agility cybersecurity solutions for next-generation communications.

Michael Redding

Before joining Quantropi, Mike was Managing Director and co-founder of Accenture Ventures, where he grew a global portfolio of strategic partnerships and 38 equity investments in emerging technology startups.

During his nearly 30 years with Accenture, he incubated and launched technology innovations for enterprises across multiple geographies and industries. Ever-passionate about bold ideas with game-changing results, he speaks frequently on the impact of emerging technology on large organizations.

With a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton, and a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern, Mike is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Accenture Foundation and Board Observer for startups Maana and Splice Machine.

Raj Narula, P.Eng.

A seasoned technology executive, business builder and angel investor, Raj has held operational and advisory roles in Recognia (Trading Central), Belair Networks (Ericsson), March Networks (Infinova), Sandvine (Procera), Neurolanguage (ADEC), Bridgewater Systems (Amdocs), Vayyoo (Cafex), TenXc (CCI), 1Mobility (Qualys) and others. Having divided his time among North America, EMEA and Asia-Pac for over 20 years, Raj speaks several languages. He grew up in Asia, Europe, South America and Canada, and holds a B.Eng degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Ottawa. He is also a co-founder and Charter Member of the Ottawa chapter of TiE (the Indus Entrepreneur).

Ken Dobell

Ken leads marketing strategy at Quantropi. In high demand as a consultant with 25 years’ experience in performance media and an award- winning creative background, he has completed successful transformations, (re)branding and product development mandates with KPMG, Keurig, Fidelity, Eddyfi, Coveo, and more, and provides digital advice to the CMA. Previously, Ken pivoted an offline advertising brokerage to a leading-edge, data-driven performance agency as President of DAC Digital, held a progression of international leadership roles with Monster.com, pioneered a range of multi-channel initiatives as VP Marketing with a global franchisor, and introduced a mobile-first programmatic media offering to Canada within WPP.

Cory Michalyshyn

Cory brings a breadth of experience to the Quantropi team, working fractionally with multiple SaaS technology companies as CFO, and as the CFO with Celtic House Venture Partners. Prior to these roles, Cory was CFO and COO at Solink, and played a lead role in the metrics-led pivot to a direct-sales SaaS model, followed by multiple VC-backed funding rounds and their recognition as one of the fastest growing start-ups in Canada. He qualified as a CPA while serving technology, VC & PE-fund clients at Deloitte, and earned his Bachelor of Commerce at Queen’s University.

Dr. Randy Kuang

Randy holds a doctorate in quantum physics. His research findings have been published in top international journals and named “Kuang’s semi-classical formalism” by NASA in 2012. With a career spanning IT, including with Nortel as senior network researcher & developer, he co-founded inBay Technologies in 2009, serving as CTO of the cybersecurity platform. As the first recipient of a patent for two-level authentication (2011), Randy is a prolific inventor, with 30+ U.S. patents in broad technology fields, such as WiMAX, optical networks, multi-factor identity authentication, transaction authorization, as well as concepts, technologies and industrial applications for quantum key distribution.

James Nguyen

Prior to leading Quantropi, James was Chief Investment Officer & VP Asia Operations for a group of private and public real estate, mining, energy storage, graphene technologies and manufacturing interests, where, in his responsibilities for strategy, banking and global expansions, he secured large-scale investments and partnerships for commercializing graphene applications across multiple industries. A graduate of Carleton in Economics, he previously achieved success managing a mid-market portfolio (professional services, public sector, Asian markets) at RBC for over a decade. James has been on the HKCBA board, held advisory positions with technology start-ups and gives back as volunteer, fundraiser and mentor.