CHEYENNE, WY / ACCESSWIRE / June 8, 2023 / Quantum computing - a technological evolution once thought to be decades away - is now right at our doorstep. While quantum computers may greatly benefit both scientific advancement and industrial application, they also represent a serious threat to the security of our digital infrastructure - particularly for blockchain-based technologies, such as cryptocurrencies. The destabilization of an increasingly crucial part of our global financial system could have major (and potentially devastating) effects.
To shed light on this complex and evolving landscape, Dr. Pierre-Luc Dallaire-Demers ("PL"), Founder/CEO, and William Doyle ("Will"), Core Developer, of Pauli Group spoke about their work at the forefront of quantum-resistant blockchain technologies.
What are the biggest issues for crypto with the growth of quantum computing?
PL: The inherent security weakness of public keys is the biggest issue. Everyone has been led to believe they are almost impossible to break, but the reality is that a quantum computer running with about 1 million qubits - which we will see within the next 5-10 years - will break keys in a matter of hours. As an example, the first 1 million BTC mined in the Satoshi era explicitly list their public keys in the block explorer, and thus getting hacked would have catastrophic consequences on the economics of the blockchain and cascading collapse of the trust for the whole web3 industry since, as most blockchains use the same signature method.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been working on standardizing cryptographic signature methods that can resist quantum computers - but we need to act ASAP on implementing it on a mass scale.
How long is left before quantum computing is a serious threat or it's too late to act?
Will: I think quantum computing is a serious threat right now. This is because it's unclear exactly when quantum computers will be capable of breaking secp256k1 - and other modern cryptographic primitives, which is when the whole thing will unravel.
PL: The algorithm to break elliptic curve cryptography - which crypto uses - was actually present as far back as 2003, but nothing out there was powerful enough to process it - so when Bitcoin came around, everyone felt it was totally safe. It's not. We expect to see machines with millions of qubits by the decade's end, which will be able to perform this task with ease. At that point, non-quantum-secure blockchains will be totally at risk. As quantum computers grow in the 2030s, the rate of key breaking will skyrocket in parallel, rendering old blockchains completely obsolete in the 2040s. Fortunately, we still have a window to upgrade our infrastructures to resist quantum computers, but it's a challenging task that requires immediate action.
Why aren't large networks such as Ethereum doing more to protect their networks?
PL: Large networks are definitely aware of the implications of quantum computing for the security of their blockchains but they're not putting sustained efforts toward upgrading to quantum-resistant cryptography. No major network has a multi-year migration plan either. This absolutely needs to change if they care about the long-term viability of the existing networks.
The main issue is that we expected computers of this power to be over a hundred years away, but they've arrived far sooner than expected - and everyone is sort of scrambling around trying to work out what to do, or ignoring the issue entirely. But if we all get organized we can prepare.
What can crypto investors do now to protect themselves?
PL: The best strategy in the short term is for users to hedge their crypto investment with a post-quantum secure digital asset such as the Quantum Resistant Ledger and move their existing blockchain assets into a quantum-resistant wallet. Pauli Group uses our own Anchor Wallet, which has the strongest quantum-resistant cryptography available to permanently secure assets against the potential vulnerabilities posed by quantum computers.
Describe the professional journeys that led you both here.
PL: My journey with quantum computing began in 2006 when I pursued a Ph.D. in the field and a post-doc at Harvard, then worked as a quantum computer scientist at Xanadu. My interest in cryptocurrencies started in 2013, and over time as I saw quantum computers scaling at a rapid rate I recognized an impending and problematic intersection of these two fields. This led me to found Pauli Group in the summer of 2021.
Will: I have been in the blockchain space for years with a focus on blockchain security. During my time in the industry, I've witnessed a rapid rise in technology that threatens the very decentralized financial freedom that cryptocurrency was created for.
What problem was Pauli Group created to solve?
PL: Pauli Group was born out of an understanding that large-scale quantum computers are no longer a distant possibility but a rapidly approaching reality. The whiplash progress in this field means that these machines could be a reality by the end of this decade, and this poses a significant threat to the security of blockchains. Our aim is to monitor the progress of quantum computers and their ability to break blockchain cryptography and to develop solutions that protect users and their assets in the long run.
Will: Pauli Group was created to innovate at the overlapping space between quantum computing and blockchain technology. We firmly believe that the security, integrity and trust in blockchains must remain uncompromised even in the post-quantum era.
Learn more about the Pauli Group here: https://pauli.group/.
SOURCE: The Quantum Resistance Corporation