Imagine: It’s 2020 and a leading Chinese tech company has just created a quantum computer that can break the current Bitcoin encryption standard. Despite promises by the company to safeguard this technology, a rogue employee uses it to open the wallets of several large bitcoin investors. Millions are stolen and as word leaks, the market crashes. Before Bitcoin is able to update its encryption standard, investor confidence in cryptocurrency has been shattered. This is the threat that quantum computing presents.
The above scenario is not that far-fetched. Indeed, at the speed at which quantum qubit capacity is increasing (qubit is a unit of quantum information), its merely a matter of time before quantum computing poses just such a risk. In order to break Bitcoin’s current encryption algorithm (SHA-256), quantum computing will require 1600 qubits capacity. Although Google’s quantum computing efforts are being staged at a mere 50 qubit, that level has increased exponentially within the past year.
Quantum Computing: A Systemic Risk
For security purposes, Bitcoin owners are currently able to generate both a private and a public key. Although private keys are used to generate public keys, it’s fairly difficult to calculate that private key based upon how the public key was generated. Yet quantum computers have that capacity to do just that. And as quantum computing power grows, its ability to wreck havoc on cryptocurrency will expand as well.
By allowing private keys to be revealed, quantum computing leaves open the possibility of theft. The only silver-lining here is that the theft is perhaps limited to a few individual accounts. A quicker way to bypass private key security is to break the digital signature technique used to verify private key ownership.
This digital signature technique (properly known as an elliptic curve signature) is expected to be at risk from quantum computing by 2027. Breaking this safeguard would ultimately be more systematic and destructive to cryptocurrency in general then the theft of a few individual accounts. After all, these digital signatures guarantee that the Bitcoin owner actually possesses the private key and can spend Bitcoin.
What can be done to safeguard the blockchain from such attacks?
Adaptability and Trust As A Security Safeguard
“Quantum Resistant” technology does indeed exist. For instance, XTRABYTES currently uses a very secure hash algorithm standard (SHA-512) to safeguard its Zolt algorithm from quantum computing hackers. More Importantly, XTRABYTES has the ability to easily upgrade its security protocols as quantum computing advances, That is, the code with which XTRABYTES is built upon is easily changeable. With encryption technology, security is often simply a matter of staying ahead of the curve.
Because blockchain security is partially dependent upon the length of cryptographic keys, creating longer keys as a safeguard is always a temptation. Unfortunately, longer cryptographic keys require additional time for encoding and decoding encryptions. Given that XTRABYTES is currently testing at 10,000 transactions per second, it might have greater luxury than most with regard to encryption time. Nonetheless, other variables such as time-stamping and encryption methods must be factored in as well.
With its Proof-of-Signature requirement, XTRABYTES creates an additional security layer as well. Using Proof-of-Signature, transactions only proceed if XTRABYTES’ STATIC nodes sign off on them. Because it’s impossible for anyone to know the entire private key used by several thousand STATIC nodes. hackers cannot fraudulently create a signature-verified block. And should a malicious node attempt to compromise the chain, it will be blacklisted automatically.
Well, what about breaking into the STATIC node owner’s wallets? STATIC node owners locate one of their two wallets on their PC. Since this wallet has no coins in it, hacker have no incentive to hack it. This is the advantage XTRABYTES has with locking its digital coins in cold storage.
For XTRABYTES, security concerns are paramount. Their development team is presently conducting a hackathon contest to test drive its XFUEL.
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We don’t just publish articles, XTRABYTES is a whole new blockchain platform that allows DApps to be programmed in any language, utilizing a new consensus algorithm called Proof of Signature. In doing so, XTRABYTES presents a next – generation blockchain solution capable of providing a diverse set of capabilities to the general public.