1 min read

Quantum can't kill crypto

Blockchains aren't future proof. By using asymmetric cryptography (aka public/private keys), the public database is at risk of being "hacked" by quantum computers. Quantum is still in its infancy, but if researchers are able to pull off a powerful enough quantum computer, it could be used (at massive cost) to reverse engineer the private keys of any public key stored on the blockchain.

Basically, this means that instead of "not your keys, not your coin" we get "not your quantum computer, not your coin."

Importantly, there are quantum-resistant encryption algorithms. Blockchains can (and likely will) upgrade to use these algorithms if/when quantum becomes a thing. Whichever blockchains can adapt the quickest will be adopted.

Take note that this doesn't protect the data already on blockchain. If you're storing encrypted data on-chain today, just assume it will be publicly decrypted at some point in the future.

To become quantum resistant, blockchains will have to be proactive. If a chain waits until they've already been hacked, there's no secure way to migrate existing data, accounts, and token ownership to the new encryption algorithm. It's possible I'm wrong about that, but at the moment, I don't see a migration path that maintains security once quantum computers reach the level needed to hack existing encryption algorithms.

Whichever blockchains can adapt the quickest will be adopted.


P.S. If quantum researchers are correct, this could be only a few years away.