Bitcoin could be hacked using extremely powerful quantum computers, says British researchers

According to British researchers, hacking Bitcoin with quantum computers may be possible in the future.

Mark Webber, a quantum physicist at the University of Sussex, argues that breaking Bitcoin’s encryption would be possible with futuristic supercomputers, The Independent reports.
Bitcoin can be hacked | Image: Optimisus

According to The Independent, Mark Webber, a quantum physicist at the University of Sussex, believes that breaking Bitcoin's encryption would be possible with futuristic supercomputers.

For the time being, the flagship cryptocurrency is completely secure. Existing devices are far from being large enough to hack Bitcoin.

Quantum computers use qubits rather than bits, allowing them to process infinitely more data than traditional computers.

In November, IBM, the world's largest technology company, unveiled a 127-qubit quantum computing chip, breaking the 100-qubit barrier for the first time.

According to Webber and his colleague, a quantum computer would need at least 13 million qubits to break Bitcoin's encryption in a day.

Notably, the researchers believe that 300 million qubits will be "achievable" in the future for quantum computers, posing a threat to the largest cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin should be considered safe from a quantum attack for the time being, based on our estimated requirement of 30 million to 300 million physical qubits, but devices of this size are generally considered achievable, and future advancements may bring the requirements down even further.

Webber believes that Bitcoin could perform a hard fork in the future to become quantum-resistant and solve its supercomputer problem, but he also warns of network scaling issues.

The doctoral researcher is convinced that existing encryption techniques are insufficiently secure:

People are already concerned because it is possible to save encrypted messages now and decrypt them later.

Bitcoin employs the SHA256 hashing algorithm developed by the National Security Agency (NSA).

Bitcoin, which celebrated its 13th birthday earlier this month, has proven to be incredibly resilient over the years. In 2013, the late security expert Dan Kaminsky famously admitted that he couldn't hack.