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Quantum Computers a Million Times Too Small to Hack Bitcoin


Bitcoin could one day be threatened by quantum computers – but not yet.

Credit: blackdovfx/Getty Images

Quantum computers would need to become about a million times larger than they are today in order to break the algorithm that secures bitcoin, which would put the cryptocurrency at risk from hackers.

The bitcoin network is kept secure by computers known as miners that use a cryptographic algorithm called SHA-256, which was created by the US National Security Agency. Breaking this code is essentially impossible for ordinary computers, but quantum computers, which can exploit the properties of quantum physics to speed up some calculations, could theoretically crack it open.

Now Mark Webber at the University of Sussex, UK, and his colleagues have investigated how large a quantum computer you would need to break bitcoin, in terms of the number of qubits, or quantum bits, the equivalent of ordinary computing bits.

From New Scientist
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