The research team at Deloitte, one of the Big Four accounting and audit firms, has said that about $28.6 billion in Bitcoin is currently quite susceptible to loss if attacked by quantum computers. The company warned about this in a report it recently published.
According to the report, about 4 million Bitcoin currently held in several “pay to public key” (p2pk) addresses are very vulnerable to a quantum attack. Deloitte explains that this is because the public keys to the account are available on the ledger. The p2pk is an old address standard and was used before the newer “pay to a public key hash” (p2pkh) was released, which now only shows the address when a transaction is initiated. The report notes that “since all transactions in Bitcoin are public, anyone can obtain the public key from any p2pk address.” It then adds that:
“A quantum computer running Shor’s algorithm could then be used to derive the private key from this address. This would allow an adversary who has a quantum computer to spend the coins that the address had.”
New attention is currently being focused on quantum computing since October when Google announced it had hit “quantum supremacy”. Google specified that its “Sycamore” chip will in a little over three minutes, complete a computation that will take the world’s fastest supercomputer 10,000 years.
Back in September, Deloitte announced its has begun allowing its staff to pay for meals using Bitcoin.
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