Last week, had an interesting conversation with an uber driver at New York, about Bitcoin. He posed a question to me quite casually – “what do you think – is Bitcoin future proof?” – and then he gives me his insight into why he thought it is entirely not future proof, and, why he has not considered investing in it.
New York Question
He told me that – though he’s in New York and a lot of people are Bitcoin users there (almost an ATM every 5 miles), he is skeptical about the technology because it may not be future proof. He told me that once quantum computing (i.e. a computer that can theoretically compute at very high speeds ) becomes a reality, Bitcoin wallets and other storage devices that store the private keys of users could be attacked using Brute force.
He asked me if bitcoin’s and the other blockchains (such as the Ethereum chain) could withstand such attacks, if large computational and storage power became available, at low costs. This leads to an interesting problem – if at all answerable.
How much computational power would be needed to compromise the network effects built over years – if at all feasible, if there were infinite computing power and infinite storage suddenly available? Traditionally Moore’s law has been applied to both computing power, and, to storage – and will continue with semiconductors and storage. However, if there were a technological development over and beyond current semiconductor and storage based developments, such as a leap-frogging to quantum computing, this law may become irrelevant.
PS: Question – What would be the computational power needed to brute force the components of the Bitcoin subsystem i.e. wallets, nodes, multi-sig, etc..?