Will Feynman bury Bitcoins?

Richard Feynman, physician, winner of Nobel prize for physics in 1965

Ok, I know that he would not literally destroy bitcoins, but the truth isn’t very far.

To understand this, we have to take a look at what Bitcoins are, and more specifically what cryptocurrencies are.

Wikipedia defines cryptocurrencies as:

A cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency. Cryptocurrencies are a subset of alternative currencies, or specifically of digital currencies.

But what does this mean? Bitcoins are sets of encrypted data which are generated by a system to reward the “miner”, someone who uses their computing resources to verify a transaction and update it on the “blockchain”, a database consisting of these transactions. Bitcoins use an SHA-2 encryption which makes them tough to decrypt. Hence, preventing the reuse of the same coin using illicit techniques and thus, ensuring the inflation-free growth of the currency.

The best thing about Bitcoin is that this encryption algorithm is so effective that it is more fruitful for a possible decipherer to mine a new bitcoin than to decrypt existing ones by cloning them.

Unfortunately for bitcoins, there is a new technology that has the power to change everything: Quantum computers. Richard Feynman had pioneered this technology and it has finally been manufactured by a company called D-Wave. The company continues to further develop the technology today.

The D-Wave 2000Q, one of most advanced quantum computers

Quantum computing is a huge step forward for mankind and will practically destroy all the modern encryption systems along with all cryptocurrencies based on them. This is because quantum computers are capable of performing millions of simultaneous calculations which will allow them to break the current encryption systems with brute force calculations, i.e. trying out every possible combination. Because of this, the value of these cryptocurrencies will dwindle as they will become increasingly insecure.

That, my friends, is how Feynman, or better, the quantum computers he theorised, will inflict the killing blow to the web currency of freedom.

(Thanks to Bongiovanni Pietro, Ayush Verma and Adnan Salehin for helping me reviewing this article)

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.