Vitalik Buterin says there are quantum threats that could lead to Ethereum hard fork

Vitalik Buterin says there are quantum threats that could lead to Ethereum hard fork


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  • Vitalik Buterin warns that quantum computers could enable bad actors to steal Ethereum users’ funds.
  • In response, the Ethereum blockchain would need to undergo a hard fork, requiring users to download new wallet software.
  • A quantum-resistant cryptography transition, including Winternitz signatures and STARKs, is proposed to protect against such threats.

Wake up, you guys! Our beloved Ethereum blockchain is facing a scary threat from quantum computing. This concern was vividly brought to the forefront by Ethereum’s legendary founder, Vitalik Buterin himself, which sheds light on a scenario that, while sort of speculative, presents a clear and present danger to the integrity of blockchain technology as we know it.

You worried yet?

So the real problem depends on the creation of quantum computers, which are computers with so much power that they can break the security protections that keep digital assets safe on blockchain networks like Ethereum. The most important part of Buterin’s message is that criminals might be able to use quantum computers to steal user funds saved on the Ethereum network if and when they become available.

Buterin gives a very detailed explanation of a situation in which the sudden appearance of quantum computing technology forces the Ethereum community to rush to protect its assets. Quantum-resistant cryptography, which includes methods like Winternitz signatures and STARKs, is the main thing that protects Ethereum from this quantum danger. These high-tech encryption methods are a ray of hope because they promise to protect against thefts made possible by quantum computing. Additionally, Ethereum’s move toward account abstraction lets users adopt these quantum-resistant signatures over time, letting them gradually change their security measures at their own speed.

But what if time runs out? What if the quantum threat materializes before the Ethereum community has fully transitioned to quantum-resistant cryptography? According to Buterin, Ethereum is not as defenseless as some people might think. He describes a strategy for a “recovery fork” – a radical restructuring of the Ethereum blockchain that would enable the network to get through any kind of quantum emergency. This recovery fork would result in a hard fork of the Ethereum blockchain, causing users to switch to new wallet software. But on the bright side, only a very small number of users face the risk of losing their funds.

Buterin’s strategy addresses the Achilles’ heel of quantum computing’s threat to Ethereum: the vulnerability of private keys. In a quantum-dominated place, the elliptic curve cryptography that underpins Ethereum’s security could be reversed, exposing private keys and, by extension, users’ funds to theft. However, the genius mentions something that could mitigate this risk. He points out that the majority of Ethereum’s private keys are gotten from complex hash calculations, suggesting a way to protect these keys through a series of strategic measures embedded in the proposed recovery fork.

Essentially, the recovery fork is a multi-faceted strategy that includes reverting the blockchain to a state prior to quantum-enabled thefts, disabling traditional transactions, and introducing new transaction types that enable secure interactions through smart contract wallets. Central to this approach is the use of STARK proofs, a form of zero-knowledge proof that offers a really strong defense mechanism against quantum decryption. By proving ownership of a private preimage without revealing it, users can secure their funds and transition their accounts to new, quantum-resistant validation codes.

Buterin stresses that the steps needed for such a recovery fork could be taken right away, readying the Ethereum community for the quantum threat. In theory, this infrastructure could be built immediately, putting Ethereum ahead of other blockchain networks when it comes to this emergency.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Jai Hamid

Jai Hamid is a passionate writer with a keen interest in blockchain technology, the global economy, and literature. She dedicates most of her time to exploring the transformative potential of crypto and the dynamics of worldwide economic trends.

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