I pearled this article under "Bitcoin Articles" --> "New To Me", even though the word "bitcoin" is nowhere to be found.

Now, I am no kind of expert on bitcoin, quantum computing or anything else, but as I understand it:

1) bitcoin is reliant on public key cryptography. In turn,

2) public key cryptography is reliant on mathematical one-way functions (easy in one direction but nearly impossible in the other using even today's best technology). and

3) there is good reason to expect advances in quantum computing to render feasible the sort of factorization that would change mathematical one-way functions back into two-way functions, thereby undermining public key cryptography.

Nobody knows what can or will happen, of course, but the pearled article (http://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/19707-The-Emerging-Threat-to-Public-Key-Encryption.html), by the credible author (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/computing/people/alan_woodward/index.htm), gives me great pause with respect to the future for bitcoin.

I'm not getting rid of my bitcoins, of which I don't have a lot anyway. I played around with it for a while last year, trading a bit here and there, riding waves of volatility and basically breaking even or maybe a little better. Then I decided to park my wallet for a year and see what happens.

It was an interesting experience and I hope bitcoin succeeds, but if quantum computing winds up compromising public key cryptography it will probably be an even more disruptive development than bitcoin itself might have otherwise been.

But what do I know?

Now, I am no kind of expert on bitcoin, quantum computing or anything else, but as I understand it:

1) bitcoin is reliant on public key cryptography. In turn,

2) public key cryptography is reliant on mathematical one-way functions (easy in one direction but nearly impossible in the other using even today's best technology). and

3) there is good reason to expect advances in quantum computing to render feasible the sort of factorization that would change mathematical one-way functions back into two-way functions, thereby undermining public key cryptography.

Nobody knows what can or will happen, of course, but the pearled article (http://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/19707-The-Emerging-Threat-to-Public-Key-Encryption.html), by the credible author (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/computing/people/alan_woodward/index.htm), gives me great pause with respect to the future for bitcoin.

I'm not getting rid of my bitcoins, of which I don't have a lot anyway. I played around with it for a while last year, trading a bit here and there, riding waves of volatility and basically breaking even or maybe a little better. Then I decided to park my wallet for a year and see what happens.

It was an interesting experience and I hope bitcoin succeeds, but if quantum computing winds up compromising public key cryptography it will probably be an even more disruptive development than bitcoin itself might have otherwise been.

But what do I know?

- I should have said that the article by the credible author
*reinforced*my pause with respect to bitcoin. The idea of quantum computing precedes bitcoin by quite a while, and quantum computing is apparently not the only threat to public key cryptography. http://goo.gl/A17jm Who knows what else might be in the offing.

I think the kids today are in for a wild ride! I hope it's a good one.May 19, 2012