Diving For Digital Dollars: Exploring For Lost Bitcoin

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There is treasure buried in cyberspace.

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The San Jose was a 62-gun, three-masted galleon that was sunk by the British during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) with 600 people on board. The British were trying to prevent Spanish galleons from returning to Europe at the time, which were filled with bullion and jewelry that might have been meant to fund the war. San Jose was sailing from Portobello, Panama as the flagship of a treasure fleet of 14 merchant ships and three battleships. It was tracked near Cartagena by English Commodore Charles Weger and attacked on 8 June 1708. The stake intended to capture the ship and plunder, but Galleon’s supply of gunpowder exploded and it sank in deep water.

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The Colombian Navy discovered the wreck a few years ago, thanks to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), which used its REMUS 6000 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) to locate the remains at a depth of about 2,000 feet. They weren’t doing this purely out of curiosity, as San Jose had a few hundred tons of gold, silver, emeralds and similar items worth an estimated $17 billion today. Yes, it’s not a misprint. It is the richest ship in the world. There are billions of dollars worth of 18th-century Latin American fungible tokens on the ocean floor right now, waiting to be picked up.

(Colombia estimates it will cost about $70 million to call it a “national treasure” and wants to be on display in a museum to be built in Cartagena but there’s an interesting one Conflict Erupting around the rubble, which is in Colombian waters. Spain insists that the treasures belong to them, as they were aboard a Spanish ship, while Bolivia’s indigenous Cara Cara nation maintains that the Spanish forced the people of the community to mine the precious metals, so the treasures must be theirs. .)

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I wondered about the fate of this ocean floor as I read a story about another crypto-chaos-mix that happened recently when someone typed in the wrong destination address for a token transfer and $36m-worth of frictionless digital Sent money Future into oblivion,

There must be a lot of cryptocurrency that has sunk under the waves of the web as USB sticks/hard disks/post-it notes destroyed along with keys (remember the poor chap) Searching Through Welsh Garbage Dumps to find your hard drive) or because the value was transferred to a wallet for which no private key exists or because the only person knowing the pass phrase has died in a swimming accident or passed away from Alzheimer’s.

sinking funds

Gold coins scattered on the South American sea floor remind me of all those bitcoins that have gone to crypto-heaven, or perhaps crypto-purification, because the relevant private key has been lost. Over time, coming up with new technology would mean that they could be recovered, except in this case it would be a quantum computer rather than a submarine. When quantum computers break the encryption behind the digital signature schemes used for bitcoin (for example) bitcoinB T c
and etherETH
EUM, then people will be able to spend each other’s money with impunity.

Of course, archaeologists will not be looking for these quantum computers, as many other people (eg, organized crime, unscrupulous “whales”, and tax officials in many countries) are also looking for them. The code-cracking quantum computers that would be needed to find them are under development, but they won’t be there tomorrow. Professor John Martinis, who used to be the top scientist at GoogleGOOG
The quantum computing team, says Google, plans to build a million-qubit system with a sufficiently low error rate that error correction will be effective enough to make the performance reliable. almost a decade from now, Such a system would have enough logical qubits that the system would be able to execute powerful algorithms to attack problems beyond the capability of classical supercomputers.

One of these problems is, of course, the breaking of asymmetric cryptography at the heart of CryptoKitties to transfer money from lost or abandoned wallets. Due to technical reasons such as public keys and the way things work, accountant Deloitte believes that about four million bitcoins would be vulnerable to this kind of quantum attack. With bitcoins worth around $30,000 or more, that means a pot of more than a hundred billion dollars is at the end of the quantum rainbow.

Remember this is only for lost or abandoned vulnerable wallets. There’s Another Big Risk to Bitcoin attack on unprocessed transactions, When you spend bitcoins, you transmit your public key. An attacker with a quantum computer can find the associated private key and recreate the transaction to send (for example) money to himself. They will need to process their fraudulent transactions prior to the original transaction (by paying a hefty fee). All of this would need to be done nicely and in a relatively short time window, which sounds daunting but is doable as it puts every bitcoin transaction at risk.

fishing for bitcoins

Mark Webber and his team at the University of Sussex in the UK recently calculated That would require a quantum computer with 1.9 billion qubits to break cryptography in a 10-minute window, while cracking it in an hour would require a machine with 317 million qubits. Even allowing for a full day, this figure drops to just 13 million qubits. In other words, the working quantum computer that could find the Davy Jones cyberlocker is somehow off, and would cost more than $70 million. However, it is coming.

The quantum version of the AUV that San Jose got is an imperative and the treasure hunt will be done. And there is a lot around it. The great Satoshi Nakamoto had in the region of a million bitcoins that he mined during the development phase of the cryptocurrency. Those coins should now be considered a treasure as Satoshi disappeared a few years after bitcoin’s launch. Estimates vary but somewhere between a fifth and a quarter Bitcoin is already lost like this – or at least lost until a quantum computer comes along to collect it – and never gets back into circulation.

And that’s just bitcoin. Other cryptocurrencies are also at risk, however, as a . is mentioned in paper From Stephen Holmes and Liqun Chen at the University of Surrey in the UK last year, the risks for different cryptocurrencies are not all the same. They share a common quantum vulnerability through the use of non-quantum secure Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) digital signatures, but the specific risks of a successful quantum attack depend on several factors, such as block lag time, a attack vulnerability. The time taken to complete an unprocessed transaction and the behavior of a cryptocurrency user delays the cost of a quantum computer attack.

Over time, the value will migrate to currencies built on quantum-resistant algorithms or to the quantum computers themselves. But it may be worth spending a few billion to build a quantum submarine to reduce the dredge of a hundred billion or more in lost cryptocurrency right now. Who’s Ready for Crowdfunding?

Credit: www.forbes.com /

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