A General Overview of the Primitives

Introduction: Bitcoin under broken crypto primitives

The security of Bitcoin relies solely on cryptographic primitives. However, such primitives become weaker over time due to advances in cryptanalysis and the increasing computing power of the adversaries. Therefore, there’s a risk of the primitives being broken one day, which would have a drastic impact on the security of Bitcoin. In the past, there have been several attacks on the Bitcoin network or its corresponding user applications.

For example, hackers stole 59665966 Bitcoins worth $60\$60 million from the Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Zaif in September 2018. The high value of potential prey may lead to an adversary’s interest in investing in computational resources in an attack, which could facilitate the weakening or even the breaking of a primitive.

However, the primitives can also be weakened through improper software implementations. It’s therefore important to estimate the impact of broken primitives in the Bitcoin system. In this chapter, we’ll first explain possible attack strategies and assess the damage they can cause. We’ll also point out which rules should be followed to give any attacks as little chance of success as possible. We’ll then show the effects of Grover’s and Shor’s quantum algorithms.

Chapter structure

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