Because of their extreme computing power, quantum computers are considered a threat to encryption techniques.
Chinese developers are now reporting a breakthrough in this field and are making Bitcoin Era Hodler sit up and take notice.
Only a few days after China was able to announce the landing of its first space probe on the moon, a further technological milestone from the Middle Kingdom is underway. According to a report in the magazine „Nature“, a team of researchers claimed to have made the first tangible demonstration of a „quantum advantage“. This is the exploitation of the contra-intuitive mode of operation of quantum mechanics to perform calculations that would take eternities on classical computers.
The calculation was carried out using laser beams. Normal computers would not be able to perform such operations with even approximately the same speed. Even the best existing supercomputers would take several billion years to do this, according to researchers from China. In contrast to Google’s first demonstration of a quantum advantage, which was carried out last year, the new Chinese variant is therefore considered practically unattainable for any classical computer. The results were published on December 3 in the journal Science.
However, Christian Weedbrook, CEO of the Canadian quantum computing start-up Xanadu in Toronto, Canada, points out that, unlike Google’s Sycamore, the photonic circuit of the Chinese team is not yet programmable. Therefore, it cannot be used to solve practical problems at this time. But if the team should succeed in building a sufficiently efficient programmable chip, the solution of important computing problems would be possible:
It is only a matter of time before quantum computers will leave the classical computers in a cloud of dust.
Christian Weedbrook, Xanadu CEO
Quantum computers as a danger for private keys
This message is of interest to the crypto world in that quantum computers represent a very serious threat to the Bitcoin network. In addition, 51 percent attacks on the block chain are also conceivable. The Japan-based company Toshiba has already reacted to this. It promises to offer cryptographic quantum computer services by 2025. According to its own statements, the company has been researching in this area for years. It bet on the fact that the need at quantum coding services will rise in the coming years substantially. Toshiba is working on this project together with Verizon Communications and BT Group PLC.
It is true that the encryption techniques used in the Bitcoin world have been considered relatively quantum-safe up to now. However, following the latest technical advances, Bitcoin developers must also be aware of the danger posed by computers with such high operating speeds. Various discussions at the Bitcoin github make it clear that the scene has already reckoned with this threat.