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The cryptocurrency world is asking the legitimate question of whether Bitcoin will be secure when quantum computing becomes a reality…
This is because a quantum computer is a “super super computer”.
A quantum computer can perform unfathomably complex calculations nearly instantaneously and could easily break RSA encryption1 and crack the digital signatures used to secure Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Quantum computers use Shor’s algorithm which is a quantum algorithm that could break public key cryptography.
Public key cryptography was designed by classical (non-quantum) computers.
As such, quantum cryptographers are seeking to develop new “post-quantum cryptography” that is secure against an attack by a quantum computer.
While not the only company working on quantum computing, Google certainly has the resources to develop one.
The processing power of a quantum computer is determined by its qubits, or “quantum bits”. Quantum bits are the basic units of information in a quantum processor.
In March 2018 Google announced its most powerful quantum processor called “Bristlecone”.
Bristlecone has 72 qubits of processing power.
To put this in perspective, in 2017 Google only had an array of 22 qubits. IBM recently was in the lead with a 50-qubit processor. And some experts believe that when quantum processors reach 100 qubits they will be able to solve computational problems that conventional supercomputers are unable to solve.
Experts are calling the moment quantum computers surpass conventional super computers the moment of “quantum supremacy”.
Google expects to achieve the goal of quantum supremacy very soon… If it hasn’t already.
Quantum computing could have applications in any digital realm, including world changing technologies such as artificial intelligence.
So, if the key to security belongs to the winner in the quantum computer rat race, would we expect Google or another successful creator of quantum computers to tell the world that they had done it?
Other companies besides Google that may be seeking to develop a quantum computer are Apple, IBM, Amazon.com and Bitmain.