Google has recently glamorously revealed a breakthrough in the quantum technology sector, claiming that they have reached a certain degree of quantum supremacy. In short, the tech giant developed a supercomputer equipped with the ‘Sycamore’ quantum chip that managed to solve a complex computing problem in only 200 seconds. For comparison, it takes a state-of-the-art modern supercomputer 10,000 years to solve the same problem.
Quantum technology remains one of the most ambitious fields in modern science, with the possibility to affect and help with the development of multiple sectors, including engineering, artificial intelligence, and even medicine. As such, the technology also has the possibility to affect the cryptocurrency sector which could become vulnerable insanely fast.
If quantum technology were to be used maliciously, cybercriminals could easily target several blockchain networks such as Bitcoin’s and thus damage the security of not only Bitcoin but of the entire market itself. Billi Bambrough, a cryptocurrency columnist, explained the situation in a Forbes article.
The author writes that ‘a powerful enough computer, similar to Google’s quantum computer, could solve these classical equations quickly enough to crack not only bitcoin but also the encryption that the internet is built on.’
While the second problem is already actively discussed by some, given the fact that blockchain networks can be made to function without the help of the internet, the hacking aspect still remains a problem while blockchain technology relies on the internet.
Is Quantum technology a threat to crypto?
Quantum technology is still decades away from being developed to a state where it could pose a problem to the crypto sector. Despite this fact, the news still affected the market to some degree as the price of Bitcoin dumped from $8,000 to $7,400 only two hours after the news of Google’s breakthrough surfaced.
So, why exactly should people not fear that quantum technology will in no way affect the new disruptive sector in the next at least 10 years? Well, the main reason is that quantum computing is still at its infancy, much as Bitcoin was during its initial release in 2009. The problem that troubles both spheres is scalability and real-world use, both of which require more than just one decade to become fully developed.
In a tweet by Peter Todd, the blockchain developer commented on Google’s news by saying that ‘it means nothing because Google’s quantum breakthrough is for a primate type of quantum computing,’ after which he added that scientists still do not know if quantum computers can even scale.
Possible or not, quantum computing will still take years of research before it will be able to affect blockchain networks. As such, there is no fear of impending doom as cryptographers are aware that there is a race towards creating quantum-resistant blockchain networks, which could negate any achievements by Google or any other company.