In October 2019, Google announced it had achieved a breakthrough in quantum computing. Google published a claim that it had achieved “quantum supremacy”—by creating a computer that could complete calculations that even the world’s fastest supercomputer could not. What takes a supercomputer 10 thousand years to compute, the quantum computer called Sycamore can do it within 3 minutes.
A typical computer you and I have uses bits, which perform calculations in the form of 1s and 0s, quantum computers use qubits, transistors that can register 1s and 0s at the same time (i.e. 00, 01, 10 or 11). This allows for much more computing power This increase computer power and speed exponentially.
Blockchain’s cryptography relies on the fact Private keys are encrypted, and it would take the largest supercomputer thousands of years to crack them. But if a quantum computer is thousands of times stronger than your computer, then it seems likely that such a monster has the capability to take over a blockchain network effortlessly.
There may come a day in the future, when ideal quantum computers are complete, our current mainstream encryption methods will fail.
Quantum Computers and Blockchain
The Bitcoin network is built with millions of nodes and miners around the world. A quantum computer could potentially launch an attack on the Bitcoin network. Quantum computers are a potential threat to crypto and blockchain networks.
The announcement of Google’s quantum computer spurred quite a commotion in blockchain and crypto community. Whatever quantum computers can and could do, crypto community do not have to worry at the moment and the cryptography world is already building its fortress, and that it may take some time for ideal quantum computer to be completed.
Longer Horizon for Quantum Computer
The Trump administration has pumped $1.2 billion in the development of a quantum computer. Over the past few years companies like Google, IBM, and Intel have received at least $450 million in private funding. Despite all the investments there’s no actual use-case scenario yet. That’s something that will come over time. For now, it’s enough to know that a quantum computer can perform certain tasks much faster than a supercomputer.
A quantum computer requires at least one million qubits. Developing this type of computing power would require a lot more time, work and money. Quantum computers needs to become almost 20 times faster before it’s capable of any general-purpose tasks.
What’s in for Proof-of-Stake
Mining rewards in the Proof-of-Work mining system are based on computing power, Proof-of-Stake relies on picking a random user with ‘staked’ coins to determine who receives these coins. Thus, Proof-of-Stake is not only more energy efficient, it’s also potentially more decentralized. However, the current computers aren’t capable of true random number picking.
It is believed that a quantum computer can solve this issue with its computing power. Google’s Sycamore quantum computer operates with a 54-qubit processor. Hence it can generate numbers much faster, and it’s capable if truly picking a random number.
Quantum computing is among the science and technology innovation projects listed in Beijing’s current five-year plan. Big tech companies in Asia are involved in the quantum, including Alibaba Group Holding, which partnered with the Chinese Academy of Sciences to set up a quantum computing lab in 2015