Last week Google announced in a paper that it has achieved “quantum supremacy” for the first time by building a computer with quantum technology that is many times faster than conventional computers.
Google claims that it’s quantum processor, the 54 qubit Sycamore, has solved a problem in 200 seconds that currently requires the fastest supercomputer for 10,000 years. However, IBM claimed shortly afterwards that their fastest supercomputer, Summit, can perform this calculation in 2.5 days and that Google has therefore not really achieved quantum superiority.
Nevertheless, Google’s announcement immediately had a major impact on the cryptocurrency market. The price of bitcoin (BTC) fell by more than $ 500 on the same day. The reason for this is that one day, quantum computers are so powerful that they can break the encryption of cryptocurrencies. However, a large group of crypto experts reports that the market does not have to worry about this for the time being.
It is not yet ready
Mati Greenspan, a market analyst at eToro trading platform, reports that Samson Mow, CSO of Blockstream, said during the Litecoin Summit on October 28 that it may take tens of years before quantum computers will be strong enough to break this encryption:
We are now at 53 qubits, but we would need around 3,000 qubits and then another million to be able to do something useful.
In the time we develop quantum computers, ASICs will also make progress.
Greenspan himself said earlier that the quantum computers are not nearly strong enough. David Bernardo, professor at the IT University of Copenhagen, says that quantum computers also need to become much more powerful before they can get through encryption:
If you want to break the signature encryption used in bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies), you need a quantum computer that can handle tens of millions of qubits and can handle such a calculation for hours.
Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, does not yet see any threat and makes a comparison between hydrogen bombs and nuclear fusion to which he adds:
It is proof that the phenomenon exists and that power can be extracted from it, but it is still too far away to be used for useful things.
Patrick Dai, CEO of Qtum, believes that easier encryptions than those of bitcoin will first be broken, which will warn the community that it is time for change:
Breaking SHA-256 is not something that happens overnight. We will receive many warnings. In the end, miners will pay the price when the switch takes place, because they are stuck with incompatible hardware, but bitcoin will continue to grow.
Quantum computers can help
Andreas Antonopolous, known bitcoin (BTC) bull, says in a YouTube video that quantum computers will have absolutely no impact on bitcoin. Scott Aaronson, a quantum theorist at the University of Texas, writes in a blog post that quantum computers can even help improve the underlying technology.
If bitcoins encryption (SHA256) can eventually be broken with quantum computers, there is still the option for a so-called soft fork where the SHA256 algorithm can be converted to SHA512, which will make breaking the encryption even more difficult. There are even more methods.