China has taken the lead in quantum computing, but bitcoin remains secure.
Chinese scientists announced last Friday (4) a prototype of a 76 photon quantum computer (qubits). The new computer takes only 3 minutes to solve the Gaussian mathematical bosom sampling algorithm (GBS), while the most powerful supercomputer today takes 600 million years.
With the announcement of a new quantum computer, an old doubt returns to the spotlight, can bitcoin encryption be broken with the new super computer?
Boson sampling is a means of calculating the output of a straight-line optical circuit that has multiple inputs and outputs. This is accomplished by building a machine in which the photons are sent in a parallel circuit and, once inside, are divided by beam splitters.
Quantum computers depend on some counter-intuitive physics of the subatomic world and are extremely fragile and difficult to maintain.
Conventional computers struggle to deal with problems that involve uncertainty, such as weather forecasting, calculating stock price rises and falls, simulating earthquakes, tracking information, or guessing a password.
The quantum computer was built to find clues to this kind of chaos. For example, a database may contain many smaller data sets, some of which may have an unknown relationship with others. The processor could quickly find out which data sets are related, a difficult task for traditional computers.
China’s more powerful computer than Google’s
Last year, Google’s quantum computer became the first to achieve quantum supremacy, performing calculations in a matter of minutes that scientists estimated a current supercomputer would take 10,000 years to complete.
Unlike Google’s computer, which used superconducting materials to manage qubits – bits of quantum information – the new Chinese computer, called Jiuzhang, is photon-based, using light to move and store quantum bits.
This unique computing capability has a wide range of potential applications, such as data mining, bioinformatics, finance, and of course, solving mathematical problems, such as cryptography.
In the test reported by scientists on Friday, Jiuzhang used light particles (photons) to perform calculations. Photons should be generated in their purest form because even a small physical discrepancy can lead to errors. And they must be produced one after the other, a technical challenge that brings optical precision to the limit.
The development of quantum computers can pose significant risks to today’s encryption methods that are used to protect much of the information stored on the Internet, including cryptographic algorithms that currently keep bitcoin secure.
This danger has fuelled a race to protect Bitcoin and other data protected by algorithms on the Internet.
Despite the developments in China and Google, this apocalypse scenario is still far away, as bitcoin code can be upgraded to a cryptography called ‚post-quantum cryptography‘, which is considered resistant to quantum attacks“.
„You may be able to build a quantum computer that can break a cryptography, but there are ways around the threat that quantum computing poses to bitcoin and other cryptographic-based technologies,“ technology expert George Gilder told Forbes.
China has taken the „lead in quantum computing,“ but bitcoin remains secure.