Intel’s 17-qubit quantum test chip.Source: Intel
Stefan Thomas really could have used a quantum computer this year.
The German-born programmer and crypto trader forgot the password to unlock his digital wallet, which contains 7,002 bitcoin, now worth $265 million. Quantum computers, which will be several million times faster than classical computers, could have easily helped him crack the code.
Though still very much in its infancy, governments and private sector companies like Microsoft and Google are working to make quantum computing a reality. Within a decade, quantum computers could be powerful enough to break the cryptographic security that protects cell phones, bank accounts, email addresses, and — yes — bitcoin wallets.
“If you had a quantum computer today, and you were a state sponsor – China, for example – most probably in about eight years, you could crack wallets on the blockchain,” said Fred Thiel, CEO of cryptocurrency mining specialist Marathon Digital Holdings CEO.
This is precisely why cryptographers around the world are racing to build a quantum-resistant encryption protocol.
Right now, much of the world runs on something called asymmetric cryptography, in which individuals use a private and public key pair to access things like email and crypto wallets.
“Every single financial institution, every