The USA and China compete for the quantum computer to decipher the secrets of the world.
The supposed threat of quantum computing to blockchain’s security has filled articles. Is it real? For Alfonso Rubio-Manzanares, President of Barcelonaquibit, “the great weapon of the 20th century was the atomic bomb, that of the 21st century will be the quantum computer. Whoever has it will win the war, and the world will stay because it will access the secrets of others. It is the war of this century, the cyberwar fought by China and the United States of America. Both powers make billion-dollar investments in obtaining it. No one knows what can happen.”
Thousands of scientists from the military-industrial complexes of both superpowers investigate quantum computing. “DARPA, the Jet Propulsion, NASA, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Los Alamos, are some of those who work in the United States. China has the Micius quantum communications satellite, 50 cities connected with quantum cybersecurity, “” says Alfonso Rubio-Manzanares. Not only that, technology multinationals from both countries such as Microsoft, HP, IBM, Intel, Google, Alibaba, Huawei, or Baidu invest in quantum research.
Despite such millions of investments, no expert lays a hand in the fire on the reality of that great key decoder. “”It’s not safe to get it; it’s only likely. Some say he will be from five to seven years, others extend him from ten to twenty years,” says Alfonso Rubio-Manzanares.
Breaking RSA Cybersecurity
The problem is not Baladi. “”RSA is the cybersecurity standard used by up to 92% of the market. It is a mathematical model based on the principles of random number generation, and the factorization of prime numbers (finding the two numbers that multiply give the number of a numerical key) a current computer would take the age of the universe to factor prime numbers to break an RSA standard. Peter Short (Professor of Applied Mathematics at MIT) created a quantum factorization algorithm, exponentially faster than the best algorithm executed by a classic computer. When there is a quantum computer of at least 1,500 qubits to put the short algorithm, prime numbers can be factored, and RSA can be deciphered,” explains Alfonso Rubio-Manzanares.
The equation isn’t that simple. Some researchers and experts remove iron from the problem, in the interest of developing protection parallel to quantum research. Encryption evolves nonstop, companies with sensitive information investigate to maintain protection, and the arrival of quantum encryption will be parallel to decryption. “”Security evolves with new algorithms,”” says a cybersecurity expert.
At this undercover dance, blockchain keeps up. A blockchain does not store information; it stores the timestamp of its verification. Will it be interesting to use the very expensive quantum computers to raid 51% of the computers in a blockchain network that keeps the verification of the traceability of a logistics chain, or of banking operations?
Blockchain’s not there. Researchers from Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) have proposed the design of a chain of quantum blocks. They are not the only ones investigating this.
Quantum research will make other advances before we reach the quantum supercomputer. There will be sensors, simulators, it will be used in medicine, it will reach the Internet, and it will bring changes in multiple sectors.
Although with fewer investments than in the US and China, countries around the world research quantum technology. In 2016, the European Commission approved an investment of € 1 billion to support this research in their countries.