In 2020, for example, Chinese scientists used a quantum computer to solve a mathematical problem that would have taken a normal supercomputer 2.5 billion years. The quantum machine solved it in 200 seconds.
Now this is just one example of what they’re capable of. The reality goes much further. Today, quantum computing has the potential to transform the way we interact with nature.
It could accelerate drug discovery by rapidly examining molecular structures, refining materials science and rewriting the framework for artificial intelligence.
However, we have a problem with this (it depends on how you look at it of course):there is still no quantum computer capable of acting in that period of certain bitcoin vulnerability, between which a key is generated public, available to everyone, and a secure private key, visible only to the user.
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“When someone makes a transaction in bitcoin, it’s announced to the world, but it’s not completely secure until it’s been integrated into the blockchain,” says Mark Webber, quantum architect at the company English Universal Quantum.
However, not even the current most powerful quantum processor in the world, built by IBM, would be able to hack it in that window of vulnerability.
Despite this, for people like Webber and his team, this has become a challenge: hacking bitcoin. And not as something negative, but to know how much power would be necessary. We talked about development in this type of processors that would improve our lives to unimaginable levels and logically, would collaborate with the protection of cryptocurrencies.
After investigating, they reached a conclusion: 317 million qubits are necessary to hack bitcoin in an hour. The qubit is the basic unit of the quantum version of computer language. It is the driving force of the processor. To get an idea, the IBM processor currently has 127 qubits.
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If that window of vulnerability is typically open for at least 10 minutes, “it would be a larger number” , he said. “Probably six times more”. That would put the number of qubits in the billions.
In the end, the security of cryptocurrencies is a State problem and not just computers like Webber’s are behind.
The US National Institute of Standards and Technology, for example, is looking at quantum-proof cryptography algorithms to keep cryptocurrencies safe, while the Ethereum Foundation is investigating notions of quantum resistance.