A document announcing Google’s achievements in quantum computing has appeared on NASA’s official website. Emphasis was put on the fact that technologies are threatening the crypto industry. The document has been deleted, but analysts attribute the report to the further decline in Bitcoin’s rate. In this review, we’ll observe what fate awaits the cryptocurrency market and what awaits people in the future.
Quantum computer vs. usual computer: which is better?
To understand why a quantum computer is powerful, we need to understand what makes it work. To analyze information, quantum computers use quantum bits instead of binary digits (qubits). Traditional computer data bits are present in only two states: zero (0) or one (1). These are "on" and "off" states. The quantum bit is in a superposition state. In other words, it has several meanings at once. Thanks to quantum bits, computers quickly store and process large amounts of information. At the same time, these machines use less energy than classic computer models.
The processors of such machines are 100 million times more productive than those of modern computer models are. Power will grow in accordance with a double exponential function, increasing every year by billions of times.
Cryptocurrency and quantum technologies: Private account holders in danger
Developers of blockchain technology have made cryptocurrency transfer secure. The main purpose is the protection against account hacking and counterfeiting of user data. All transactions are recorded in blockchain, and no one can simply change the processes of this system. The users who participate in the transfer can see everything. Quantum technologies cannot affect blockchain: the system will continue to run flawlessly.
However, they can be dangerous for personal account holders and cryptocurrency wallets. To send a payment in ETH, for example, the user enters a 64-character key (a combination of letters and numbers). If attackers want to get ETH, they enter a similar combination. The difference is that a regular computer cannot calculate it, and a quantum one can do it easily.
Protecting blockchain from quantum technologies
One question worries blockchain enthusiasts and traders: when it will happen. Experts have predicted that in 5 years, quantum technologies will already be threatening blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies. Nevertheless, Vincent Danos, chief researcher at the French National Research Center, said in an interview that this could be discussed no earlier than in 20 years.
There is still time, but there are two ways to deal with the threat today:
- create private keys instead of prime numbers factorization. In this case, even the most powerful computer will not be able to find the available options.
- use private blockchains instead of public counterparts. One will need to be verified by the network author to gain access.
Both options will help to reduce the risk of quantum computer developers’ negative actions.
3 bold Predictions of the Future: Where Geordie Rose was mistaken
Any phenomenon has both advantages and drawbacks. And it's not just about the blockchain threat. Geordie Rose, CEO of D-Wave Systems, gave a public lecture on quantum technologies in 2015.
At the end of the speech, Rose stated that there are three bold predictions concerning the field of quantum computers:
- NASA scientists will find a planet with an Earth-like atmosphere. After that, companies will start discussing how to move to this planet. According to the director of D-Wave Systems, this should have happened in 2018.
- Confirmation of the theory of the parallel reality. It will happen in 2023.
- Developing machines with human intelligence that replicate human activity. It will happen, if we are to believe Geordie Rose, in 2029.
Therefore, even though we have to postpone the theory for more than three years, Rose’s first prediction is partially correct. A certain planet was discovered by NASA's Kepler space telescope back in 2015. There may be liquid water on it. However, the scientists have not yet provided the exact answer.
The third point is particularly interesting because human analysts view quantum computers as human substitutes. The main drawback here is the disappearance of several professions: driver, translator, financial analyst. In 2018, the robot waiters served people at the Japanese cafe. However, people with disabilities controlled the work of these waiters. In 2029, we will find out whether quantum computers will replace people.
The benefits of quantum technology development
Quantum technology is an effective tool for dealing with a large number of modern problems in the world. One of the main areas is medicine.
- Improving the effectiveness of antibiotics. The problem of the XXI century – the resistance of bacteria to drugs – remains relevant. However, thanks to the use of quantum powers, it can be mitigated. Quantum computers will also simplify the process of selecting drugs for specific situations. Doctors will be able to see how this or that drug affects the body without any risks. It will help to improve medications for the treatment of complex diseases.
- Diagnosis of cancer at the early stages. Every sixth person in the world dies from this disease. The main problem is the complexity of early diagnosis: some types of tumors are visible only at a late stage. Quantum technologies will help the doctor to find carcinoma at the primary stages.
Quantum computers will improve the data transfer system, making it as secure as possible. Moreover, they will contribute to science, allowing scientists to minimize the time needed to calculate important data.
One thing can be said for sure: the development of quantum technologies will change our life dramatically.
Editor: Daria Mukhina