Will Google supercomputers land a deathblow to bitcoin and the rest of the crypto industry?

Last month, Google revealed in a scientific paper that it was able to develop quantum computers that could perform calculations that were formerly impossible to compute.

The paper that was uploaded to NASA and was immediately deleted claimed that Google achieved "quantum supremacy," where a device with 53 qubits was able to perform quantum calculations 200 seconds -- something that would take 10,000 years to solve for a powerful computer today. Qubits are the basic unit of quantum computing.

Since bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies rely on complex mathematical problems to protect users and their funds, a quantum computer that can crack that cryptographic encryption could put the entire crypto industry at risk.

Blockchain transactions are secured through elliptic curve cryptography (ECC), which is the same encryption that the internet is built on.

Not 'yet' a threat

According to Peter Todd, an ex-Bitcoin Core developer, the quantum computers are still "primitive" and that it would take a lot of financial costs.

In a Twitter thread, Todd stated, "It means nothing because Google's quantum breakthrough is for a primitive type of quantum computing that is nowhere near breaking cryptography."

Dragos Ilie, a quantum computing and encryption researcher, echoed the same sentiment saying that Google only has 53 qubits.  

Illie added, "In order to have any effect on bitcoin or most or most other financial systems it would take at least about 1500 qubits and the system must allow for the entanglement of all of them."

Battling the threat

Quantum computing has been a threat since bitcoin came into existence, but its actual impact is unmeasured.

Andreas M. Antonopoulos, the author of "The Internet of Money," downplayed the threat of quantum computing to bitcoin, saying that bitcoin is something very inconsequential. 

Antonopoulos believes that if NSA had access to quantum computers, it would have more significant use as "it can also break encryption keys on all of the nukes in the world, all of the communication keys in all the nuclear subs, and all the military intelligence networks and all of the commercial networks."

  

Antonopoulos also offered a solution for bitcoin, "We can migrate quite easily to another algorithm."

Crypto currencies, despite regulatory grey areas, have been gradually making inroads into commerce in recent years with bitcoin leading the way Crypto currencies, despite regulatory grey areas, have been gradually making inroads into commerce in recent years with bitcoin leading the way Photo: AFP / Justin TALLIS