IBM doubled the capabilities of its quantum computer, but Bitcoin's encryption technology is still far from being cracked. At yesterday's International Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2020), the company announced that its 28-bit qubit computer "Raleigh" has achieved 32 Quantum Volume.
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In short, quantum volume is a measure of the complexity of a problem that a quantum computer can solve. Quantum volume can be used to compare the performance of different quantum computers, and IBM has doubled this number every year since 2016.
Quantum computers have been hailed as one of the most important innovations of the 21st century, with potential applications in almost all industries, from healthcare to artificial intelligence to financial modeling and more.
However, quantum computers have only recently entered a phase of development that can be described as practical, and the first true quantum computer was launched in 2009 by Jonathan Home. Since then, quantum computer development has come a long way, and the industry is currently dominated by a few tech giants including Google and IBM.
Although IBM's latest advances can be seen as major advances, quantum computers are currently only available for very specific tasks, and they are a far cry from the general-purpose classic computers we are used to. As a result, there are concerns that they could be used to undermine the cryptographic technology used to protect cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, a fear that is at least unfounded for now.
As a network built entirely around cryptographic secure transactions, a sufficiently powerful quantum computer could eventually crack the encryption technology used to generate Bitcoin's private keys. However, according to a paper published by Martin Roetteler and several co-authors in June 2017, such a machine would require approximately 2,500 qubits of processing power to crack the 256-bit encryption technology used by Bitcoin .
As the most powerful quantum computer currently has only 72 qubit processors, it will take several years for quantum computers to reach the level of threatening encryption technology. But as IBM's computing power doubles every year, and Google has achieved quantum hegemony, quantum computers remain a threat to cryptocurrencies. As a result, developers are currently working to ensure that Bitcoin can withstand potential quantum computing attacks.