Quantum Supremacy and Blockchain: Things to consider

  • This breakthrough is from a corporation, not a government.  Previous innovation, such as ARPANET, came from such sources.  It is likely that the priorities will be different.
  • The sudden increase in speed implies the possibility of intermediate steps. As IBM reminded everyone after Google’s announcement, they too have a 53 qubit machine, albeit one that runs much slower and steadier.
  • Google’s innovation is likely to be seized upon by marketing departments.  Watch for computers with ornamental tubes and places for dry ice and water in order to improve cooling.
  • Quantum computing’s capacity for cracking Blockchain and other cryptography has alarmed many. It appears that others have been similarly capable for quite some time.  If the threshold is 53 qubits, then IBM has had the capability for a while.  If the threshold is lower, then others have had it also.
  • Watch for Bitcoin inflation due to an increase in currency supply.  It is likely to be the first indicator that the network has been successfully cracked.  This indicator is likely to come before a specific report of a breach.
  • Blockchain could easily live on for quite some time in applications that are unlikely targets.  While the financial world will have to upgrade soon, community organizations and libraries are likely to have more time.  The situation might be comparable to dot matrix printers.  Although they started disappearing from offices and schools in the late 1980s, they are still used in industry.

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