Quantum computers remain a very long way away from cracking RSA-based cryptography, says Sankar Das Sarma, a condensed matter theory physicist, and quantum information expert, in MIT Technology Review. RSA-based cryptography uses codes, algorithms, and keys to securely encrypt private data without meddling from third parties.
The blockchain and crypto sector regards quantum security as a major issue. It believes that quantum computers will one day become powerful and advanced to break into current cryptography. This means losing billions of dollars worth of digital assets or bringing blockchain technology to a grinding halt.
Sarma has highlighted the current state of technology as a tremendous scientific achievement. However, he said it takes the world closer to having a quantum computer that can solve a problem that anybody cares about. The physicist likened it to trying to make today’s best smartphones using vacuum tubes from the early 1900s.
He shared that the prime factorization in which a quantum computer can solve the hard problem of finding the prime factors of large numbers faster is currently well beyond the grasp of current computing power. Sarma highlighted qubits – quantum objects like an electron or photon that enable the enhanced capabilities of quantum computing.
The expert says that the most advanced quantum computers of today have noisy physical qubits. Sarma pointed out that building a quantum computer to crack RSA codes would require millions if not billions of qubits. It would be used for the computation of so-called logical qubits. The rest would be used for error correction and compensating for decoherence.
Sarma says a real quantum computer will have applications unimaginable, just like how no one was able to predict that the first transistor made in 1947 would lead to laptops and smartphones. He sees quantum computers as a potentially disruptive technology.