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Quantum Computing Threatens to Collapse the Grid

Posted December 15, 2021

The relationship between quantum computing and Bitcoin is getting a lot of attention these days.

Quantum computers represent our ability to solve impossible equations, discover new medicines, and create sophisticated financial strategies. These computers will be the backbone of the metaverse and usher in the so-called "Web 3.0" era of an internet that runs on the blockchain.

But these quantum machines pose an existential security threat to our online infrastructure because they'll soon be able to break the current encryption systems that protect our data.

Experts say in the next 10 years, bad actors will use these machines to hack into cellphones, bank accounts, email addresses, and cryptocurrency wallets. The U.S., China, Germany, the U.K., Australia, and Japan are now working overtime to ensure this doesn’t happen. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is already researching quantum-resistant cryptography.

The issue is so serious that Congress called on six top crypto company executives to testify last week about what exactly is going on in the crypto world.

The hearing gave us a closer look at the crypto industry, its impact on the future of the internet, and how quantum computing ties it all together.

We even got a glimpse of the best ways to play the trend...

A Projected $65 Billion Industry

In 1981, theoretical physicist Richard Feynman gave a lecture at MIT in which he discussed the possiblity of a computer that could simulate physics. Our natural, physical world is made up of energy, matter, and the interaction between the two, so a machine capable of operating under these same principles could revolutionize computation.

Standard, or “classical,” computers use “bits” to store binary information in 0s and 1s, which represent electrical signals a computer interprets to display information on the screen. Quantum computers, on the other hand, store information using subatomic particles called quantum bits, or “qubits,” which can exist in a state of 0, 1, or both at the same time. This allows quantum computers to process information exponentially faster than classical computers and solve problems that are impossible for classical computers to solve.

At the time, no one thought it was possible to create a machine with this capability, but Feynman’s speech sparked a quantum computing race that now has tech companies scrambling for the top seat. In 2017, IBM (NYSE: IBM) built a quantum computer with 50 qubits, and just three years ago, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) built the Bristlecone quantum computing chip containing 72 qubits. (It would take 20 million qubits to crack a standard encryption scheme.)

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According to research published by P&S Intelligence, the industry was valued at $500 million in 2019 and is projected to grow to $65 billion by 2030. Quantum computing is expected to touch nearly every part of the economy, including the military, energy, cybersecurity, pharmaceuticals, and, yes, cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin’s Quantum Vulnerability

As I mentioned, Congress held a historic hearing last week, which stemmed from a report by the President’s Working Group, a Treasury Department-led team that ensures the integrity and competitiveness of U.S. financial markets.

The group called on Congress to regulate the issuers of “stablecoins,” a type of cryptocurrency pegged to fiat money. For example, you can buy one USD Coin (USDC) — a popular stablecoin — and its value will stay stable at $1. Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN) even offers users 0.15% interest for holding USDC, while other platforms can pay up to 14%, a much better rate than you’d get at any bank.

That’s why the market cap of stablecoins has risen to $127 billion this year, making regulators nervous. And now that the crypto market cap stands at more than $3 trillion, the entire industry’s become a national security threat. If all that money were to get hacked with a quantum computer by another country, it could spark a war.

Our online accounts, email, and crypto wallets are “secured” with technology called asymmetric cryptography, otherwise known as public key cryptography, where individuals use a public, forward-facing key and a truly private key. Encryption works by scrambling data for anyone who isn’t supposed to see it.

This public-private key pair produces a digital signature, and once quantum computers become more sophisticated, they could reverse-engineer a user’s private key, forge a digital signature, and commit identity theft or even steal someone’s Bitcoin right out of their digital wallet.

So as the world transitions to a blockchain-backed internet, the need for quantum-resistant cryptography is paramount, something crypto experts are working on as we speak.

The New Web

Coinbase CFO Alesia Jeanne Haas testified that crypto is no longer being used to speculate but that it’s ushering in a new era of the internet called "Web 3.0":

Nearly 50% of our transacting customers are doing something other than buying and selling crypto, which indicates to us that crypto is moving beyond its initial investment phase into the long-expected utility phase.

Web 3.0 combines the blockchain, payments systems, cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and government regulation with the promise of giving users ownership rights to their data. This is starkly different from the World Wide Web launched in 1990 by Tim Berners-Lee.

The internet is now categorized into two periods: Web 1.0 (1990–2004) and Web 2.0 (2004–present). Web 1.0 refers to when users only consumed content, and Web 2.0 is what we have today, where users not only consume content but create and share it. In this current stage, users create millions of data points each day that are swept up by Big Tech for a hefty profit.

Now we’re about to see Web 3.0, a decentralized internet that runs on the blockchain where users own their own data, effectively cutting out the Big Tech middlemen, including Google (the company that “forgot” to commemorate Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day last week, Amazon (the company being sued for noncompetitive marketplace practices), and Facebook (the company that destroyed the mental health of a generation).

Ironically, it’s these same companies that are working to achieve quantum supremacy.

A Quantum Leap

Again, experts are saying it’ll take about a decade for quantum computers to be powerful enough to pose a threat to the grid.

I say that prediction is way off.

If we’ve learned anything about technology, it’s that it exponentially explodes and hits us over the head when we least expect it.

So this gives us a fantastic opportunity to get into quantum computing stocks before the retail crowd hops on board.

Our senior tech analyst Keith Kohl believes the quantum computing industry will balloon to more than $1 trillion in the near future.

And he’s recommending these seven stocks as a pure play on quantum computing.

As always, we'll stay on top of this lucrative trend.

Stay free,

Alexander Boulden
Editor, Wealth Daily

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After Alexander’s passion for economics and investing drew him to one of the largest financial publishers in the world, where he rubbed elbows with former Chicago Board Options Exchange floor traders, Wall Street hedge fund managers, and International Monetary Fund analysts, he decided to take up the pen and guide others through this new age of investing.

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