Nations and startups around the world are investing hundreds of billion of dollars in quantum computing, says quantum security startup CEO James Nguyen. And while there are plenty of positives in quantum computing technology — new medical treatments are just one — the problem is that for a high-functioning quantum computer, all the cryptographic security we currently have could be as flimsy as using “password123” for your bank account.
That means that $100 trillion could be at risk by 2025.
“The World Economic Forum already said that by 2025 … the digital economy is going to be worth a hundred trillion dollars,” Ngyuyen told me recently on the TechFirst podcast. “And … everything that we operate today that’s important to us, such as our memories, our financial assets, our legacy, or even our military weapons … anything that we deal with in sets of information … is controlled over the internet.”
Quantum pioneer IBM says that quantum computing will create new exposure risk since quantum computers can quickly solve the complex math problems that form the foundation of today’s security. Those problems secure our bank accounts and nuclear weapons, and while classical supercomputers can take thousands of years to solve them, IBM says a large-scale quantum computer could theoretically solve them in hours or days. Other computing giants like Microsoft are already hard at work on post-quantum cryptography. And Google has said that quantum computing could “end encryption” within five years.
Ngyuyen says the threat is already here, especially given that Russia and China are the two countries investing the most in quantum computing investment, and the regardless of the exact timeline, every organization needs to be “quantum ready.”
He also says that his Canadian startup, Quantropi, has the answer.
“We’ve developed the world’s first cloud-based platform for digital quantum key distribution over the internet,” Ngyuyen says. “We’ve been able to prove — with a partnership with McGill — that we’re a hundred thousand times faster than existing quantum key distribution systems.”
According to Ngyuyen, Quantropi’s solution is something like an abstraction layer for quantum security that banks and digital retailers and military organizations can incorporate into their systems without needing their own on-site quantum computers. Essentially, it’s software with the core of a quantum algorithm that can be implemented in quantum computers as well as classical computers. Quantropi says that while many companies can generate very strong quantum entropy — very random numbers — no-one has been able to distribute this effectively at high speed over existing infrastructure.
In other words, over the internet.
This is essentially quantum security as a cloud service, at gigabits per second.
Quantropi’s solution uses a quantum random number generator from Quintessence Labs out of Australia, then streams quantum cryptography to clients via a process the company calls QEEP: quantum entropy expansion and propagation. The result is “perfect secrecy” in key encoding, according to a presentation the company made during a recent IEEE quantum event.
Of course, many companies claim to have the perfect solution for security, and seemingly, everyone gets hacked sooner or later.
Ngyuyen says Quantropi is working in closed beta with Fortune 100 companies as well demonstrating and testing its technology in universities like McGill. The company has multiple patents with over ten outstanding, he adds, and has been recommended by the National Research Council of Canada to be a nominee for the Science Startup Breakthrough of The Year.
Whether or not Quantropi has the final solution remains to be seen. But fixing security in the age of quantum computing is almost unimaginably important.
Because a working quantum computer that can break high-standard encryption in the hands of bad actors would make the mammoth Solar Winds hack look like a script kiddie.
“[Quantum computing] really undermines and breaks today’s PKI encryption,” Ngyuyen says. “And if a criminal was going to basically leverage a quantum computer for bad reasons … you literally can start wars. You literally can basically empty people’s bank accounts … steal people’s identities … everything that we believe or, you know, is important to us, it’s going to be broken.”
Get the full interview on the TechFirst podcast.
The Toronto Stock Exchange falls 0.58% to 19,031.64
* The Toronto Stock Exchange’s TSX falls 0.58 percent to 19,031.64
* Leading the index were Laurentian Bank of Canada <LB.TO>, up 5.6%, goeasy Ltd, up 4.5%, and Air Canada, higher by 4.4%.
* Lagging shares were Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd, down 7.0%, Silvercrest Metals Inc, down 5.5%, and New Gold Inc, lower by 4.8%.
* On the TSX 73 issues rose and 154 fell as a 0.5-to-1 ratio favored decliners. There were 13 new highs and no new lows, with total volume of 171.6 million shares.
* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Enbridge Inc, Suncor Energy Inc and Air Canada.
* The TSX’s energy group fell 1.21 points, or 1.1%, while the financials sector climbed 0.02 points, or 0.0%.
* West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 0.51%, or $0.31, to $61.66 a barrel. Brent crude rose 0.43%, or $0.28, to $65.6
* The TSX is up 9.2% for the year.
This summary was machine generated April 22 at 21:03 GMT.
Canadian dollars hold on to Wednesday’s rally
By Fergal Smith
TORONTO (Reuters) -The Canadian dollar was little changed against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday as a decline in risk appetite was offset by the Bank of Canada‘s more hawkish stance, with the currency holding on to its gains from the prior day.
The loonie was trading nearly unchanged at 1.2500 to the greenback, or 80.00 U.S. cents, having traded in a range of 1.2472 to 1.2534.
It was one of only three G10 currencies to keep pace with the U.S. dollar as U.S. stocks dived on reports that President Joe Biden planned to propose nearly doubling the capital gains tax.
The others were the Swiss franc and the Japanese yen, which are both renowned safe-haven currencies.
“The BoC’s relatively hawkish move yesterday may have moved USD-CAD’s trading band down a notch,” said Ronald Simpson, managing director, global currency analysis at Action Economics, adding that the shift in yield spreads has supported the loonie.
The gap between Canada‘s 10-year yield and its U.S. equivalent has declined to just 3 basis points in favor of the U.S. bond from 19 basis points at the start of the month.
On Wednesday, the Canadian dollar touched its strongest intraday level in one month at 1.2455 after the Bank of Canada signaled it could start hiking interest rates in late 2022. The central bank sharply boosted its outlook for the Canadian economy and cut the pace of bond purchases to C$3 billion a week from C$4 billion.
“I would advise penciling in a further taper (of bond buying) at the July MPR meeting,” Derek Holt, vice president of capital markets economics at Scotiabank, said in a note, referring to the bank’s monetary policy report.
The price of oil, one of Canada‘s major exports, settled 0.1% higher at $61.43 a barrel.
Canada‘s 10-year yield was little changed at 1.522%.
(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by William Maclean and Peter Cooney)
Canadian annual inflation rate doubles
By Steve Scherer
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada‘s annual inflation rate doubled to 2.2% in March, Statistics Canada said on Wednesday, as the central bank signaled economic slack would likely be absorbed earlier than it had previously forecast.
Previously, the Bank of Canada had said it would be 2023 before inflation returned sustainably to its 2% target. On Tuesday, the central bank said it would happen in the second half of next year. In the meantime, inflation would temporarily breach its target, the bank said.
Part of the March price bounce is due to a statistical effect caused by a sharp deceleration last year during the coronavirus pandemic, Statscan said.
The bank also held its key overnight interest rate at a record low 0.25% as expected.
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected the annual rate to rise to 2.3% in March, up from 1.1% in February. Energy prices gained 19.1% on a year-on-year basis, while inflation excluding gasoline and food rose 0.9% versus a year ago.
“The headline spike, as expected, is largely an energy story, but there are some signs that underlying pressures are starting to show up,” said Nathan Janzen, senior economist at the Royal Bank of Canada.
“The Bank of Canada‘s core measures also moved higher on the month, with two of them very slightly above the Bank of Canada‘s midpoint 2% inflation target,” Janzen said.
CPI common, which the central bank calls the best gauge of the economy’s underperformance, was 1.5%, slightly higher than the 1.4% forecast by analysts.
CPI median rose to 2.1% from 2.0% in February, and CPI trim was 2.2% in March, up from a revised 2.0% in the previous month.
But Derek Holt, vice president of capital markets economics at Scotiabank, said the annual rate is not being driven solely by a statistical effect.
“This isn’t just base effect-driven, it’s pretty remarkable resilience in terms of underlying inflation pressures,” he said.
The bank now expects Canada‘s economy will grow 6.5% in 2021, up from its January forecast of 4.0%, with real GDP growth of 3.7% in 2022, down from a previous forecast of 4.8%.
After the Bank of Canada announcement, the Canadian dollar strengthened 0.9% to 1.2499 to the greenback, or 80.01 U.S. cents, its biggest gain since last June.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Paul Simao and Alistair Bell)
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