Did the Quantum Apocalypse really arrive on January 4th?

Chinese researchers are reporting they can break RSA encryption with a contemporary Quantum Computer. Can they?

Quantum London
6 min readJan 6


Photo by Khachik Simonian on Unsplash

This is a brief post in response to the current focus on the topic. Something longer will follow.

Q: Will quantum computers defeat encryption?

A: Yes, certain types on encryption, including many that are in common use today.

Q: Do we see that as an immediate, existential threat?

A: No. Or, at least we didn’t a few weeks ago as the timeline for suitable quantum computers to be here was “years away”. The recent paper published by researchers in China has raised some interesting questions.

The paper was published a few weeks back but the news got into the mainstream press on 4 Jan and my inbox has been buzzing ever since.

If you haven’t heard about it, this article by Alexander Martin in The Record gives a useful (albeit quite technical) summary, including the reasons experts are sceptical.

If you’re interested, what next?

Have a read of the summary below, it’s just a few minutes. If it piques your interest as a topic the next point could be either my business-executive-friendly primer is available here (UK) or here (US) or here (on Medium))

Or if you want something more technical this piece on Quantum Attack v Quantum Defence.

Some context

In 1994 Peter Shor spiced up the nascent world of quantum computing theory by presenting an approach (now simply referred to as Shor’s Algorithm) that would allow quantum computers…



Quantum London

Spotting and sharing quantum computing’s business impact — now and in the future. Quantum Business book link: https://amzn.to/3xaoLgz