Will Quantum Computers Enable Traders to “See Into the Future” and Exploit that Advantage?
(FT) Quantum computers will be able to solve probability-based tasks that would previously have been impossibly hard for conventional counterparts in realistic timeframes. Summarized here is Zabella Kaminska’s discussion of quantum computer’s “Back to the Future” scenarios wherein traders “see into the future”.
It’s a prospect that poses an entire new set of challenges for market regulators and participants. If super quantum computers really can help institutions see into the future, the information advantage will be unprecedented.
Problems such as optimising portfolio analysis or cracking cryptographic problems such as those that underpin bitcoin, the cryptocurrency, are also often cited dangers of quantum computers.
If cryptographic systems can be broken, exceptionally sensitive data held across the financial system could be exposed and taken advantage of in unfair and market manipulative ways.
Rather than being able to better predict the market, the true pay off in the arms race might lie in achieving quantum-level encryption-breaking capability and using it subtly to seize the information that can get a trader ahead. Experts say the chances someone is already up to this, however, are low. If quantum supremacy had been achieved, the news of it would leak pretty quickly.
Many banks and institutions are introducing teams to think exclusively about how quantum computing will affect their business. How far ahead they are on making their systems quantum secure is harder to say. It’s a secretive issue. For now, most agree, the threat level is low, not least because — as the hacking of the Colonial pipeline shows — system security is low enough to ensure far cheaper and simpler ways to hijack digital systems