Classical computing makes calculations by manipulating strings of bits (1s and 0s) represented physically by networks of electrons or photons.  By contrast, quantum computers manipulate “quantum bits” (qubits) which are represented by a quantum system, which can be in multiple states at the same time.  In other words, quantum computers can solve problems that cannot be solved by classical computers in a reasonable period of time.

The end result is that quantum computers can provide solutions in AI, optimization and simulation, where classical computers fear to tread.  These capabilities can be used in optimizing financial portfolios, drug and material design, intelligence, etc. Fueled by the potential large revenue stream from quantum computing, the likes of IBM, Honeywell, Microsoft and Google.  However, not all the firms making quantum firms are household names.  New pure play quantum computer firms are springing up – companies such as Rigetti and IonQ.

Meanwhile, investors are looking for vehicles though which they can invest in quantum computers.  However, not everything about quantum computers is benign.  Although years away, analysts see quantum computers as reaching a level where they can decrypt e-commerce transactions, including those in which bitcoin is involved