If you are present in either the cyber security, quantum technology, national defence, telecommunications or connectivity circuit, the chances are you have probably heard of Arqit. The quantum encryption experts at Arqit Limited have been the topic of conversation in a wide range of industries over the last 6 months, but where did they come from and why?
Arqit is a British-born company specializing in a type of cyber security known as “quantum encryption”. In order to properly understand what quantum encryption is and why it is important, you kind of need to understand the problem it was developed to solve – a problem known in the industry as ‘the quantum threat’. The quantum threat is the threat posed by the development of quantum computers, a type of computer that (once fully developed) will be powerful enough to break all our existing methods of encryption. The problem is that, alongside being a potential menace to our entire digital infrastructure, quantum computers have a great deal of really positive potential. They could provide huge improvements in a range of industries including finance, manufacturing and medicine. Because of this, a great deal of funding has been and is still being pumped into the development of quantum computers. Pretty much every global tech company worth their salt now has a team dedicated to the development of quantum computers, from Google and IBM to quantum-focused start-ups like 1QBit. With all this activity going on, it is only a matter of time before the kind of quantum computer capable of breaking our existing encryption methods is developed and distributed. Then it won’t be long before it gets in the wrong hands – i.e. the kind of hands that intend to use it to make money from high-profile cyber hacks or leak private information from the government or even the military. Needless to say, this would not be good.
This is where quantum encryption comes in.
Arqit’s quantum encryption product, ‘QuantumCloud’ uses an established form of encryption known as symmetric key encryption (SKE). This form of encryption has been around for a long time and has always been capable of alleviating the threat of quantum computers. The reason it hasn’t been implemented on a large scale yet is simply that no one could figure out how to make an SKE system scalable. Until Arqit, that is.
So, now that you understand who Arqit is and what it is trying to achieve, back to the subject of my blog, the company’s exit from ‘Stealth Mode’.
Despite being around and working hard on their solution for the past 5 years, Arqit didn’t fully burst onto the scene until May 2021, when they announced their intentions to merge with Centricus Acquisition and the official launch of their QuantumCloud product. This was quickly followed by a succession of press releases and big news stories regarding the application of QuantumCloud in a variety of industries and partnerships with companies in the UK, US and Japan. Arqit’s Centricus Acquisition merger went through on 3rd September 2021 and officially started trading on NASDAQ on 7th. Since, it has announced partnerships with international network solutions provider Juniper Networks and US-based autonomous systems specialists Blue Bear Systems – two clear attempts to highlight the applicability of their product in both the connectivity and military spaces.
Now, there are two theories as to why Arqit might have come out into the ether this year. The first is that it all center’s around the company’s entry onto the NASDAQ and is an attempt to make money from potential advisors. The second is that it simply wants to get the word out about the QuantumCloud product and the problem it seeks to solve. I am going to explore both…
The idea that Arqit’s fanfare attitude towards the QuantumCloud product is all an attempt to raise more money for the company’s shareholders is a fairly obvious one. I mean, a company generally only enters public listing to raise funds, right? This would make perfect sense if it wasn’t for the fact that Arqit clearly doesn’t need any more money. With over $1bn in pipeline contracts and an estimated market value of $2.7bn, they’ve got more than enough to keep them going and to keep shareholders happy. The CEO, David Williams, even said so himself in a recent interview with CNN.
So why would Arqit be throwing itself out there and why list the company on the NASDAQ in the first place? In comes the second theory – that it’s all a rouse to help push its technology out across the globe and get the message out about the quantum threat as it becomes more of a legitimate and imminent concern. Since it was founded in 2016, the technological geniuses at Arqit (led by Chief Technology Officer David Bestwick) have been working tirelessly on a solution capable of outwitting the quantum threat. Now they have it, it’s hardly surprising that they’re doing so much to share it with the world. They have created the first-ever genuinely quantum-proof cyber security solution, which is something I’d want to share if it was me.
The truth is, no one really knows why Arqit has suddenly burst onto the scene (apart from the insiders themselves, of course). All we can do is hazard a pretty good guess. My money is on the theory that Arqit’s bosses just want more people to know about the quantum threat and the solution they have provided to alleviate it.
Regardless of the reasons for breaking its silence, Arqit is in the limelight right now (and rightly so). The only question that remains is, will you be investing in Arqit and/or equipping your business with its QuantumCloud solution?