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Today, U.K.-based post-quantum cryptography provider PQShield announced it had raised $20 million in series A funding to enhance product development and expand internationally.

The move comes amid growing concerns that quantum computers will eventually have the processing power to decode the encryption keys that uphold everything from bitcoin to secure applications, end-to-end messaging services, and even national intelligence.

While it will be years before quantum computers have the capacity to decode encryption keys, it’s enough of a concern that the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is developing a process for migrating to post-quantum cryptography.

Post-quantum cryptography security solutions like PQShield will offer technical decision-makers and organizations a future-proof encryption that can’t be easily broken by quantum computers.


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The need for post-quantum cryptography

As quantum computers develop, there is an emerging need for post-quantum cryptography to prevent these devices from having the ability to decrypt secure applications at will.

“Although today’s quantum computers lack the processing power to break through today’s cryptography, the technology is developing at pace. Intelligence agencies are concerned that, in the wrong hands, a powerful quantum computer could pose a devastating threat to global security. The question is not if, but when,” said PQShield’s CEO and founder Ali El Kaafarani.

“Today, virtually every organization, government, and device in the world relies on public-key cryptography that will be rendered useless by large-scale quantum computers. The vast processing power of quantum machines will easily solve the mathematical problems underpinning these public-key algorithms, putting sensitive information at risk,” he said.

That means a quantum computer used by a cyber gang or state-sponsored entity could run a mock hacking into systems, decrypting the encryption mechanisms used by entities such as collaboration platforms, government agencies, and national intelligence databases.

PQShield is addressing this challenge by developing secure cryptographic solutions for messaging platforms, apps, and mobile technologies, as well as smart cards and embedded security chips, to protect sensitive data from quantum computers.

A rising force in the post-quantum cryptography market

PQShield is part of the post-quantum cryptography market, which researchers estimate will reach a value of $9.5 billion by 2029 as web browsers replace RSA, ECC, and Diffie-Hellman algorithms with PQC encryption, and as more PQC-as-a-service offerings enter the market.

One of PQShield’s competitors is KETS Quantum Security, which designs quantum-safe communications solutions and recently became part of a £9 million ($12.1 million USD) Data Centre of the Future project designed to fund quantum industrial development in the UK.

Another competitor is Crypto Labs, which recently developed the world’s first space compliant Quantum Random Number Generator to securely encrypt satellite data, after raising £5.5 million ($7.4 million USD) in seed funding the year before.

However, Kaafarani believes that PQShield’s quantum solution stands out from the crowd as a demonstrated quantum-safe cryptography solution.

“With roots in Oxford University’s Mathematical Institute, PQShield is the only cybersecurity company that can demonstrate quantum-safe cryptography on chips, in applications, and in the cloud, by providing ready-made and tailored cryptographic IP secure elements, IoT firmware, public key infrastructure (PKI), server technologies, and end-user applications,” Kaafarani said.

Addition led the funding round for PQShield with participation from investors including Oxford Science Enterprises and Crane.

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