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Teleporting What Matters

One small step for an atom, but a giant leap for quantum computing

3 min read

In the common parlance of science fiction and quack spiritualism, teleportation means moving a person or an object by means of some mysterious, magical energy. In quantum communications and computing, it refers to transferring the state of one atomic or subatomic particle to another over a distance and without direct physical contact. Those states--say, the energy levels of the electrons around a nucleus--can be used like the on-off states of transistors, to encode information and do computation.

But, because in the weird world of quantum physics atoms and particles can exist in two different states simultaneously, with a single state manifesting itself only upon measurement, computers storing data as quantum states can calculate along many parallel paths simultaneously. In a flash they could solve intractable problems, such as the factoring of large numbers, which is essential to electronic cryptography. What's more, particles can be "entangled," so that when one is observed, fixing it into a particular state, the other is instantaneously fixed into a related state, whether the particles are separated by micrometers or light-years. Einstein famously called it "spooky action at a distance."

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The Spectacular Collapse of CryptoKitties, the First Big Blockchain Game

A cautionary tale of NFTs, Ethereum, and cryptocurrency security

8 min read
Mountains and cresting waves made of cartoon cats and large green coins.
Frank Stockton

On 4 September 2018, someone known only as Rabono bought an angry cartoon cat named Dragon for 600 ether—an amount of Ethereum cryptocurrency worth about US $170,000 at the time, or $745,000 at the cryptocurrency’s value in July 2022.

It was by far the highest transaction yet for a nonfungible token (NFT), the then-new concept of a unique digital asset. And it was a headline-grabbing opportunity for CryptoKitties, the world’s first blockchain gaming hit. But the sky-high transaction obscured a more difficult truth: CryptoKitties was dying, and it had been for some time.

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