Strong Support for Quantum-Safe Technology Development in France to Drive Global Industry Leadership

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By Michela Menting | 2Q 2024 | IN-7362

The French government’s France 2030 plan advances quantum-safe technology projects with support from global leaders in the digital security space such as IDEMIA and Thales. This investment drive is likely to push France as a leader in the quantum-safe technologies and Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC) space.

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IDEMIA Secure Transactions Announces Hyperform Consortium Project


A recent announcement by IDEMA Secure Transactions revealed the players involved with Hyperform, a recently launched consortium focused on quantum-safe technologies. The Hyperform project aims to develop PQC to secure data in the cloud, notably around online storage, archiving, and collaboration. One of the work plans is to develop a quantum-safe chipset and supporting cryptographic libraries that can secure payment transactions and identity document reading. IDEMIA is leading the project and is joined by a number of other French security and PQC companies, as well as INRIA, the French national institute for digital science and technology, and ANSSI, the country’s national cybersecurity agency.

French Industry Titans Take the Lead on PQC with Government Support


Hyperform is likely to be a successful project, not just because of the quality of the companies involved, but because it is also part of a larger effort by the French government launched in 2021 named France 2030, which is essentially a €54-billion-dollar investment drive aimed at boosting French market competitiveness. It plans to achieve this by injecting funding into projects run by companies that are focused on innovative technologies and sustainable development.

Quantum-safe technologies are a key tenet of the plan; €1 billion has been earmarked for quantum technologies, in general, and €350 million has already been spent. It has strong support from ANSSI (as well as the European Union (EU)). A number of PQC projects have since emerged, spearheaded by leaders in the digital security space in France, in partnership with PQC-focused startups, French universities, and government agencies (including DGA, INRIA, and CNRS). These include:

  • Post-Quantum-TLS: An HTTPS solution (Thales, CryptoExperts, CryptoNext Security)
  • RESQUE: A Virtual Private Network (VPN) with a Hardware Security Module (HSM) (Thales, TheGreenBox, CryptoExperts, CryptoNext Security)— €6 million in funding
  • Hyperform: Sovereign encryption software for cloud data storage, document archiving, and online collaboration (IDEMIA Secure Transactions, CryptoNext Security, PRIM’X, Atempo, Synacktiv, CEA Leti)—€7.5 million in funding
  • µPQRS: a RISC-V microprocessor (Eviden, Tiempo Secure)—€10 million in funding
  • X7-PQC: Focused on Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) and Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) (HENSOLDT, Secure-IC)

With strong government backing and investment in project development by digital security leaders, coupled with excellent university research programs and the input of national agencies, the various PQC projects are very likely to successfully achieve their project goals and make a global impact.

The Race to Quantum Supremacy Must Not Forget Quantum Security


From a quantum perspective, investment coming from France 2030 is reinforced by the national quantum strategy, and the drive toward quantum supremacy. The country already boasts some significant global players in the digital security spaces, such as IDEMIA and Thales, and a number of successful PQC startups like CryptoNext Security and CryptoExperts, all of which have participated in the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) PQC standardization process over the years.

However, France is not the only country where the government is investing heavily in quantum. The United Kingdom announced £2.5 billion in 2023 for developing quantum technologies. Germany has about €3 billion planned, and South Korea, Canada, the Netherlands, Russia, and Japan all have between €1 billion and €3 billion set aside for quantum technologies. The United States is investing about US$$1 billion a year in quantum technologies, the EU €7+ billion, and China tops the lot with US$15 billion.

However, quantum-safe technologies are only one part of that investment, and France is leading the pack in that particular focus. The fact that the country already boasts strong international players in digital security is a significant advantage for leading on the quantum-safe technologies front. With support from government agencies and elite universities, France is poised to present successful commercial solutions to the market in the near future, propelling the French industry to the forefront of the quantum-safe market. For companies in France, the France 2030 plan is an opportunity to bring to market ideas that may not otherwise have found support in the quantum-safe space.



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