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Explaining The Role Of Cryptographic Algorithms In Blockchain Technology
In Short By CryptoExist
With Technological advancements increasing, many technologies are taking root for better systems. Among these, Blockchain is one of the most revolutionary technology that has emerged in recent years.
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With technological advancements increasing, many technologies are taking root for better systems. Among these, Blockchain is one of the most revolutionary technologies that has emerged in recent years. Greatly, due to its reliability. A blockchain gets its reliability through the complex cryptographic algorithms that run behind the scenes. In this article, we will take a look at what are cryptographic algorithms in the blockchain, the types of cryptographic algorithms, how they work and many more. So, let’s dive in.
What is Cryptography
Cryptography is the practice of techniques, used for securely communicating information in the form of codes and cyphers. The mathematical functions that use the principles of cryptography are called cryptographic algorithms. It’s worth noting that Cryptographic algorithms or Cryptography have been used for thousands of years.
Civilizations like the Egyptians, Romans and many others used cryptography to send and receive confidential messages. Pictures, numbers and even materials were used. With time, as technology evolved, Cryptography underwent a continuous change and evolved to be more precise, secure and accurate.
Today, Cryptography includes complex mathematical algorithms, sophisticated codes, networks and machines. It’s also one of the core components of a blockchain. Blockchain is a digital public ledger used in cryptocurrency (find out more). So what exactly are cryptographic algorithms in a blockchain? Let’s take a look:
What Are Cryptographic Algorithms In A Blockchain
These algorithms are complex mathematical algorithms that are used to secure the data stored in a blockchain and verify the authenticity of transactions. In Blockchain, cryptography is used to secure each block. When a new block is added to the blockchain, a cryptographic hash function encrypts the blocks and creates a unique hash. This hash is a unique fingerprint for the block, which is used to verify the authenticity of the data in the block. This, in turn, helps to run the Blockchain.
How It Works In A Blockchain
The cryptographic algorithm takes the input, processes it and gives the output in a 256-bit long Hash. The input that goes into the algorithm consists of the Block number (number of the block in the blockchain), Nonce, a nonce is a 34-bit number that is used as a base to calculate a hash. Also, the block contains the transaction data.
After the input is given to the algorithm, the algorithm hashes the input using the SHA-256 hash function and outputs a hash. The hash is a 256-character-long alphanumeric code, after hashing, the previous block hash is stored in the current block along with the current hash. The key feature of the algorithm is, it’s deterministic.
Meaning, it yields the same output every time given the exact input is given in the algorithm. Even the slightest change in the input will yield a completely different hash output. Hence, every unique block has a unique hash. Moreover, once the hash output is created, it’s irreversible, there’s no way to decrypt the hash back to the component data from which it was created.
Several Types of Cryptographic Protocols Used In Blockchain:
1. Public-key cryptography (also known as Asymmetric cryptography): It uses a public key and a private key to create digital signatures. These digital signatures are used to verify the legitimacy of the transactions. The public key is used to encrypt the data and the private key is used to decrypt the data.
2. Hash functions: These are complex mathematical functions which assign a unique hash to each block of transactions. The hash function uses the SHA-256 hashing technique to convert the given input (block number, nonce, transaction data) into a 256-bit Hash. This hash is unique to each block in the blockchain, like a fingerprint. The hash is also to connect hash to each other in the blockchain.
3. Symmetric-Key Cryptography: It is mainly used to encrypt the block data before it is added to the blockchain. This technique uses a single key to encrypt and decrypt the data. The key is shared with the sender and receiver of the encrypted data. When the sender wants to send data, they use the key to encrypt the data. The receiver then uses the same key to decrypt the received data and view the original message.
4. Zero-Knowledge Proof: In this technique, one sends the relevant information to the sender, in a way, without actually revealing the information. This technique is used to ensure the transaction’s privacy.
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Techniques Used By Cryptography
Cryptography can include the implementation of various techniques. They all differ in the way they are implemented, their features and the purpose they are used for. Some of the techniques are:
1. Digital Signatures: This technique involves a private key and a public key. The private key is used to create a digital signature that is assigned to a message or document. The public key is then used to verify the digital signature for the authenticity of the message or document. This type of cryptography is used by the Government, legal offices, the healthcare sector etc.
2. Encryption: The process includes the conversion of plain text into cypher text. This cypher text can only be decrypted by a special key or password. It’s used to secure data at rest and prevent it from getting unauthorized access and tampering. It is being used in banking transactions, e-commerce transactions, computer passwords etc.
3. Key Exchange: It involves securely exchanging a key between two parties. In this way, a private and secure is established. Used in online Private meetings platform and so on.
4. Hashing: In this, the data is taken as an input and complex mathematical functions (algorithms) are used to turn the given data into a hash output. This technique is deterministic, meaning the same input always yields the same output. Even a slight change in input data yields a completely different output. Once the data is hashed, it cannot be decrypted back to the original data. It is most commonly used in Cryptocurrency Blockchain Technology, programming etc.
5. Steganography: It is a practice of hiding meaningful data in another piece of data, such as an image, audio or video file. Steganography prevents the hidden data being detected. It’s possibly used by the military to send and receive data without letting the enemy know
6. Tokenization: It is replacing sensitive data with an equal non-sensitive data. This non-sensitive is a Token. However, the token as a whole has no meaningful value and cannot be used to create back the data. This type of technique is used to secure payment information from possible data breaches or malware.
Usage Of Cryptography In Real World:
1. E-commerce: To secure online payment information of users and safeguard against potential fraud.
2. Mobile phone networks: To secure calls, messages and operations from malicious malware and apps.
3. Online banking: Online transactions, user data and passwords are secured using complex cryptographic algorithms.
4. Cloud storage: Thousands of gigabytes of data are stored, accessed, and sent using cryptography.
5. Internet of thing (IoT): IoT devices use cryptography to communicate and coordinate, safeguarding against possible hacks and cyber threats.
In conclusion, Cryptography is an essential element of modern communication systems and is used to ensure the security, reliability, and authenticity of huge data. It is used in a wide range of applications, and its importance is likely to continue to grow as we become more reliant on digital communication and data.