Blockchain is a peer-to-peer network used to secure transactions by recording transaction information in a manner that is hard to modify or break into. Cryptography is based on the transmission of secure information from one point to the next and is, therefore, a vital part of Blockchain. Its secure nature makes it ideal for linking blockchain records. This is achieved through protocols that keep third parties from accessing vital information.
Various aspects come together to make cryptography possible. Encryption converts plain texts to a scrambled and unreadable text format, usually bits in a random sequence called ciphertext. The reversal of this process is referred to as decryption. A mathematical algorithm, referred to as the cipher, converts the plain text to ciphertext and back. A key made up of a small amount of information is usually used to trigger the algorithm to unlock encrypted information.
There are 3 possible approaches to cryptography for blockchain. Symmetric- Key Cryptography (Secret) uses one key to encrypt as well as decrypt data. This type of cryptography often requires the continued transfer of the key back and forth between the communicating parties. Asymmetric key cryptography (public) makes use of a pair of keys generated by the algorithm. Hash function cryptography eliminates the need for keys by using a cipher to convert plain text to ciphertext. The hash value used is keyless and may not be recovered from the available text. It would be commendable to note that Blockchain mostly utilizes hash function and asymmetric cryptography.
Hash functions make it possible for every participant to get a single view of the blockchain. The most commonly used hash function algorithm is the SHA-256. These functions also bring about a cascading effect where any updates to blockchain data significantly transform the output. Each input results in a unique output, which remains the same any time the function is applied to this input. Output is typically quick, adding to its value.
The entire process may not be reversed even when one has a hash function and the output. Cryptography ensures that blockchain data remains secure and may not be compromised. A slight alteration in block data would invalidate the entire blockchain as the hash value changes.
Asymmetric key cryptography utilizes two separate keys, public and private, which are transferable even on unsecured channels. Digital signatures are used to guarantee the integrity of this method. It would be good to keep the encryption algorithm secure during transmission.
Cryptography has made it possible for Blockchain to become applicable to many fields. Cryptocurrency, in particular, has benefited from cryptography in blockchains. It goes a long way in ensuring the integrity of transactions by verifying and authorizing transactions.
Blockchain has received great innovative efforts over the past few years. It has become a key focus area for many industries, given its visible benefits. Cryptography is the core of this technology and shares in its advancement. The field is quite viable and ever-growing, with endless protected possibilities.
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