A deep dive into Cryptographic Technologies in Blockchain :
Blockchain technology has helped advance secure, transparent, and decentralized recording. It integrates modern crypto technology such as cryptography, smart contracts, and peer-to-peer (P2P) technology to promote digital currency. This article will provide an in-depth explanation of cryptographic technologies and how it is applied in the blockchain.
What are Cryptographic Technologies in Blockchain?
Cryptography refers to the study of secure communications techniques that ensure a message’s secrecy and authenticity by allowing only the sender and recipient to view its contents. Cryptography is concerned with providing certain information over systems and network communications. A blockchain stores information in blocks securely linked together via cryptographic hashes.
Cryptographic technologies hold the most central position in a decentralized system like blockchain. Even the term “Cryptocurrency” was influenced by the intensive cryptographic processes in a blockchain. Cryptographic technologies protect user privacy and transaction information, ensure data consistency, etc.
Major Cryptographic Technologies in Blockchain
- Hash Functions
A cryptographic hash function involves a mathematical algorithm that programs the hash value of the supplied data. The hash function produces a different output called the hash value if there is any change in the data, even by one binary digit. Hashing algorithms are also called one-way hashes because the hash value cannot disclose the original data that was hashed. The algorithm obscures data to make it unreadable. It is important to note that hash functions do not encrypt or decrypt messages. Still, they are indispensable for checking data integrity. They are used to verify data that has been illegally altered. In addition, hash functions are usually applied to other areas related to information protection; that is, they are used to detect corrupted data, the presence of viruses, and so on.
Hashing is also one of the steps in creating a digital signature. The cryptographic hash function issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is the SHA, and Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 cryptographic hash function.
- Asymmetric Encryption
The core technologies of cryptography are symmetric encryption and asymmetric encryption. In symmetric cryptography, both nodes share the same key to encrypt and decrypt. It was the first key cryptography used in a blockchain network. However, due to its shortcomings, a new technique called asymmetric key cryptography is now used.
Asymmetric encryption uses two keys for a node to carry out its function. These keys are the private key, which is kept secret, and the public key, known to all. They work together, therefore, always exist in a pair, as the private key can decrypt any message encrypted by the public key. Asymmetric key cryptography is used to encrypt data and ensure the confidentiality of communications. RSA is one of the most common and most used asymmetric encryption.
- Digital Signatures
Digital signatures are used for data authentication, integrity, and nonrepudiation by digitally “signing” data to assure that the message sender is genuine, and the message is unchanged. The digital signature system comprises a signature algorithm or key that is kept secret and a verification algorithm or key that is made public. Digital signatures are primarily contractual agreements for digital certificates and business transactions. The signature algorithm Bitcoin uses is the ECDSA algorithm.