We explore modern encryption methods and how they are a crucial part of blockchain protocols, as you may already know that cryptocurrencies are encrypted, but what does it mean exactly?


What is Encryption?

Encryption is the process of converting plain data into unreadable data. A readily understood plaintext is encrypted in a basic text encryption procedure, resulting in incomprehensible ciphertext.

Contrary to common assumption, most cryptocurrencies and their blockchain networks do not rely on encryption mechanisms. Instead, they rely on hash functions and digital signatures.

For example, the Bitcoin Protocol employs cryptographic proofs to safeguard the network and assure the legitimacy of each transaction. Digital signatures ensure that each user may only spend funds from his own wallet once.

Cryptocurrency websites, on the other hand, may utilize encryption to keep their clients' information secure. Encryption is also used by cryptocurrency wallets to safeguard wallet files and passwords.

Plaintext and Ciphertext

Plaintext is easily readable information, such as website text, program codes, or music files, that can be processed by humans or machines.

However, sensitive data, like account passwords, processed over the internet, is susceptible to theft since it's visible in plaintext. To maintain confidentiality, an additional security layer, encryption, is necessary.

Encryption involves converting plaintext into ciphertext, or unreadable encrypted data, using encryption algorithms or ciphers. The data can only be accessed and decrypted by authorized users, who can revert it back to plaintext.

Comparing Encryption and Decryption

Encryption is the conversion of plaintext to code, while Decryption is the conversion of coded text back to plaintext. Encryption occurs on the sender's end, while decryption occurs on the receiver's end.

The primary goal of encryption is to change a plain message into ciphertext, whereas decryption aims to convert ciphertext back into plain text. A message can be encrypted using either a public or private key, but it can only be decrypted using a private key.

Benefits of Encryption

When utilizing cryptocurrencies, encryption protects hackers from accessing data, enhances compliance, minimizes fraud, and makes it safer to transmit money online. This strategy is being used by numerous companies and people to protect sensitive data.

Encryption ensures the privacy of both organizations and people. They can communicate coded information over the internet while avoiding government scrutiny. Many of the world's largest corporations are presently utilizing this technology to safeguard client information.

Hackers will be unable to access a customer's sensitive data, such as credit card number or personal address, in the case of a data breach.

Which Encryption Method Does Blockchain Employ?

Data encryption can be achieved in three ways: Symmetric encryption, Asymmetric encryption, and Hashing.

Symmetric Encryption - A single key is used for both encryption and decryption in Symmetric encryption. It is also known as "secret-key encryption." The key can be referred to as a "common key," but this system has a higher risk of security breaches.

Asymmetric Encryption - Asymmetric encryption uses two keys, public and private. Bitcoin is an example of an asymmetric system where a private key generates a public key. Public key is used for encryption, whereas private key is used for decryption, and this encryption system is also known as "public-key encryption."

Hashing - Hashing does not use any keys. It uses an algorithm to generate a "hash value" based on the input text. Hash functions are considered to be highly secure as the hash value generated makes it almost impossible for users to recover the plaintext.

The technical process of hashing is complex and can be used for mining some cryptocurrencies. The hash rate represents the computational resources that contribute to the hashing process and higher hash rates usually indicate a more secure network.

The Bottom Line

In today's digital age, encryption is crucial to safeguard private information, messages, and financial transactions. It ensures the confidentiality of digital data stored in computer systems or sent over the internet. Blockchain technology's primary goal is to make data secure and immune to tampering. To achieve this objective, encryption and decryption algorithms play a critical role in making information transfer between senders and receivers anonymous.

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What is a Private Key?

What is a Private Key?

A private key, commonly known as a secret key, is a mathematical key used to generate digital signatures and, depending on the algorithm, to decrypt messages or files encrypted with the associated public key.