Anyone with an interest in bitcoin will have heard the phrase ‘cryptographic hash function’ at some time or other. But what exactly does it mean, and how is it connected to cryptocurrency?
Hash functions are an essential part of, not only of the bitcoin protocol, but of information security as a whole.
In the following article we’ll take a look at some simple examples of how they work, with a simple demonstration, too.
What’s a hash function?
In the abstract, a hash function is a mathematical process that takes input data of any size, performs an operation on it, and returns output data of a fixed size.
In a more concrete example, this can be used to take a sequence of letters of any length as input – what we call a string – and return a sequence of letters of a fixed length. Whether the input string is a single letter, a word, a sentence, or an entire novel, the output – called the digest – will always be the same length.
A common use of this kind of hash function is to store passwords.
When you create a user account with any web service which requires a password,
Read more ... source: CoinDesk
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