What is a Hash - Cryptocurrency Wiki




What is a Hash? (Crypto Wiki)




A Hash is a type of algorithm used commonly in cryptography.   Most cryptocurrencies use Hashs from the SHA family.  SHA standing for Secure Hash Algorithm.

What a Hash does is take data from a source (an input) and produces an output of data of a different size.   It is a function that is used to map data of an arbitary size to return data of a fixed size.  They can be used in hash tables to map text to numeric table indices.

Cryptoresearchers / Mathematicians, Government Agencies and Programmers.have began finding and creating Hash Algorithms to encrypt information.  There are various desired attributes for a Hashing Algorithm in terms of encryption or cryptocurrency.

1) Deterministic - One leads clear to the other.
2) Fast - Easy to use if both values known to user.
2) Irreversible -  Resistant to Brute Strength attacks of computers.
2) Avalanche Effect -Small change in Input results in large change of Output
3) Collision resistant - Different Inputs do not arrive at same Output.  Each time this occures it is called a Collision and is a sign of weakness in the Algorithm.




Hashing Algorithms have become targets for vigorous attempts to break by researchers and hackers.  Once a hashing is revealed to have a flaw agencies and companies often move up to a more complex hashing.    SHA-1 for example has been revealed to have collisions and many institutions are moving off of it and onto SHA-2 family set of Hashings.

Example of Hashing in practice:

Looking at SHA1 for an example of how hashings work.   An original message is converted using SHA-1 into a Hexadecimal code, and then into a Binary code.  Notice the large change in the Binary codes between the two examples for a small change in the original sentence.  This is called the Avalanche effect and is desired.  It makes it nearly impossible to calculate the original message based off of the output.

From SHA-1 Wiki at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SHA-1
Example A:
SHA1("The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog")
gives hexadecimal: 2fd4e1c67a2d28fced849ee1bb76e7391b93eb12
gives Base64 binary to ASCII text encoding: L9ThxnotKPzthJ7hu3bnORuT6xI=
Example B - Note only change in source was the D to a C.  However change in end result was very large.
SHA1("The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy cog")
gives hexadecimal: de9f2c7fd25e1b3afad3e85a0bd17d9b100db4b3
gives Base64 binary to ASCII text encoding: 3p8sf9JeGzr60+haC9F9mxANtLM=

In terms of how this is used for cryptocurrency consider that the Source is your private Key and the Output is the Public Key.

Users can send money and highlight your public key for transactions but they can not guess or hack your private key easily.  Due to the great fluctuation in the SHA algorithm.   It takes a great deal of computing power and time to over power a SHA algorithm using a brute force method.

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