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Hash

A hash is a function that converts an input (or ‘message’) into a fixed-length string of bytes, which typically appears random. The output, often referred to as the hash value or hash code, is unique (ideally) to the given input. Even a small change in the input will produce a significantly different output.

Key Characteristics:

  1. Deterministic: For a given input, the output (hash value) will always be the same.
  2. Fast to Compute: For any given data, it should be quick to compute the hash value.
  3. Irreversible: It’s computationally infeasible to regenerate the original input value given the hash output. This property is crucial for security purposes.
  4. Collision-Resistant: Two different inputs should not produce the same output.
  5. Avalanche Effect: A tiny change in the input should produce such a drastic change in output that the new hash is unrecognizable from the original.

Common Uses in Cryptography:

  1. Data Integrity: By comparing hash values before and after data transfer, one can determine whether data has been tampered with.
  2. Password Storage: Storing the hash of a password rather than the password itself. When a user logs in, the system hashes the entered password and checks it against the stored hash.
  3. Digital Signatures: Hash functions are used in creating digital signatures, a way to verify the integrity and authenticity of a message.
  4. Cryptocurrency Mining: Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin use hash functions in the mining process. Miners must find an input that, when hashed, produces an output that meets certain criteria.

Examples of Hash Algorithms:

  1. MD5 (Message Digest Algorithm 5): Once widely used, but now considered broken and unsuitable for further use as it’s vulnerable to hash collisions.
  2. SHA-1 (Secure Hash Algorithm 1): Previously used in digital signatures and certificates. It’s now considered weak due to vulnerabilities.
  3. SHA-256: Part of the SHA-2 family, it’s currently considered secure and is used in Bitcoin’s blockchain.
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CryptoCurrencyUSDChange 1hChange 24hChange 7d
Bitcoin67,635 0.37 % 2.71 % 3.01 %
Litecoin85.94 0.30 % 0.70 % 4.73 %
XRP0.5300 0.00 % 0.22 % 2.58 %
Ethereum2,197.2 0.23 % 0.67 % 2.46 %
Dogecoin0.1548 0.37 % 0.09 % 7.69 %
Solana170.14 1.21 % 4.47 % 4.89 %
USDC1.000 0.10 % 0.02 % 0.08 %
Cardano0.2543 0.15 % 1.68 % 3.38 %
Tether0.9990 0.10 % 0.04 % 0.02 %
Binance Coin (Wormhole)222.47 0.38 % 4.71 % 3.08 %