Since its inception, Bitcoin has been considered unhackable, but the secret to its robust security is none other than the SHA-256. The SHA-256 is a hashing algorithm that helps make the Bitcoin Blockchain a hard nut to crack. Want to know more about SHA-256 and its purpose? Let’s dive deeper.
SHA-256 And Digital Fingerprints
Also known as Secure Hash Algorithm 256-bit, SHA is a unique cryptographic hash system that secures data of any level by producing a fixed-sized result of 256-bit. The purpose of a hash function is to help create a digital fingerprint of the input data.
The fingerprints are used to verify the validity of the input data or to ensure that no information has been compromised. Hence, the hash value will also differ if there is a slight change to the original data.
Furthermore, the SHA-256 algorithm is highly secured due to its resistance to collision attacks. Finding different input values that produce the same hashing result will take time.
This technology is widely deployed in applications like digital signatures, blockchain protocols, and password storage to boost data security and integrity.
The Foundation Of Bitcoin Mining
The 256-bit algorithm is a vital part of Bitcoin blockchain security. It is useful for building the proof-of-work algorithm and essential in adding and verifying new blocks to the blockchain.
By adding new blocks, Bitcoin miners compete among themselves to solve complex mathematical puzzles by continuously hashing a block of Bitcoin transactions with the algorithm. The miner who solves the mystery and finds the correct hash value is rewarded with BTC tokens and permitted to add more blocks to the Bitcoin blockchain.
However, the difficulty level of the mathematical puzzle is regularly adjusted to ensure new blocks are added frequently. Thus, deploying the SHA-256 to add and verify new blocks to the blockchain makes the Bitcoin network more secure and harder to compromise.
Apart from this, the SHA-256 also produces a different hash value for each block. As a result, any attempt to tamper with the block would require another round of calculation for the hash value and the hashes of all accompanying blocks on the protocol.
This process makes it extremely difficult and expensive to breach the blockchain because it would require massive computational powers to recalculate all hashes in a particular chain.
Is Quantum Computing A Threat To Bitcoin?
Recently, several claims have been made that Bitcoin is already at its most vulnerable moment because quantum computing can alter the SHA-256 ecosystem. However, some experts consider the claim purely theoretical, as no further insights show it’s true.
It is worth noting that quantum computing functions differently from classical computing as it utilizes quantum bits, which can also be in numerous stages. Consequently, quantum computers can be able to carry out specific computing tasks in a faster manner than classical ones.
This explains why one of the potential applications of quantum computing is breaking into cryptographic algorithms like SHA-256. Moreover, quantum computing with the power to hack into the SHA-256 ecosystem does not exist.
But observers believe such quantum computers are still in the early stage of development. Thus, they will require millions of qubits or bits and a stable quantum platform to perform the needed calculations.
For that, skeptics doubt if an entity with such a super-computer would spend time hacking a Bitcoin blockchain when they can easily infiltrate an opposing government communication system. Apart from this, researchers are reportedly developing new cryptographic algorithm models resistant to quantum computer hacks.
The new algorithm is known as post-quantum cryptography. It is believed that even if a powerful quantum computer is created to hack the Bitcoin blockchain, other cryptographic algorithms can safeguard the security of protocols relying on the SHA-256.
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