Bitcoin uses a hashing algorithm called SHA-256. This algorithm is a one-way function that takes an input of any size and produces an output of fixed size.
The output of the SHA-256 algorithm is known as a hash.
A hash is like a fingerprint for a piece of data. It is a unique identifier that can be used to verify the integrity of the data.
When data is hashed, it cannot be reversed to get the original data back. This is why hashes are used to verify data.
If even one character in the original data is changed, the hash will be different. This means that hashes can be used to check if data has been tampered with.
Bitcoin uses SHA-256 because it is a well-tested and secure hashing algorithm. It has been used in other cryptocurrencies as well, such as Litecoin and Dogecoin.
The SHA-256 algorithm produces a 64-character hash. This may seem like a lot, but it is actually quite short compared to other hashing algorithms.
For example, the MD5 algorithm produces a 128-character hash.
The shorter length of the Bitcoin hash makes it easier to store and transmit. It also makes it more resistant to brute force attacks, which are attempts to guess the original data by trying every possible combination until the correct one is found.
The downside of using a shorter hash is that it is slightly less secure than a longer one. However, the security provided by SHA-256 is more than adequate for Bitcoin’s needs.