If there are two things that differentiate blockchain from any other technology is the use of cryptography and of specific protocols.
If you want to give a step closer to understanding blockchain, keep reading what Mickael Mosse describe to us about these two concepts.
Cryptography in blockchain.
Mickael Mosse starts: “Blockchain is composed of blocks of information that are linked to each other using cryptography”.
Cryptography is the practice of keeping secret the important information. “Presently, we have big technological advances in cryptography and computers are capable of producing algorithms that consist of mathematical calculations”, says Mickael.
So encryption technology has a core role in blockchain in order to keep the information about the users and the transactions anonymous and secure.
The way algorithms do this encrypting is mixing three types of cryptography:
- One is symmetric-key cryptography. Where the same key is used to encrypt and decrypt.
- Another one is asymmetric cryptography, where the encryption and decryption key are different and are called public key and private key.
- And the last one is hash functions, where a hash value is generated of a fixed length from the plaintext and its contents are impossible to be recovered by the ciphertext.
So, cryptography not only is the basis of blockchain, keeping secure the data transmitted and used, but also ensure data consistency since, thanks to the use of certain decryption methods, all nodes must reach the same result.
Protocols in blockchain.
Since blockchain is a type of technology in which data is transmitted, the set of rules or procedures that dictate how the data is structured and transferred between two points or devices is called protocol.
Mickael Mosse affirms that the first application of blockchain technology was Bitcoin. The reason why Bitcoin was born is that its creators wanted a new financial system that was virtual and didn’t need intermediaries or hierarchy to make decisions. So, bitcoin protocol has specific characteristics like being a permission-less blockchain where anyone can join, transactions are not-reversible and don’t need intermediaries, every node has the complete information of the blockchain, and when making a transaction, the majority of the nodes must approve it; this last feature makes the network secure.
However, says Mickael Mosse, other blockchain applications are being created and they use protocols that are different from Bitcoin. For example, Ethereum, was made to be a platform for developers to create their own blockchain projects including cryptocurrencies. Ethereum uses smart contracts which are pieces of code that allow the executions of tasks and the transfer of crypto tokens when requirements are fulfilled.
Each use of blockchain technology has their own protocols and use cryptography in a specific way. That’s why these two components, even though different in each application, are the main features of blockchain technology, concludes Mickael Mosse.