What drives Distributive Data
Blockchain technology is at the center of Distributive Data. In the simplest terms Blockchain is a secure database. It encrypts and records data onto a ledger that is distributed across a network of many computers. While the most popular application of blockchain is arguably the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, Blockchain is actually a much more robust technology which is already being used to improve data integrity, availability, and confidentiality in the finance, supply chain and medical industries.
Data Encryption is at the center of Blockchain, so a basic knowledge of it is required to understand blockchain technology. Historically, encryption was only applied to messages, but now it touches every type of media including text, audio, video and images. Although there are many forms of encryption, we’ll be focused on one of the two technologies primarily used by blockchain.
What is Public Key Cryptography
Public Key Cryptography uses a public key to convert data into random-looking numbers that can only be decrypted with a paired
private key. To better illustrate this, we’ll use a real-world example. Say Alice and Bob want to send sensitive files to each other, but they need to make sure the information is secure. To do this, Alice and Bob will use Public-key Cryptography to generate two large prime numbers, called a key pair:
• A Public Key creates digital signatures on file requests.
• A Private Key then decrypts the files once received.
Alice and Bob’s keys are generated simultaneously and are mathematically derived from each other with a function that is easy to perform in one direction (encryption), but difficult to undo (decryption). This structure is called a trapdoor function. In practice, it simply means Alice’s public key can be derived from the private key, but not vice versa, making it safe to share the public key as a means of identification on the network without compromising the private key.
Alice requests a file from Bob using her public key. Bob uses Alice’s public key and the trapdoor function to convert the file into a string of random-looking numbers and return them to Allice. Her private key is the only thing that can convert the jumble of numbers back into the original file.
It would take the strongest computer trillions of years to crack the private key…
Currently, there are several public-key cryptography algorithms that are trusted by the security community, with notable examples being RSA and ECC.
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