Cryptography by definition is the art of solving or writing codes. Within the information technology world cryptography represents the securing of information and or communication. Cryptography utilises techniques that have origins in mathematics and algorithms that re-organize messages in order to make them practically impossible to decipher. The original use cases include but were not limited to: creating cryptographic credit card transactions, anonymous web browsing, email and digital signatures.
Bitcoin has taken this relatively old technology and utilized it in order to stop double spending of blockchain or cryptocurrency funds. Furthermore the cryptography stops other people from accessing your cryptocurrency or Bitcoin wallet/s, enables encrypted transactions, prevent sthe corruption of the blockchain itself and encrypts a wallet so only the person with the password (private key) has access. These are the main uses of cryptography when it comes to Bitcoin bar a few other use cases.
Cryptography has four main elements which I will list here:
- Integrity – The integrity of cryptography comes from the fact that the sender of the cryptographed information or encrypted information to the receiver of that information cannot be modified without the information transaction failing due to interruption or detection of the integrity of the file.
- Non-repudiation – This refers to the fact an author of the transaction of information cannot dispute the validity of the associated transaction of information due to the fact that it has been authenticated using a digital signature and at the time of transaction became legally bound.
- Authentication – Both the sender of the information and the receiver can both authenticate trustlessly the origin of the information and the destination the information will go due to the cryptographic nature of the encrypted addresses. This can also be done anonymously but still be proven from which digital signature to which digital signature the transaction of information occurred.
- Confidentiality or Anonymity – The information transacted cannot be read by any third party or person the information was not intended for and can therefore be used without the need for trust.
Summing up, Cryptography is a key element in the whole Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Crypto ecosystem. In fact it would arguably be one of the most important key elements alongside decentralisation via blockchain technology.