Crypto Glossary

Posted on September 13, 2021 in
Glossary

Public Key

Users can receive cryptocurrency into their accounts by using a public key, which is a sort of cryptographic code in and of itself. It is necessary to have both a public key and a private key to ensure the security of the crypto-economic system in which we currently live.

What is a public key?

The public key is a one-of-a-kind personal address that is shared among all participants on the blockchain. Unreadable messages are converted into unreadable formats using a public key, which is a cryptographic code generated by asymmetric-key encryption techniques and used to encrypt messages. Because the Bitcoin public key consists of an incredibly large string of digits, it is compressed and truncated to generate the public address in the Bitcoin protocol. The private key can be used to recreate the public key if the owner’s public key is lost or misplaced.

Key Cryptography

The term “cryptography” has Greek origins, and it was originally meant to be a secret communication. Over time, cryptography progressed from the authoring and decoding of classified messages by intelligence agencies and the military to becoming a distinct discipline of computer science in its own right. Similar to the internet, the beginnings of cryptocurrencies can be traced back to academic and military applications, which then spread to the commercial sector as the technology gained popularity.

By utilizing asymmetric encryption, public-key cryptography (PKC) can be used to confirm the authenticity of a piece of information. PKC was developed primarily to encrypt and decrypt messages. This technology is now being used by cryptocurrencies to encrypt and decrypt transactions. Cryptocurrencies would not be viable without public-key cryptography (PKC). 

It is trapdoor functions that are the key to PKC. These are one-way mathematical functions that are easy to solve in one direction but nearly impossible to crack in the opposite direction. While it is conceivable to reverse engineer these functions, it would most likely take a supercomputer — and thousands of years — to accomplish this.

When a user makes his or her first transaction with Bitcoin or an altcoin, a unique combination of a public key and a private key is produced in the user’s digital wallet. In the digital environment, each key consists of a long string of alphanumeric letters that work together to keep a user’s assets safe.

Public keys

The public key consists of a string of 26 to 34 letters and digits that are derived from the private key. For visual clarity and fraud protection, the following letters are removed from the set: “O”, “0”, “I”, and “l” 

When referring to the public and private keys for Bitcoin addresses, people commonly say that a public key is 1 and that a private key is used to unlock the associated assets. A distinct version of the multi-signature public key, also known as multi-signature, starts with the number 3 and requires the submission of more than one private key to access the funds.

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