How Cryptography Works in Crypto

Discover the intricate workings of cryptography in crypto, from securing transactions to controlling the amount of issued tokens.

Cryptocurrencies have revolutionized the financial world and have brought about a new era of digital money. Central to this revolution is the science of cryptography, a complex system of securing and verifying transactions that make cryptocurrencies possible. This article will delve into how cryptography works in crypto.

What is Cryptography?

Cryptography is the practice and study of secure communication techniques in the presence of third parties. It involves creating written or generated codes that allow information to be kept secret. Cryptography converts data into a format that is unreadable for an unauthorized user, allowing it to be transmitted without unauthorized entities decoding it back into a readable format.

The Role of Cryptography in Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies rely on cryptography in two fundamental ways: securing transactions and controlling the creation of additional units. Let’s break down how cryptography works in crypto in each of these aspects.

Transaction Security

The primary function of cryptography in cryptocurrencies is to secure transactions. Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, are essentially digital ledgers of transactions. This ledger is stored on a network of computers (known as nodes), creating a decentralized network.

In order to secure these transactions, they are encrypted. This is where the ‘crypto’ in cryptocurrency comes from. Cryptography ensures that transaction data is not tampered with, as each transaction is signed cryptographically before it is added to the blockchain.

Control of Additional Units

Another crucial aspect of how cryptography works in crypto is controlling the creation of additional units of the currency. In the case of Bitcoin, this is achieved through a process known as mining, which involves solving complex cryptographic puzzles.

How cryptography works in crypto

Key Cryptographic Concepts in Cryptocurrencies

There are several cryptographic concepts that are fundamental to the operation of cryptocurrencies. The most significant of these are cryptographic hash functions, public-key cryptography, and digital signatures.

Cryptographic Hash Functions

A hash function is a type of cryptographic function that takes an input and returns a fixed-size string of bytes. The output, or hash, typically looks random and changing even a small part of the input will produce a completely different output.

In cryptocurrencies, hash functions are used in the mining process. They are used to write new transactions into the blockchain through the mining process.

Public-Key Cryptography

Public-key cryptography, or asymmetric cryptography, is a cryptographic system that uses pairs of keys: public keys and private keys. The public key is used to encrypt plaintext or to verify a digital signature; whereas the private key is used to decrypt ciphertext or to create a digital signature.

This system is fundamental to cryptocurrencies. Each user has a private key and a public key. The public key is used to create the user’s wallet address, and the private key is used to sign transactions.

Digital Signatures

Digital signatures are a type of cryptographic tool that make it possible for someone to prove their identity digitally. In cryptocurrencies, they are used to confirm that a transaction has come from a particular user.

When a user sends a cryptocurrency, they sign the transaction with their private key. This signature can be verified by others using the sender’s public key. This verifies that the transaction came from the owner of the wallet and that it has not been tampered with since it was signed.


Understanding how cryptography works in crypto is crucial for understanding how cryptocurrencies function. Cryptography is the backbone of cryptocurrencies, providing security and integrity to the decentralized nature of the blockchain. From securing transactions to controlling the creation of new units, the application of cryptographic concepts ensures that cryptocurrencies are secure and trustworthy.

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