Sha256 vs. Scrypt

Sha256 vs. Scrypt

Blockchain technology has completely redefined the concept of storing data. But what makes it such a viable option? A process called “Hashing” pulls all the strings. Suppose, you have a large or small amount of data you want to store. It can get quite arduous to take all the data at once.

What hashing algorithms do is they take inputs of any lengths and return an output of a fixed length. Therefore, everything is sorted out. Sha256 and Scrypt are two of the most prominent hashing tools out there. 

About Sha256

Sha256 is a cryptographic hash that is unique because of its 256 bits storage system. So, here’s how it works. No matter how big or small your input is, Sha256 will give an output of 256 bits.

It’s crucial because most data that we work on are lengthy and recognizing them can be a hassle. Sha256 makes the process much easier. You just need to remember the hash rather than spending hours memorizing the whole code. It’s like a digital signature that opens the room for your valuable data.

About Scrypt

Scrypt was initially designed for Litecoins. But its main goal is to prevent large-scale hardware attacks. Since its inception, it has developed certain algorithms that block all attacks. This article's  about Sha256 vs. Scrypt comparison.

Scrypt is highly memory intensive but this is the reason why it’s so safe. It equips most of the space so that hackers can’t breach it. The block and digest sizes in Scrypt are variables. Most blockchains with versatile coin range use Scrypt because of their high-level security.

Common Features

Both these hashes are bound to have some similar features. That’s why they are considered rivals. Here are some of the properties of the two hash functions that set them apart from all the other similar hashes out there.

Deterministic

This is the very reason why blockchains are garnering so much attention nowadays. Hash technologies like Sha256 and Scrypt have a distinct deterministic function. No matter how many times you input the same data, the result will always be the same hash. 

This is very important. If you get different outcomes every time, it will be impossible to keep track of everything. Data will get scattered all over the place. That’s why this feature makes the whole operation up and running. 

Quick Computation

Both of these have a  quick computation program. This means how fast they come with a viable outcome. Sha256 and Scrypt return the hash of output at a fairly fast rate. 

If the process was slow and took a lot of unnecessary time, the system won’t be efficient. Efficiency is the key in blockchains as millions of blocks keep on adding. Therefore, if a single block takes a millisecond more time than usual, it can result in major malfunction and ultimately lead to a complete disaster. 

Pre Image Resistance

Imagine a scenario. You are sitting beneath a peach tree and suddenly notice a peach is gradually falling to the ground. You can safely guess that the peach will hit the ground. There’s no chance it will go up defying the rules of gravity. Well, guessing this kind of occurrence is child's play. But guessing the numbers of Sha256 and Scrypt is near impossible.

This is why hashing is so ahead in terms of securing public data. It’s unguessable. There is no way anyone can guess the hash. You can never determine the input data based on the output hash. To determine it, you have to figure out every single number of the hashes in existence.

 You might ask yourself that it’s easy. Well, we can assure you it’s not. To predict it correctly, you are going to spend your whole eternity. You have to keep on guessing randomly and there is a slim to none chance of getting it right even after trying for hundreds of years.

Noticeable Change

Small changes in the Sha256 and Scrypt change the output. Even the smallest change can make a huge difference in the result. This makes the blockchains nearly impossible to breach or hack. Also, it makes every single block in the blockchain unique. This function is what makes the hashes pre-image resistant.

Collissions resistant

When you are working with millions of blocks daily, it's normal that sometimes the blocks will hit one another. The Sha256 and Scrypt algorithm makes the blockchains nearly collision-resistant.

For those of you who don’t know what collisions are in the crypto world, it means every search input will always have its own unique hash having two different inputs resulting in the same output. Once the outputs are issued, it's bound to collide with each other. 

There are incidents when hashes completely malfunction due to excessive collision. An excessive amount of collision can ultimately jeopardize the whole blockchain platform. That's why it’s important to prevent them from happening. But the good thing is that there’s always a slim chance of it happening in Sha256 and Scrypt. It’s like one in a million. That’s why there’s nothing to worry about. 

Puzzle Friendly

This is quite an intricate feature. Those of you who are crypto enthusiasts and have experience hovering over blockchains surely know what it means. 

Blockchains are a sequence of blocks that contain data. There are millions of data all aligned and sorted one after the other. When a new transaction occurs, a new block is added in succession. But how does the platform recognize a certain block? Well, this is where hash pointers come in. 

A hash pointer always indicates a previous block. Cryptographic algorithms like Sha256 and Scrypt have unique features that track a certain block. A hash pointer contains all the data that is inside the previous block. 

This is what makes it so enigmatic. Imagine someone attacks a blockchain and tries to steal some precious assets. The first thing that they will do is try to change the data to their own preference. They will incorporate new codes and numbers in it. As we’ve mentioned before, because of the property of hash functions like Sha256 and Scrypt even a slight change in the algorithm will be noticeable. It will change the hash drastically. 

This means any change in block 3 will change block 2 and any change in block 2 will change block 1. This will keep on happening until the change is corrected. That’s why Sha256 and Scrypt make platforms unbreachable. No matter how insignificant the change is, it will keep affecting the other blocks to nullify it. 

Distinct Features

Now that we’ve looked at the common features of Sha256 and Scrypt, we have a basic understanding of how it works. But there certainly can’t be two winners. One of them has a slight upper hand in terms of aspects. Therefore, let's check out the distinct features of Sha256 and Scrypt to see which one is the frontrunner in the blockchain industry.

Particular Cryptocurrencies

Both of these hashing algorithms have unique sets of cryptocurrencies available on them. It is up to you to see which one fits you the best. 

Sha256 has a slight edge when comes to versatility. You can mine pretty much every currency in Sha256. Bitcoin, Mastercoin, Namecoin, Scotcoin, Zetacoin you name it. There was a rumor for some time that Sha256 is only viable when it comes to BTC. But that’s not true. Sha256 hashing algorithm is not only designed for the crypto giant bitcoin but also tons of lesser-known currencies like Acoin and Tigercoin.

Prices can change at any time. Cryptocurrency is the market that fluctuates the most. That’s why Sha256 has a wide range of options. On the other hand, Scrypt also has a plethora of cryptocurrencies. It is used to mine the new crypto phenomenon Dogecoin. Other currencies like Zedcoin, Worldcoin, Syscoin, and others can be mined as well. But at the end of the day, Sha256 has much broader options when it comes to crypto mining. 

Fast Block Processing Time

Scrypt is much more fast and easy to use. The hash rate in Scrypt is determined by a smaller scale called kilo hashes per second. Therefore, the processing time is fast. On the contrary, Sha256 takes time to process the blocks. The reason for it is the hash rate is measured in Giga hashes per second compared to the kilo hashes. That’s why it takes six to ten minutes to finish the hashing process.

ASIC Hardware

After the age of CPUs and GPUs, now is the time of ASIC hardware. They are designed for one specific reason only that is crypto mining. They are effective and smooth. Using traditional CPUs and GPUs is going to hold you back. The ASIC hardware is being incorporated in every currency available. Soon it will take over the world.

Sha256 is keeping up with the trends. This algorithm can be performed in ASIC hardware. The whole process is fast and safe. Sadly, Scrypt mining can only be done in old-school GPUs. Some ASIC hardwares in the market have options for it but that’s not enough. A hashing algorithm's success lies in its availability. In this aspect, Sha256 is miles ahead.

256 Bit Hashes

This is what sets Sha256 apart from every other typical hashing algorithms. Most algorithms like Scrypt don’t necessarily give you a fixed amount of output every use. This is critical as the security of your assets solely lies in it. 

Data regarding track records, transactions, and crypto minings all get stored through hashing process. These data are enormous and counting them one by one is infeasible. But you need to have a marker on each of them to recognize it. Otherwise, it’s going to get lost in the piles of data. Soon, there will be no traces of it. 

Sha256 turns every data input into 256 bits of unique output no matter what the conditions are. It saves storage and energy. Scrypt is highly memory intensive. Sha256 sorts out all the blocks and makes enough space for new ones to come. It also makes the tracking process much easier. 

Sha256 vs. Scrypt

photo- Austin Distel

Summary: Which is Better?

Both of these hashing functions have their perks. At the end of the day, it depends on what purpose you are going to use them on. Scrypt’s fast-paced hashing and top-notch security are too die for but you have to acknowledge the fact that Sha256 can be used on ASIC hardware.

No matter how good your hashing function is, if you can’t mine with it, it’s not that useful. Therefore, Sha256 gets the top vote. Their 256 bits block system and 64/80 rounds make it the superior hashing function.

It also has a FIPS PUB 180-4 certification indicating that it’s completely safe. Without a doubt, it’s the better hashing function.

FAQ

Is Sha256 Secure?

Perhaps we can all agree on one thing that government-related data are the most important. War policies, border issues, and bonds are sensitive information that needs to be protected at all costs. The US government uses Sha256 hashing algorithms to safeguard sensitive data. This statement is enough to prove that Sha256 is the most secured hashing function out there.

Why Should I Use Hashing Functions?

Think of them as digital fingerprints or signatures. Without them, no one can get access to your valuable assets. Hackers are implementing new and innovative ways to breach the security level. Hashing functions are the most useful method to prevent them from getting their hands on the data. It can encrypt or decrypt the data so that you can be stress-free at all times. 

Final Thoughts

Cyber-attacks have been threatening us since the inception of the internet. It just seems like there is no way to stop it. But now with hashing algorithms like Sha256 and Scrypt, the number of attacks has dropped at a significant rate. Soon, people won’t have to worry about safeguarding their data as Sha256 and Scrypt will always be there.

You can also read- How to Send Bitcoin to a Ledger Nano S

Written by adminbitkch

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