In recent years, words, terms, and concepts have been introduced into the world’s vernacular that most of us find difficult if not impossible to understand. The explanation of these words and phrases are the future of our society.
Cryptocurrency, the blockchain, and cryptography are in their infancy. Physical money is becoming antiquated. Borders between corporations and societies are breaking down. Cryptocurrencies and de-centralized networks will occupy the void left by the end of paper money. Blockchains are recognized by some of the largest enterprises in the world for encryption technology and resistance to intrusion.
The cryptocurrency blockchain requires four indispensable properties when applying a digital signature in transactions.
- The signer of the transaction must be verifiable.
- Each signature along the chain cannot be forged.
- Signatures are deemed final. The signature cannot be associated with any other identity.
- It should be computationally impossible to procure a private key from a public key.
Quantum computing, although years away from practical application, is perceived as a menace to break any current encryption technology. Cryptocurrencies and the blockchain are choosing a forward-looking sentiment to the computational capability of quantum computers. Algorithms are now branded as quantum-resistant.
Introduction to Elliptic Curve Cryptography
Each block in a blockchain requires a cryptographic key to the preceding block. Other conditions must be satisfied. However, cryptography is the glue that holds the chain together. Digital transactions are growing exponentially.
Elliptic Curve Cryptography is a compilation of algorithms for encrypting and decrypting data. ECC is one of the most formidable and extensively used encrypting methods. An ever-growing list of websites secures customers HTTPS connections on the ECC standard. The ECC encryption method is being utilized by these same websites to interact with their data centers and other corporations.
In 1977, the contemporary era of cryptography began when two new algorithms were proposed, the RSA and Diffie-Hellman. These new designs were radical in their approach. The cryptographic security was based on numbers. Dual_EC_DRBG is the cryptographic standard accepted by the NSA. The function uses elliptic curve mathematics. The process generates a sequence of arbitrary numbers. These numbers start from a seed formed by an algebraic calculation.
Securing Your Digital Signature
There is blistering criticism from cryptographers, acclaimed mathematicians, and security experts. The RSA encryption standard endorsed by the NSA has a backdoor function. The backdoor was revealed by documents provided by former NSA subcontractor Edward Snowden. Many have recommended, not to employ the RSA method.
Elliptic Curve Cryptography offers compelling improvements over the RSA standard. The most unique being, the key size is considerably smaller than the RSA encryption approach. Also, cryptocurrencies prefer the ECC because of the efficiencies the method provides. The NIST and National Security Agency now uphold the 384-bit ECC encryption model. Both agencies allow top-secret documents to be encrypted with ECC.
The ECC method is useful to cryptocurrencies not solely for the size but also the trapdoor function. This trapdoor is based on the infeasibility of determining a point on an elliptic curve. The approach is Point Multiplication. The operation successively adds a point along an elliptic curve out to infinity. The National Security Agency says it would need a 7680-bit key to solve the ECC method. The NSA has declared it is moving away from the ECC standard to a newer collection of ciphers. These new encryption mechanisms are because of the inevitability of quantum power breaking any type of code.