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Crypto Terms:  Letter B
Jun 19, 2023 |
updated Apr 02, 2024

What is Blake-256?

Blake-256 Meaning:
Blake-256 - a hash algorithm used in Decred.
2 minutes

Let's find out Blake-256 meaning, definition in crypto, what is Blake-256, and all other detailed facts.

Blake-256 is a hash algorithm that was created by Jean-Philippe Aumasson, Luca Henzen, Willi Meier, and Raphael C.-W. Phan and is used in Decred. The Blake-256 algorithm was designed to run as fast as SHA-1 on 64-bit processors and MD5 on 32-bit processors. Blake is based on a variant of the Salsa20 stream cipher called ChaCha. However, Blake’s internal state (1600 bits) is larger than Salsa20’s (256 bits).

The way that Blake works can be described in steps:

  • The message is initially divided into blocks, each of which is hashed separately (the last block is padded to a full block length).
  • Each block is passed through a 512-bit internal state that is operated by an internal compression function (32 rows and 16 columns).
  • XOR is used to combine the output of the compression function with the starting state, and then a linear transformation is used to permute it.
  • After that, the final state is split into two 512-bit halves and XORed together to create the final version.

A great technique of decreasing a hash value is to XOR it with a constant value, which on some architectures can result in more efficient computing. This notion is heavily used in the Blake-256 hashing method. Besides, this does not result in a major decrease in security, and it does speed up the algorithm's processing time.

The Blake hashing algorithm creates two distinct hash functions that are combined to create a 512-bit hash value (64 bytes).

Blake is an iterative hash function that increases security against collisions and preimage attacks by using randomization. Though it uses the same amount of resources as SHA-2 (but a smaller amount than MD5) to do that.

The main features of Blake include:

  • Fast Hashing. Blake is definitely one of the fastest cryptographic hash functions there is. In terms of speed, it even surpasses Whirlpool, which is the most widely used cryptographic hash function in the industry.
  • Stream Cipher. This feature enables a program to hash any quantity of data without having to wait for all of it to be read. Besides, it enables the usage of such applications as file hashing utilities.
  • Security. Since it has a larger internal state (1024 bits) it is definitely more secure than SHA-2, which has a half smaller internal state (512 bits).