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

What is Immutable?

Immutable Meaning:
Immutable - unable to be changed over time.
2 minutes

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

Immutability is one of the key features of blockchain technologies. Immutable data cannot be altered in any way by anyone after it was created.

Blockchain technology is based on the principles of immutability. All network nodes must agree on the data validity before it moves forward. Blockchain functions as a distributed ledger technology to ensure that no one can change the data records once they are part of the blockchain.

Blockchain was developed in a way that once all transactions, like contracts, purchases, and sales, are recorded and added to the chain, the data cannot be retroactively altered in the particular block without having to modify all other blocks. Each block contains data tied to the previous block, so the entire chain would have to be changed with the altered data.

Blockchain is immutable thanks to cryptographic hashing, the encryption method that uses plaintext as an input and creates a unique hash value as the output. The length of hashes is always fixed, regardless of the input properties.

The hashing algorithm is incredibly difficult to reverse. If a user were to apply the SHA-256 hashing algorithm to a word or a sentence, they would receive a 256-bit hexadecimal code in return. The length of the hexadecimal code is 32 characters. Attempts to apply the SHA-256 algorithm to any data always return a 32-character output.

Hashes can be used as digital signatures to maintain data integrity. When data is transferred over the network, its hash value can serve as a digital fingerprint. If the sender receives the same data back, the hash can be calculated to determine whether it matches the initial fingerprint. If there is a mismatch, it means that the data was tampered with during the transmission.

Immutability is not a guarantee that the data will not be tampered with at all. However, it serves to ensure that any alterations to the data have notable consequences.

There are numerous benefits to immutability:

  • Unlike in traditional database systems, where the data can be corrupted or destroyed, blockchain requires all changes to be adopted by the network nodes. This reduces the risk of data loss;
  • Immutability ensures data integrity. Users can re-calculate the hash value to verify the integrity of the chain;
  • Immutability allows organizations to produce indisputable ledgers which can make the auditing process simpler.