Public Key and Private Key: What is the difference?

The arrival of the internet and smartphones has accelerated the dematerialization of payment methods. Cash transactions have gradually been abandoned in favor of online transfers and other modern digital payment methods. This trend has been widely adopted by major tech companies such as PayPal, Google Pay, or Apple Pay.

Public Key and Private Key: What is the difference?

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Cryptography is a technique that relies on different characters (letters, numbers, etc.) to protect messages by encrypting them, making them incomprehensible.

Symmetric Cryptography

Symmetric cryptography involves encrypting a comprehensible message into an incomprehensible text using a key. The only way to decrypt the message is to possess the same key. In this traditional form of cryptography, the key that encrypts the message is also the key that decrypts it. This means that the confidentiality of the key is at risk as soon as it needs to be transmitted to decrypt the message.

Asymmetric Cryptography

Asymmetric cryptography was created to address the problem of symmetric cryptography regarding the confidentiality of the encryption/decryption key.

Asymmetric cryptography, used in cryptocurrencies, involves each person having their own key. This completely eliminates the risk of compromising one's key when it is sent to someone. Based on mathematical variables, this type of cryptography does not allow the key to go in two directions. Here, the user has a public key and a private key. The public key is used to encrypt the message and is accessible to everyone. The private key is used to decrypt the message and must remain confidential at all times.

The use of this system requires two different keys for the encryption/decryption of the message, ensuring optimal confidentiality. In the case of cryptocurrencies, asymmetric cryptography allows a sender to send cryptocurrencies to someone using the recipient's public key. Once the recipient receives the cryptocurrencies sent by the sender, they can retrieve them using their private key.

Conclusion: Public Key and Private Key

Asymmetric cryptography is used far beyond the borders of cryptocurrencies. This encryption system was born in response to technological advancements and the growing need for security. Without asymmetric cryptography, our data would constantly be exposed to theft of sensitive information, malicious attacks on the internet, etc. Our increasing use of the internet, information technologies, and new payment methods puts the protection of our private data at the forefront of concerns.

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