Learn: Cryptography, Smart Contracts and Distributed Networks

Cryptography is the science of securing information by using mathematical techniques and algorithms. Cryptography uses mathematical techniques to encrypt and decrypt data, authenticate messages, and verify identities. Cryptography has many applications in computer security, digital signatures, e-commerce, cryptocurrency, and more.
Smart contracts are self-executing agreements that are encoded on a blockchain and can enforce the terms and conditions of a transaction while distributed networks are systems of nodes that communicate and cooperate with each other without relying on a central authority or intermediary. In a distributed network, each node has its own processing power, memory, and storage, and can operate independently or collaboratively with other nodes.
Benefits of Smart Contracts
Insurance policies: Smart contracts can automate the payment of claims based on predefined conditions and verified events. For example, a smart contract can trigger a payout to a policyholder if their flight is delayed or canceled, without the need for manual verification or paperwork.
Supply chain management: Smart contracts can track the movement of goods and services across different parties and locations and enforce the terms of delivery and payment. For example, a smart contract can release the funds to a supplier once the goods have reached their destination and passed quality inspection.
Voting systems: Smart contracts can ensure the security and transparency of voting processes by recording and verifying each vote on a blockchain. For example, a smart contract can prevent double voting, tampering, or fraud by validating the identity and eligibility of each voter and storing their vote immutably.
Decentralized applications: Smart contracts can enable the creation and operation of decentralized applications (DApps) that run on a peer-to-peer network without intermediaries. For example, a smart contract can govern the rules and logic of a DApp, such as a decentralized exchange, a social media platform, or a gaming service.
Smart contracts can be written in different languages, such as Solidity, Vyper or Yul for Ethereum.
Cryptography involves the following aspects
Encryption: transforming plaintext (readable data) into ciphertext (unreadable data) using a secret key. Decryption: reversing the encryption process to recover the plaintext from the ciphertext using the same or a different secret key.
Cryptanalysis: breaking the encryption or decryption scheme without knowing the secret key, or finding weaknesses in the scheme that can be exploited by an attacker.
Cryptography protocols: rules and procedures for using cryptographic primitives (such as encryption and decryption algorithms) to achieve specific goals, such as authentication, confidentiality, integrity, and non-repudiation.
Cryptography standards: specifications and guidelines for implementing and using cryptography protocols and primitives in various domains and applications, such as web security, digital signatures, electronic voting, and blockchain.
This article first appeared in Tekedia