It produces a 256-bit (32-byte) output known as a hash value.
In Bitcoin, the hash function is applied twice, resulting in the use of double SHA-256.
A Robust Hash Algorithm
SHA-256 is a variant of the SHA-2 (Secure Hash Algorithm 2) family of hash functions developed by the National Security Agency (NSA).
It is also utilized in popular encryption protocols like SSL, TLS, SSH, and open-source operating systems like Unix/Linux.
As a hash algorithm, SHA-256 offers high levels of security and confidentiality.
The specific workings of the algorithm are not publicly disclosed, making it difficult for attackers to exploit its vulnerabilities.
The United States government widely adopts SHA-256 for protecting sensitive information through digital signatures.
SHA-256 in Password Security
SHA-256 is also employed for password verification, as it allows for secure storage and matching of password hash values without storing the actual passwords themselves.
It is practically impossible to derive the original data from its hash value alone.
The vast number of potential combinations makes it highly resistant to brute force attacks.
Additionally, the likelihood of two different data values producing the same hash value (known as a collision) is extremely low.
SHA-256 is a robust and widely used cryptographic hash function that ensures security, data integrity, and confidentiality in various applications, including Bitcoin.