Introduction to Digital Fingerprints — Using a Hash or Checksum to Compare Data Using Blockchain

Intro to Digital Fingerprints

At PencilDATA, digital fingerprints are core to what we do. If you’re trying to identify and compare a piece of data, a file, or anything else digital, there is no better tool than a digital fingerprint. Scroll down for an intro to digital fingerprints video

Using digital fingerprints (aka a “cryptographic hash function”) allows PencilDATA users to be certain that the data they’re registering and verifying in our Blockchain-powered platform has been properly identified.

We take the digital fingerprints our users generate and store them using Blockchain using the Register() API in Chainkit, and that stored fingerprint can later be re-run through the Chainkit Verify() API to provide assurance that the data you’re storing hasn’t been tampered with. By using digital fingerprints and not the “real” data, we get military-grade assurance of data integrity without having to ever see or touch the actual raw data, thus alleviating any security or data loss concerns about using the PencilDATA platform. Bottom line: without the strength of digital fingerprints, we could not do what we do.

You’ll often hear people refer to the idea of digital fingerprints by many other words like a “digest”, “hash”, “cryptographic hash function”, or even a “checksum” or other words. At best, it’s confusing, and while none of these words are necessarily wrong, they’re generally referring to steps in the process of digital fingerprinting, where as the phrase “digital fingerprint” itself is more referring to the concept as a whole rather than a step in the process, which is why you’ll hear the PencilDATA team talk more about fingerprints than things like ‘hashing’.

In this video (embedded below), I go in depth on digital fingerprints (aka checksums, hashes, and digests, amongst other things) to help you understand why they’re so useful and how we use them in the PencilDATA Blockchain Integrity Platform and our Chainkit Blockchain Integrity API.

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