What is cryptography?
Cryptography is the study of secure communications. The etymology, or word origin, reveals much of the meaning behind the word. “Crypto”- is the Latin prefix for hidden or secure, while “graphy” means writing.
In computer science, cryptography specifically refers to secure information and communication techniques that rely on mathematically-defined rules called algorithms. These algorithms are deterministic in nature, which means that for a given input, only one valid output exists. Since deterministic algorithms are used to produce public/private key pairs, we can be assured that a private key will only “unlock” the wallet it is associated with, and will not work for others.
What is encryption?
Encryption is the process of securing messages or information using cryptographic techniques. Decryption is the process of “unlocking” or deciphering the message encoded within the encrypted hash using private keys.