Back to Basics: All about the history of Cryptography!

One of the key factors in the development of present day cryptocurrencies and blockchains is cryptography, which is a scientific method of creating codes and encryptions for secure communication. However, the development of the cryptographic methods used today has a remarkably longstanding experience. Individuals have been using cryptography to send information securely since the dawn of time. We have put it out there for you to know about the fascinating development of cryptography that led to the refined and cutting-edge techniques used for today's advanced digital encryption.

It goes way back!

Ancient cryptographic methods are believed to have existed, and the majority of the earliest civilizations seem to have used cryptography in some capacity. The most fundamental type of cryptography, symbol replacement, can be found in writings from both Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. The tomb of an Egyptian nobleman named Khnumhotep II, who lived about 3,900 years ago, contained the earliest known instance of this kind of cryptography. The Knhumhotep inscription's symbol replacement was done not to hide information but to make it more culturally appealing. Around 3,500 years ago, a Mesopotamian scribe used cryptography to hide a recipe for pottery glaze that was used on clay tablets, which is the earliest recorded example of cryptography being employed to safeguard confidential data.

Cryptography was frequently used to preserve crucial military information by subsequent years of ancient times, and it continues to do so today. Messages were written on papyrus laid over a cylinder of a specific size in the Greek city-state of Sparta to encrypt them, rendering them unintelligible until the recipient wrapped it around a cylinder of a similar size.

Roman cryptography was arguably the most sophisticated in the ancient world. The Caesar cipher, a well-known example of Roman cryptography, involved moving a predetermined number of letters down the Latin alphabet in an encrypted message. A recipient could effectively decode the otherwise unintelligible message if they were aware of this system and how many places to shift the letters.

Middle ages & renaissance cryptographic development. 

Although substitution ciphers, of which the Caesar cipher is one example, continued to be the norm throughout the Middle Ages, cryptography gained importance. The science of cracking codes and ciphers, known as cryptanalysis, started to catch up to the still-relatively-rudimentary field of cryptography. Around 800 AD, the eminent Arab mathematician Al-Kindi created a method called frequency analysis that made substitution ciphers susceptible to decryption. For the very first time, people trying to decipher encrypted messages had access to a technique for doing so in a systematic way, necessitating further development in cryptography for it to continue to be useful.

The polyalphabetic cipher, invented by Leone Alberti in 1465, is thought to be the answer to Al-Kindi's analysis method. A message is encoded utilizing two unique alphabets in a polyalphabetic cipher. The first alphabet is the one in which the message is written in its original form, and the second is the alphabet in which the signals produced after being encoded. Polyalphabetic ciphers significantly boosted the security of information that was encoded when used in conjunction with conventional substitution ciphers. The frequency analysis method was useless unless the reader was aware of the original alphabet used to write the message.

The Renaissance, on the other hand, saw the creation of new information-encoding techniques, including an early, well-liked binary encoding scheme created in 1623 by the renowned polymath Sir Francis Bacon.

Developments in recent times. 

Throughout the centuries, the study of cryptography made steady progress. Thomas Jefferson proposed a significant advance in cryptography in the 1790s, but it may never have been realized. His creation, the cipher wheel, was made up of 36 rings of moving wheels with letters that could be utilized to reach complex encoding. This idea was so far-reaching that it would even after the Second World War serve as the foundation for American military cryptography.

The Enigma machine, the ideal illustration of analog cryptography, was also developed during World War II. Similar to the wheel cipher, this Axis-used device also used rotating wheels to encrypt messages, making it nearly impossible to decipher without another Enigma. The Enigma cipher was broken up with the aid of early computer technology, and the effective decryption of Enigma messages is still regarded as a crucial element of the eventual Allied victory.

Cryptography & Computers

Cryptography significantly improved over the analog era with the advent of computers. Many delicate devices and computer systems now use 128-bit mathematical encryption, which is much more powerful than any ancient or medieval cipher. Computer scientists started working on a brand-new type of cryptography called quantum cryptography in 1990 in an effort to once more raise the level of security provided by contemporary encryption.

In more recent times, cryptocurrencies have also been made possible by cryptographic methods. Hash functions, public-key cryptography, and digital signatures are just a few of the sophisticated cryptographic methods used by cryptocurrencies. Authenticating transactions and ensuring the confidentiality of information stored on blockchains are the main purposes of these techniques. 

Cryptography is currently rewriting a protracted and rich history!

Although cryptography has existed for a very long time and is unquestionably here to stay, there is still much to learn and figure out before it finds its exact position and realizes its full potential in our world. In the past 4,000 years, cryptography has advanced significantly, and it is unlikely to slow down in the near future. Cryptography will keep developing as long as critical information needs to be protected. 

Knowing that some of this science's most cutting-edge methods are still used in cryptocurrency blockchains today, cryptographic systems have a long history that dates back much further than that.