A digital signature is a cryptographic mechanism used to verify the authenticity and integrity of a message, software, or digital document. It is the digital equivalent of a handwritten signature or stamped seal, but it offers far more inherent security. Digital signatures are used extensively in the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
They function by using a combination of a private key, which is kept secret by the owner, and a public key, which is shared publicly. When a user signs a document or transaction with their private key, the signature can be verified by others using the corresponding public key. This process ensures that the message or transaction has not been altered and confirms the identity of the person signing it, providing non-repudiation and trustworthiness.