Hashing within Bitcoin is done in several different areas of the code. EG: We have the SHA-256 mining algorithm, the Merkle tree hashing, and I believe double hashing within certain areas (SHA-256D).

Hashing is all over the place in Bitcoin and I'm confused as to where the code hashes something for a particular reason.

Is there a list somewhere of all features/processes of Bitcoin that use a hash function in order to do something.

1 Answer 1


In Bitcoin's consensus rules (block and transaction validity rules):

  • Transactions hashes (txids and wtxids) are computed as double-SHA256 of their serialization (without and with witness data, respectively).
  • Block Merkle roots are computed by repeatedly pairwise double-SHA256 hashing, starting from the list of txids in a block, until only a single element remains. The same design is used for the witness commitment added in BIP141.
  • Block hashes are computed using double-SHA256 of the block header (which includes the Merkle root listed above). This block hash also functions as proof-of-work, so this hashing is the operation performed by miners at scale.
  • The Bitcoin scripting languages has opcodes OP_SHA256, OP_RIPEMD160, OP_HASH256 (= double-SHA256), and OP_HASH160 (SHA256 followed by RIPEMD16).
  • To compute the message being ECDSA signed in transaction inputs, double-SHA256 of a modified transaction serialization is used in both legacy and witness v0 inputs (see BIP143 for the latter).
  • In the upcoming "Taproot" protocol upgrade, single-SHA256 hashes are used for a variety of purposes: tagged hashes, script leaf hashes, script Merkle trees, and key tweaks.

In wallet standards:

  • P2PKH, P2WPKH, and P2SH addresses are computed as the RIPEMD160 hash of the SHA256 hash of the public key (resp. script) being paid to. They are verified by the OP_HASH160 opcode in the Bitcoin scripting language.
  • P2WSH addresses contain a single-SHA256 hash of the script being sent to.
  • P2PKH and P2SH addresses include a truncated (4 bytes) double-SHA256 based checksum to detect typos.
  • In the BIP32 deterministic key derivation algorithm, (an HMAC based on) SHA512 is used to compute child key tweaks and chaincodes.
  • In the BIP39 seed phrase standard single-SHA256 is used as checksum, and repeated HMAC-SHA512 is used for strengthening.

In the P2P protocol:

  • In the Bitcoin P2P protocol, a 4-byte checksum is added to every message, which is a truncated double-SHA256 hash.
  • The deprecated BIP37 Bloom filtering protocol used 32-bit MurmurHash3 to determine the bits set in Bloom filters.
  • In the BIP152 compact block protocol extension SipHash is used to compute 48-bit compact transaction hashes.
  • In the BIP158 client-side filtering protocol extension, SipHash is used to derive filter bit positions.

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