Bitcoin uses RIPEMD160 on top of SHA256. Is its sole purpose to make public key address shorter or does it strengthen security in any way?

up vote 3 down vote accepted

RIPEMD160 was designed in the open academic community and not like SHA2 by a NSA competition... one may see this as security advantage.

160bit hashes do also have less space requirements (then sha256) on the blockchain as well as in indexes, etc.

  • Thanks Jonas Schnelli, does it also give advantage for being used together with SHA256 in terms of double hashing? – Jamol Apr 26 at 21:16
  • Most hashes in bitcoin are using double sha256. But an additional RIPEMD does protect against possible weakness in SHA256 since addresses are hashed with SHA256 and RIPEMD160. – Jonas Schnelli Apr 27 at 20:10

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