What is Keccak?

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Keccak is an advanced cryptographic function. It is commonly used as a hash function to provide additional security over more traditional hash algorithms in the SHA (Secure Hash Function) family. A hash function is an algorithm that obscures data while keeping it retrievable. Examples of other hash algorithms are SHA-1 and SHA-2. Bitcoin utilizes SHA-256 which is a part of the SHA-2 family. 

Keccak was designed by a group of cryptographers including Guido Bertoni, Michaël Peeters, Gilles Van Assche and Joan Daemen.  

Is Keccak related to SHA?

Keccak is commonly called SHA-3. This means that it descends from the SHA family and considers itself an improvement over both SHA-1 and SHA-2 in terms of security. 

Is Keccak more secure than SHA-256?

Keccak is believed to be more secure than SHA-256 (the hashing function used in Bitcoin), however, it has not been tested to the extent that SHA-256 has and thus can also be interpreted as being riskier. In cryptography, a well-tested algorithm is often more useful than an advanced theoretical one which has not been suitably scrutinized over time.