BLAKE2 is a cryptographic hash function faster than MD5, SHA-1, SHA-2, and SHA-3, yet is at least as secure as the latest standard SHA-3. BLAKE2 has been adopted by many projects due to its high speed, security, and simplicity.

BLAKE2 is specified in RFC 7693.

BLAKE2 comes in two flavors:

  • BLAKE2b (or just BLAKE2) is optimized for 64-bit platforms—including NEON-enabled ARMs—and produces digests of any size between 1 and 64 bytes
  • BLAKE2s is optimized for 8- to 32-bit platforms and produces digests of any size between 1 and 32 bytes

BLAKE2 includes the 4-way parallel BLAKE2bp and 8-way parallel BLAKE2sp designed for increased performance on multicore or SIMD CPUs. BLAKE2 offers these algorithms tuned to your specific requirements, such as keyed hashing (that is, MAC or PRF), hashing with a salt, updatable or incremental tree-hashing, or any combination thereof.

BLAKE2 also includes the BLAKE2x variants, which can produce digests of arbitrary length. BLAKE2x is specified in a separate document.

BLAKE2 shines on 64-bit CPUs: on an Intel Core i5-6600 (Skylake microarchitecture, 3310MHz), BLAKE2b can process 1 gibibyte per second, or a speed rate of 3.08 cycles per byte.

The plot below shows how BLAKE2 outperforms MD5, SHA-1, SHA-2, and SHA-3 on a Skylake Intel CPU (speeds are for hashing using a single core; using multiple cores, BLAKE2 can be even faster).

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