With applicability in cloud storage, software distribution, host-based intrusion detection, digital forensics and revision control tools, BLAKE2 performs a lot faster than MD5 algorithm on Intel 32 and 64-bit systems. Developers of BLAKE2 insist that even though the algorithm is faster, there are no loose ends when it comes to security. BLAKE2 is an optimized version of the then SHA-3 finalist BLAKE.

“We do not think that this superior software performance comes at a cost of reduced security”, said the developers on the mailing list. “We argue that much of the extensive security analysis performed on BLAKE during the SHA-3 process applies to BLAKE2 and shows no cause for concern about BLAKE2’s security”, the developers added.

The developer makes special note of a SIMD/multicore variant that is a parallelized mode of the BLAKE2 called ‘BLAKE2*p’ and works on almost all modern CPUs. “I’m particularly keen on the SIMD/multicore variant, a parallelized mode named “BLAKE2*p”, because almost all modern CPUs — even a lot of the cheap and power-efficient 32-bit ARM chips — come with efficient SIMD features.” More information can be found here [PDF].

The developers are of the opinion that once they are done with experimenting of BLAKE on different systems, they are going to “write a “b2sum” command-line tool, which we hope will eventually replace “md5sum” in the unix user’s toolset.”