Over the last two years, a number of hacker collectives have successfully ridiculed existing cyber-security measures and this has brought up the need for a major overhaul in security. MD5, which is the most abused hashing technique, is over two decades old now, but it is still in use at many places, mostly because it is part of some legacy code that was never changed. The world of cryptography has taken the next step to security as BLAKE2 is here.
BLAKE2 is the advanced version of the BLAKE algorithm, which was a finalist in SHA3. The official page for BLAKE describes it as,
The cryptographic hash function BLAKE2 is an improved version of the SHA-3 finalist BLAKE. Like BLAKE or SHA-3, BLAKE2 offers the highest security, yet is fast as MD5 on 64-bit platforms and requires at least 33% less RAM than SHA-2 or SHA-3 on low-end systems.
While BLAKE2 is advocated as being a secure hashing function, it is also as fast as MD5, which might be a reason for concern, but the developers of BLAKE2 have said on their mailing list that BLAKE2 has better security and at-par performance with MD5. From what it seems, they are proposing BLAKE2 as a viable alternative to MD5. The use-case for BLAKE2 is not replacing the existing Keccak algorithm for SHA3.
Many a times, people stick to MD5 for a performance benefit. With its superior performance and better security, BLAKE2 will be a nail in MD5’s coffin.