SHA256, or SHA256d (because SHA256 is applied doubly) is the first mining algorithm to be ever used, utilized by Satoshi in his creation of Bitcoin. As it is used to mine Bitcoin, it is the most revenue generating algorithm and has the most history behind it. SHA256 belongs to a family of cryptographic hash functions called SHA2 and was published by the National Security Agency in 2001. Satoshi presumably chose it as it was the newest standard and a significant improvement over the then more frequently used SHA1. In 2010, on bitcointalk.org, he explained: “SHA-256 is very strong. It’s not like the incremental step from MD5 to SHA1. It can last several decades unless there’s some massive breakthrough attack.”
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