An asymmetric cipher is an encryption scheme using a pair of keys, one to encrypt and a second to decrypt a message. A special class of asymmetric ciphers are public-key ciphers, in which the encrypting key need not be kept secret to ensure a private communication.

Public key cryptography describes all cryptographic algorithms which have a pair of keys, one key that performs encryption and one key that performs decryption. One of these keys is made available publicly, allowing anyone to send messages that only the holder of the private key can read. You should use this tag for questions on any such system, for example RSA or Elliptic Curve Cryptography.

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