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A hash is a fixed-length string of characters generated through a mathematical algorithm applied to input data of any size. In the context of blockchain, hashes are used to represent data in a condensed and secure form. Even a slight change in the input data will result in a completely different hash. Hashes play a critical role in ensuring data integrity, as they are used for verification, authentication, and as a reference for digital content. They are employed in various applications, including cryptography, digital signatures, and creating unique identifiers in blockchain systems.