SHA-512, alternatively known as SHA-2, was published by the NSA in 2001 to be a successor to SHA-1. It was designed to have an even stricter security standard than its predecessor, with the hope being that it would be able to resist up to quantum computing attacks. It is an algorithm that is used alongside MD5 and is often used for hashing files.
The SHA-512 and MD5 hashes, collectively known as message digests, are used to protect data integrity. The SHA-512 hash is the more secure of the two due to its longer length and requires far less energy to compute. Even if a hacker managed to find a collision in the shorter MD5 hash, it would be difficult for them to apply that attack payload against the SHA-512 hash because of their vastly different sizes.
The SHA-512 algorithm is a stronger form of encryption than MD5, with the capability to process data at speeds of over 100-billion bits per second. Similar to MD5, SHA-512 uses a cryptographic hash algorithm, but with four times the hashing power. SHA-512 has been used for many purposes, with its most popular use being in cryptocurrency mining computations.