What is sha256sum

I know it has to do with some kinda of a sha2 hash function that is used to verify the integrity of files,from what google tells me, but what and how is it used because and i see that there is a .appimage.sha256sum file along side the .appimage of the alpha release, and i can run the appimage just fine without the need of the shaxxxsum file. I just wanna know the purpose of it, also i am new to linux systems.