Verkle trees are part of Ethereum’s post-Merge future, promising smaller proof sizes and cheaper ardware requirements for nodes.

According to Vitalik Buterin, the deployment of Verkle trees will help both Ethereum solo stakers and network nodes.

In an X post, the Ethereum co-founder emphasized the benefits of the protocol’s technological update. Verkle trees are expected to enable “stateless validator clients,” with Buterin highlighting their ability to allow staking nodes to run with “near-zero hard disk space and sync nearly instantly.”

Via X

Buterin has proposed a five-step, incremental path for bringing the smart contract blockchain to what he refers to as the finale of Ethereum development. This followed the highly anticipated activation of the Beacon Chain, which saw Ethereum transition to proof-of-stake consensus in September 2022.

Verkle trees are part of the strategy, which Buterin revealed in late 2022. The continuing development phases were represented by five keywords. The terms Merge, Surge, Verge, Purge, and Splurge describe the technological aspects of certain development milestones.

The Verge umbrella, which represents the third stage of Ethereum’s development plan, includes Verkle trees. This step involves the use of Verkle trees to optimize data storage and node size. Buterin detailed the technical aspects of Verkle trees in the Ethereum Improvement Proposal document, which was published in 2022.

Verkle trees perform similarly to Merkle trees, totaling all transactions in a block and producing proof of the whole collection of data for a user wishing to verify its authenticity:

“Verkle Trees’ primary advantage, though, is their significantly higher proof size efficiency.”

Verkle trees have similar tree-like topologies to Merkle trees, but one significant difference is that nodes use a specific sort of hash called a vector commitment, which is handed down to sub-nodes. Vector commitments will give significant long-term benefits to the Ethereum network.

The fundamental advantage of Verkle trees is that they enable Ethereum to attain statelessness, which means that nodes confirming blocks will no longer need to hold Ethereum’s state.

Verkle trees provide reduced proof sizes that can be stored within each block of the Ethereum blockchain. As a result, nodes can use the data included in any block to validate it.

Implementing Verkle trees will result in a variety of new sorts of functionality, including lower hardware requirements for running Ethereum nodes, which is likely to increase network decentralization. New nodes can also join the network almost instantly and sync with it swiftly.

Verkle tree work is ongoing, and using the Ethereum protocol will necessitate several adjustments. This features a new data structure for storing network state, a new gas accounting model, a plan for migrating Ethereum’s state from Merkle to Verkle trees, new cryptographic primitives, and block-level fields.