Verkle Trees: Paving a New Path to Ethereum Decentralization

icon ETH
icon DATA
icon FOR
Photo - Verkle Trees: Paving a New Path to Ethereum Decentralization
Ethereum, the frontrunner in smart contract platforms, is preparing for an upgrade that might substantially enhance its decentralization through the use of Verkle trees (distinct from Merkle trees!). This anticipated shift aims to cut down the amount of data essential for the network's infrastructure, making it both more user-friendly and resilient.

What are Verkle Trees? ?

Currently, the Ethereum validators need to locally store vast amounts of data, crucial for transaction verification and maintaining blockchain integrity. Yet, an upcoming overhaul will usher in a cryptographic method termed Verkle trees. This approach allows the creation of nodes that don't need to record the blockchain's full state.

Ethereum's core developer, Preston Van Loon, suggests that this change will diminish the basic node setup requirement from a hefty 500-800 GB down to less than 1 GB. Consequently, users will only need to monitor fresh blocks that haven't been solidified within the network yet.

Impact on Decentralization ?

Introducing stateless nodes has the potential to greatly amplify Ethereum's decentralization. At present, a notable 35% of Ethereum nodes are hosted on Amazon's servers in a singular data center. This kind of centralization brings with it an inherent risk, especially if any issues arise with this main hub.

With the incorporation of Verkle trees, Ethereum's capacity could grow from a mere 10,000 nodes to millions. As Marius van der Wijden, an Ethereum Core developer, elaborates, these new stateless nodes will have minimal memory and bandwidth demands, paving the way for users to operate them directly from their smartphones.

Broadening User Autonomy and Opportunities ?

Transitioning to stateless nodes will also grant Ethereum users the autonomy to independently authenticate the network's condition. As it stands, those without the means or know-how to operate their own nodes are dependent on wallet providers like MetaMask for verification of the blockchain's status. This creates a dependency and trust in external parties.

By curbing the costs associated with data transmission, it becomes feasible for wallets to embed these nodes within their offerings, empowering users to effortlessly validate Ethereum's status on their local devices. This shift not only bolsters the security for users but also ensures adherence to the legitimate blockchain.

Merkle Trees vs Verkle Trees ?

The forthcoming update will pivot Ethereum's dependency from Merkle trees. While the Merkle structure necessitates extensive data to authenticate specific blocks, Verkle trees streamline this by only storing the parent-child data and bypassing all the sibling blocks. Consequently, nodes can cross-check data without full awareness of Ethereum's blockchain state.

Introducing Verkle Trees: The Roadmap ⏳

The process of migrating to Verkle trees is intricate and expected to be time-consuming. Before the Ethereum developers can immerse themselves in this integration, they have the upcoming Cancun update on their slate, which prominently features the long-awaited EIP-4844, targeting a reduction in transaction fees for L2 networks.

The roll-out of Verkle trees will undeniably be a monumental leap towards fortifying Ethereum's decentralization. By adopting stateless nodes, streamlining data prerequisites, and amplifying user functionalities, Ethereum is set to emerge as a more robust, user-friendly, and accessible platform.

Has been exploring the enigmas of the crypto industry since 2017, transforming them into accessible narratives. Relies on dark chocolate and nuts as a secret source of energy and inspiration.