what's up with these trees?

you're bluffing if you say you know what verkle trees are

For the first of many posts to come, I thought I'd write about Verkle trees (don't worry, I had no idea what they were too). I first came across this concept in my feed, posted by the main man himself.

And this cartoon doggo's reply pretty much speaks to what I had in mind.

So I did some digging and here's what I could gather.

Some notes I made about the topic (resources linked at the end)

Verkle Trees are like a new and improved way of organizing information in Ethereum that can make things faster and more efficient. They help reduce the amount of data needed to run the network, making it easier for new computers to join in. This technology aims to make Ethereum more scalable and decentralized. It's kind of like upgrading from a regular tree structure to a more advanced one that takes up less space and works better.

  • Verkle Trees combines Vector Commitments and Merkle Trees (the current data structure used by Ethereum) to benefit Ethereum.

About Merkle Trees

Imagine the Merkle Patricia Trie as a filing system for Ethereum, where each piece of information is like a puzzle piece. When you make a change, the whole puzzle changes, ensuring everything stays in order. It's like having a well-organized library where you can quickly find the book you need.

Read the original Ethereum docs for better context (linked at the end).

  • They offer smaller proof sizes, lower hardware requirements, faster synchronization, potential scaling benefits, and improved decentralization.

  • Transition methods from Merkle structure to Verkle Trees include Overlay Method, Conversion Node, Local Bulk, and State Expiry.

  • Verkle Trees aim to enable stateless verification of blocks, reducing disk-space requirements and supporting sharding setups.

  • Gas cost adjustments are necessary for the successful implementation of Verkle Trees.

  • Stateless clients, made possible by Verkle Trees, allow for block validation without needing all state data.

  • The target for Verkle Trees to be available on the mainnet is set for sometime in 2024.

Some questions I had

How do Verkle Trees help in reducing the hardware requirements for running an Ethereum node?

By enabling smaller proof sizes and statelessness, eliminating the need for nodes to store state when verifying blocks.

What are some potential scaling advantages of implementing Verkle Trees in the Ethereum network?

Some potential scaling advantages include higher gas limits, improved network functionality, and easier verification of block data.

How do Verkle Trees contribute to improving decentralization in the Ethereum network?

By enabling smaller witness sizes, supporting sharding setups, and allowing semi-light clients to verify block correctness without needing to store the full state.

Thoughts?

This is far from a technical deep dive into the topic and by no means a one-size-fits-all introduction to Verkle trees either. As a non-technical web3 explorer, I'm hoping this writing opens up a conversation to connect those who know more about a topic with those who don't know much (me). Here's to getting 1% better each day :)

Resources

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