A Merkle tree is a data structure that organizes data into a tree format where each leaf node is a hash of data, and each non-leaf node is a hash of its child nodes, culminating in a single top hash, the Merkle root, which represents the entirety of the data.

Merkle Tree Explained

A Merkle tree, fundamental in blockchain technology, ensures data integrity and efficient verification. Named after Ralph Merkle, it condenses data into a single hash, known as the Merkle root.

Understanding the Merkle Tree

Imagine a family tree for computer files. Files A, B, C, and D each have a unique code. Pairing these codes and repeating the process leads to a single ‘parent code’ at the top—the Merkle root.

Functionality of Merkle Trees

When verifying file B’s integrity, only B’s code and the parent code are needed. Any alteration in B changes its code, affecting the entire tree. This ensures no unnoticed modifications.

Merkle trees break down data sets, enabling nodes to verify transactions without the entire block. This reduces blockchain size and boosts efficiency.