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What is a Merkle Tree?

The Merkle tree is a data structure used in computer and cryptography sciences. In the cryptocurrency market, the merkle tree refers to a data structure that contains the summary of transactions made with the hash function in the blockchain. Merkle tree; It helps in the easy and efficient verification of transaction blocks in the blockchain. In this article, you can find the answer to the question of what is a merkle tree.


The Merkle tree was discovered by Ralph Merke. Ralph Merke patented the concept of merkle tree in 1979 and mentioned the concept of merkle tree in his article "Digital Signature Based on Traditional Encryption Function" published in 1987. A Merkle tree is a schema-shaped data structure that contains hash hashes. The hash codes of the hash data in the Merkle tree are listed as a schema from the bottom to the top. In the Merkle tree, adding the hashes in the bottom diagram together determines the value of the top hashes.


The integrity of the data in the system is ensured by the Merkle tree and hash data in a schema and by sequentially collecting the hash values ​​from bottom to top. It is used in data transfers from person to person, peer-to-peer, and verifying the transferred data. Using the Merkle tree, it can be understood whether the transferred data or data blocks are damaged or forged. The accuracy of these blocks can be verified with the merkle tree.


How Merkle Tree Works?


Merkle trees are made up of hash hashes in blocks. At the bottom of the Merkle tree is the transaction data. The hash value (hash code) of this data is obtained by running the hash function. Afterwards, the values at the bottom of the hash chart are added to each other and the obtained value is added to the lines above. As a result of this process, the merkle tree is built. At the end of the process, the hash value in the diagram above is expressed in terms such as root hash or merke root. The calculated root hash value reflects whether there are errors in the blocks. In case of incompatibility in the values that make up the root hash, the algorithm in the system continues to operate with hash functions until it creates an error-free merkle root.


Why is Merkle Tree Used in Bitcoin?


It provides ease of operation to miners who want to verify blocks on the Bitcoin blockchain. Miners on the Bitcoin blockchain verify blocks by running the hash function. In the Bitcoin blockchain, data is sorted and placed in the merkle tree. Afterwards, the root hash is obtained by working with the algorithm hash functions. The resulting root hash can also be used in further mining operations. In this way, miners can continue their transactions by hashing only the root hash instead of hashing all blocks. The Merkle tree also provides solutions on the blockchains of cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin.