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README.md

Merkle

Merkle tree and other data structures.

Install

$ npm install @guildofweavers/merkle --save

Example

import { MerkleTree, createHash } from '@guildofweavers/merkle';

// create an array of values to put into a tree
const values = [
    Buffer.from('a'),
    Buffer.from('b'),
    Buffer.from('c'),
    Buffer.from('d')
];

// create a Merkle tree
const hash = createHash('sha256');
const tree = MerkleTree.create(values, hash);

// create a proof for the second position in the tree (value 'b')
const proof = tree.prove(1);
console.log(proof[0].toString()); // 'b'

// verify the proof
const result = MerkleTree.verify(tree.root, 1, proof, hash);
console.log(result); // true

API

You can find complete API definitions in merkle.d.ts. Here is a quick overview of the provided functionality:

Creating Merkle trees

You can use two methods to create a Merkle Tree from a list of values:

  • static create(values: Buffer[] | Vector, hash: Hash): MerkleTree
  • static createAsync(values: Buffer[] | Vector, hash: Hash): Promise<MerkleTree>

The meaning of the parameters is as follows:

Parameter Description
values Values that will form the leaves of the Merkle tree. If provided as an array of Buffer objects, all buffers are assumed to have the same length (otherwise, bad things will happen). Can also be provided as an object that complies with Vector interface.
hash A hash object that will be used to hash values and internal nodes.

Note: async method is currently just a placeholder. All it does is call the sync version and returns the result.

Creating Merkle proofs

Once you have a tree, you can use it to prove that a value is located at a certain index like so:

  • prove(index: number): Buffer[]
    The returned proof is an array which has the values as the first element, and nodes comprising the proof as all other elements.

You can also create a proof for many indexes at the same time:

  • proveBatch(indexes: number[]): BatchMerkleProof
    The resulting proof is compressed. So, if you need to prove membership of multiple values, this is a much more efficient approach.

Batch proof has the following form:

interface BatchMerkleProof {
    values  : Buffer[];
    nodes   : Buffer[][];
    depth   : number;
}

where, values are the leaves located at the indexes covered by the proof, nodes are the internal nodes that form the actual proof, and depth is the depth of the source tree.

Verifying Merkle proofs

Once you have a proof, you can verify it against a tree root like so:

  • static verify(root: Buffer, index: number, proof: Buffer[], hash: Hash): boolean
    This will return true if the value located at the first position in the proof array is indeed located at the specified index in the tree.

For the batched version use:

  • static verifyBatch(root: Buffer, indexes: number[], proof: BatchMerkleProof, hash: Hash): boolean
    Similarly to single-index version, this will return true if the values in proof.values are indeed located at the specified indexes in the tree.

Hash

A Hash object is required when creating Merkle trees and when verifying Merkle proofs. Internally, it is used for hashing of all values and tree nodes. To create a Hash object, you can use createHash() function:

  • createHash(algorithm: string, useWasm?: boolean): Hash
    Creates a Hash object for the specified algorithm. If useWasm is set to true, will try to instantiate a WebAssembly-optimized version of the algorithm. If WASM optimization is not available for the specified algorithm, Node's native implementation will be used.

  • createHash(algorithm: string, wasmOptions: WasmOptions): Hash
    Tries to create a WebAssembly-optimized Hash object for the specified algorithm and pass the provided options to it. If WASM optimization is not available for the specified algorithm, Node's native implementation will be used.

Currently, the following hash algorithms are supported:

Algorithm WASM-optimized
sha256 no
blake2s256 yes

Hash objects returned from createHash() function will have the following form:

interface Hash {
    readonly algorithm  : HashAlgorithm;
    readonly digestSize : number;

    digest(value: Buffer): Buffer;
    merge(a: Buffer, b: Buffer): Buffer;
}

where, digest(value) hashes the provided value, and merge(a,b) hashes a concatenation of values a and b.

Performance

Some very informal benchmarks run on Intel Core i5-7300U @ 2.60GHz (single thread) for generating a tree out of 220 values:

Hash Algorithm Native JS WASM (external) WASM (internal)
sha256 3.5 sec N/A N/A
blake2s256 3.2 sec 750 ms 650 ms

The difference between external and internal cases for WASM is that in the internal case, values from which the tree is to be built are already in WASM memory, while in the external case, they need to be copied into WASM memory.

Note: while WebAssembly-optimized version of Blake2s algorithm is much faster at hashing small values (i.e. 32-64 bytes), it is slower at hashing large values. For example, when hashing 1KB values, Node's native implementation is about 30% faster.

Batch proof compression

When you generate batch proofs, the proofs are compressed by removing redundant nodes. The table below shows an approximate size of batch proof for a given number of indexes against trees of a given size.

Tree leaves 32 indexes 64 indexes 128 indexes 256 indexes
210 5.2 KB (47%) 8.6 KB (39%) 13.4 KB (30%) 20.1 KB (23%)
212 7.0 KB (54%) 12.4 KB (48%) 20.6 KB (40%) 34.0 KB (33%)
214 9.2 KB (61%) 16.2 KB (54%) 28.6 KB (48%) 49.3 KB (41%)
216 11.0 KB (65%) 20.3 KB (60%) 36.5 KB (54%) 65.2 KB (48%)
218 13.1 KB (69%) 24.5 KB (63%) 44.6 KB (59%) 81.0 KB (53%)
220 15.1 KB (72%) 28.4 KB (68%) 52.5 KB (63%) 96.8 KB (58%)

The percentages next to proof sizes are ratios of the batch proof size to a naive proof size. For example, if you generate a batch proof for 32 indexes against a tree of 210 leaves, your proof will be about 5.2 KB, and that will be 47% of 32 individual proofs against the same tree.

References

  • Wikipedia article on Merkle trees.
  • Batch proof/verification use a variation of the Octopus algorithm from this paper.

License

MIT © 2019 Guild of Weavers

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