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# Kate commitments in ![](https://i.imgur.com/WcqsJ99.png)ETH
An engineering and implementation perspective
*Disclaimer*: this document just collates, links and include work published across many articles and contributions. the respective credits (including of images extracted from these links) goes to the respective authors/developers of the work.
*ps*: Special thanks goes to **[Ethereum R & D discord](https://discord.gg/2sBGYZtv)** (especially to @vbuterin and @piper ) for helping understand some of the aspects of Kate. Additional gratitude to @vbuterin for reviewing the document.
*pps*: This document was developed for the benefit of 🌟 [lodestar](https://github.com/ChainSafe/lodestar) team, an awesome ETH POS client in works based on typescript enabling *ETH everywhere*, but also to enable the author's understanding of the ETH ecosystem and innovations.
Hopefully this will benefit other developers/techies from all around the world. All rights of this work waived through [CC0](https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/)
## Motivation
A wholesome guide to familiarize, summarize and provide pointers to deep dive into proposed used of **Kate Commitments** while staying in **[ethereum](https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/ethereum/)**'s context.
Aim of the document is more summarization and less rigor, but **please follow the links** as they explain in detail what is being talked about.
## Some Basics
##### Note-1: Hash is just a commitment to the value being hashed, proof is checking the integrity of Hash w.r.t data.
For e.g. `h1=H(t1,t2,t3..)`, and give `h1` to the verifier (for e.g. in a block header), and then give a tempered block `(t1,t2',t3...)`, one would be able to fast calculate the integrity of the block and reject it as the tempered block.
Similarly *root* of a *[merkle tree](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merkle_tree)* is a **commitment** to the leaves and their indexes (paths), or in short to the map of `indexes => values`.
![](https://i.imgur.com/yfUVL86.png)
*[Proof](https://medium.com/crypto-0-nite/merkle-proofs-explained-6dd429623dc5)* here is the *merkle branch* and its *sibling hashes* which can be used to check the consistency all the way to the *merkle root*.
![](https://i.imgur.com/v0qFAx0.png)
[Trie it out here](https://github.com/ftruzzi/ethereum-learning-notes/blob/master/01-understanding-the-trie.md):wink:.
##### Note-2: correspondence between a data map and a polynomial
The map of `indexes => values` can be represented as a [polynomial](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polynomial) `f(x)` which takes the value `f(index)=value` courtesy of [Lagrange Interpolation ](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagrange_polynomial). This `f(index)=value` is called *evaluation form* and the more typical representation `f(x)=a0+ a1.x + a2.x^2...` is called *coefficient form*. Intuitively, we *fit* a polynomial on the `(index,value)` points.
![](https://i.imgur.com/zttn0WD.png)
For optimizations, and for one to one mapping between polynomial and data map, instead of just `index` as `x` in `f(x)`, `w^index` is used i.e. `f(w^index)=value` where `w` is the `d`th [root of unity](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Root_of_unity) where `d` is the degree of the polynomial (the maximum index value we are trying to represent), so that [FFT](https://vitalik.ca/general/2019/05/12/fft.html) can be deployed for efficient polynomial operations like multiplication and division which are of the `O(d)` in evaluation form and can be converted back into *coefficient form* in `O(d*log(d))`. So its still beneficial to keep `d` small.
![](https://i.imgur.com/AdtiDuL.png)
##### Note-2.1: Ethereum's state is a map from `addresses => (version,balance,nonce,codeHash,storageRoot)`
![](https://i.imgur.com/TaKFUVU.png)
## Background
Ethereum currently use merkle trees and more specifically [patricia merkle tries](https://blog.ethereum.org/2015/11/15/merkling-in-ethereum/) to commit to [EVM data](https://www.lucassaldanha.com/content/images/2018/12/summary-final.png) (EVM state, block transactions or transaction receipts and may be in near future contract code as well) , that can be
* inserted/updated block by block to arrive at the new root hash(commitment) in an incremental way
* inspected and proved block by block (or even transaction by transaction) by the verifier
`Trie` structure here gives that piece by piece capability.
![](https://i.imgur.com/vDYAUgz.png)
Given a large `d`-ary trie with size `N` leaves, any leaf change will take `O(log-d(N))` nodes updation (all the way to the root) to compute the new `root` reflecting new state, which requires additional `(d-1)*O(log-d(N))` sibling nodes Hashes/Commitments as witnesses for both time (and space if light clients are to be served). In a block, which is a batched update of lets say `m` random leaf updates where `m<<N`, only a very small percentage of nodes will be expected to share the witnesses and computations and hence the update `Order` wouldn't change much for per update.
This problem is compounded even further (because of size of the witness data) in following scenarios:
* a partly fast sync protocol like *beam sync* which can download and fast verify blockheaders to arrive to the latest canonical head of the chain (without building the state) and start participating in the network consensus while incrementally building its state by fetching witnesses of missed/not yet loaded state.
* to serve *light nodes* who only wants to concern themselves with a particular sliced view of the blockchain.
* going full stateless any transactions or contract operations will bundle their own witnesses to prove the correctness of the data input as well as output.
* blockchain sharding where the validators are shuffled between various shards and it would not be feasible to construct full state.
* code merklization where accessing code segments will need to bundle witnesses for those code chunks
* state expiry protocols where state witnesses for an address would need to be rebundeled to resurrect the state of an account.
In an experiment on [stateless ethereum](https://medium.com/@akhounov/data-from-the-ethereum-stateless-prototype-8c69479c8abc), the block proof sizes of *1MB* were observed (of which majority of them were *merkle proofs*), which would even blow up in multiples in times of an attack.
![](https://i.imgur.com/ylCWXGx.png)
One way to get around this is [binary merkle trees](https://medium.com/@mandrigin/stateless-ethereum-binary-tries-experiment-b2c035497768) taking `d` out of the picture but then the depth of tree would increase but it would still remain `O log(N)`
![](https://i.imgur.com/bxYP0Fg.jpg)
## Why Kate?
Following properties are desirable for any [ideal commitment scheme](https://ethresear.ch/t/open-problem-ideal-vector-commitment/7421) to have for committing to data in the block headers
1. A small size (48 bytes) that can easily fit into block header but still has strong security guarantees.
2. Easy to prove that commitment was created using a subset of chunkified data
3. Very small and ideally constant proof size
4. For tracking state it should be easy to make changes (to `index=>value` map) in an incremental way
[Kate commitment](https://www.iacr.org/archive/asiacrypt2010/6477178/6477178.pdf) based constructions are the result of search of pursuing such an ideal scheme. Vanilla Kate excel at first three.
![](https://i.imgur.com/JmxZSj1.png)
## What is Kate
[Kate commitment]((https://www.iacr.org/archive/asiacrypt2010/6477178/6477178.pdf)) as such is just another Hashing scheme, but it doesn't Hash 'bytes', it hashes polynomials.
It actually is the *evaluation* of the polynomial `f(x)` at a secret (fixed) *value* `s` but represented on an [elliptical curve](https://blog.cloudflare.com/a-relatively-easy-to-understand-primer-on-elliptic-curve-cryptography/) i.e. `[f(s)]=f([s])`, which requires a trusted setup ( of the sorts of zcash genesis) to generate `[s]`, `[s^2]`, ... `[s^d]` (to plug into the polynomial wherever there is `x^i`) where `d` is the max degree we would deal in.
![](https://i.imgur.com/fQsIP0E.gif)
Here notation `[t]` means elliptical curve value at point `t` which is basically `t[1]` i.e. generator `[1]` of the additive group on the elliptical curve added `t` times (`modulo Fp`). All operations on the curves are some `modulo Fp` where `Fp` imposes some *field* on the curve.
##### Note:3.0 any/every `value` in the `indexes=>values` map has also to be [represented on an elliptical curve as curve element ](https://github.com/protolambda/eth2-das/blob/master/spec/data_as_points.md) `[value]` to calculate commitment (as you will see later). This imposes restriction on size of `value` to be `modulo Fp` ~ *BLS Curve order* ~ somewhere between `31-32` bytes. For simplicity, it gets restricted to `31` bytes, any bigger `value` will need to be *chunkified* and appropriately represented with its `index`s (or truncated).
![](https://i.imgur.com/v7eUSTH.gif)
##### Note3.1: `[t]` can be treated as Hash of `t` as obtaining `t` from `[t]` is *discrete log problem* known to be intractable for secure curves.
##### Note3.2: `s` is a secret and should be unknown forever to all/any but elliptical curve points `[s]`, `[s^2]`...`[s^d]` as well as evaluation on another curve `[s]'` (whose generator is `[1]'`, only `[s]'` is required) are generated, known, shared and public at trusted setup time.
These are sort of *system parameters* which define the security of out entire system, as knowing `s` would allow the attacker to construct any sort of *proofs*. So in a multi party trusted setup where `N` participants come together to generate the setup in a protocol of combining their own local `s`, even if `1` participant is honest and destroys his contributing `s`, the system is fully secure. i.e. risk is ~ `1/N` and higher the number of participants, lower the risk!
##### Note3.3: `[]` is a linear operator i.e. `[x]+[y]=[x+y]`. also `a[x]=[ax]`
As mentioned before, we represent our data map (`index=>value`) as `f(w^index)=value` i.e. *evaluation form* of the polynomial (or in other words we *fitted* a polynomial here on these `(w^index,value)` points).
So Kate commitment `C(f)` of a polynomial `f(x)` is elliptical curve point `f([s])` which can be computed by plugging `[s]`,`[s^2]` ... into expanded form of `f(x)`.
##### Note3.4: `f(s)` can't be computed as `s` is unknown but `C(f)=[f(s)]=f([s])` can be!
##### Note3.5: Commitment of `f(x)`: `C(f)=[f(s)]` is also a linear operator i.e. `C(f+g)=C(f)+C(g)`.
*Rollups/Aggregators* can use this property to update the commitments. In evaluation form, updating an evaluation point will lead to complete change in `f(x)` but still its commitment `C(f)` can still be easily updated using this property
##### Note3.6: if a setup `[s]`,`[s^2]`...`[s^d]` is performed for upto `d` exponents, then its impossible to represent commitment of any polynomial with degree `>d` and viceversa.
As there is no way multiply two curve points to get another curve point in secure curves, so `[s^(d+k)]` can't be evaluated (ever!) and conversely it can be argued that any commitment `C(f)` can only represent a polynomial of degree `<=d`.
##### Note3.7: proofs using the kate always try to show that `f(x) - some remainder` can be factored in a particular way, but this requires a way to *multiply* the factors and compare with the original commitment `C(f)=f([s])`.
For this we need *[pairing equation](https://vitalik.ca/general/2017/01/14/exploring_ecp.html)* which is just a multiplication scheme for two points on curve and comparing it with the candidate point, since we can't directly multiply two curve points to get the resultant curve point.
##### Note3.8: above two properties can be further used to *prove* that the polynomial `f(x)` a particular commitment `C(f)` represents, is of a low degree `k` (`< d`)
So whats the good thing about this:
* [Verification of the commitment](https://dankradfeist.de/ethereum/2020/06/16/kate-polynomial-commitments.html) can be done by providing another evaluation (provided by the block generator) `y=f(r)` of the underlying polynomial at **any** point `r` and evaluation of the quotient polynomial `q(x)=(f(x)-y)/(x-r))` at `[s]` i.e. `q([s])` and comparing with the previously provided commitment `f([s])` using the *pairing equation*
This is called *opening* the commitment at `r`, and `q([s])` is the *proof*. one can easily see that `q(s)` is intuitively the quotient `p(s)-r` divided by `s-r` which is exactly what we check using the pairing equation i.e. check `(f([s])-[y]) * [1]'= q([s]) * [s-r]'`
* In non interactive and deterministic version [Fiat Shamir Heuristic](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat%E2%80%93Shamir_heuristic) provides a way for us to get that relative **random** point `r` as randomness only matters with respect to inputs we are trying to prove. i.e. once commitment `C=f([s])` has been provided, `r` can be obtained by hashing all *inputs* (`r=Hash(C,..)`), where the *commitment provider* has to provide the *opening* and *proof*.
* Using [precomputed Lagrange polynomials](https://notes.ethereum.org/nrQqhVpQRi6acQckwm1Ryg?view#Lagrange-polynomials), `f([s])`,`q([s])` can be [directly computed](https://notes.ethereum.org/AALpIfEzRWWExA5EVzLjOA) from the *evaluation form*. To compute an *opening* at `r`, you would convert the `f(x)` to *coefficient form* `f(x)=a0+ a1*x^1....` (i.e. extract `a0`,`a1`,...) by doing the *inverse FFT* which is `O(d log d)`, but even there is a [substitute algorithm available](https://ethresear.ch/t/kate-commitments-from-the-lagrange-basis-without-ffts/6950/6) to do it in `O(d)` without applying (inverse)`FFT`.
* You can prove multiple evaluations of `f(x)` at their respective `index`s, i.e. multiple `index=>value` i.e. `index1=>value1`, `index2=>value2` ... `indexk=>valuek` i.e. `k` data points using the single *opening* and *proof*
* `q(x)` the quotient polynomial (to calculate proof) is now the quotient if we divide `f(x)` by the zero polynomial `z(x) =(x-w^index1)*(x-w^index2)...(x-w^indexk)`
* remainder `r(x)` (`r(x)` is a max degree `k` polynomial that interpolates `index1=>value1`, `index2=>value2` ... `indexk`=`valuek` )
* check `( f([s])-r([s]) )* [1] ' = q([s]) * z([s]')`
In the sharded setup of the POS chain where the sharded data blobs will be represented as a low degree polynomial (and extended for *erasure coding* into twice its size using the same *fitted* polynomial), the Kate commitment can be checked against *random* chunks to validate and establish *availability* without needing *siblings datapoints* and hence enabling [random sampling](https://hackmd.io/yqfI6OPlRZizv9yPaD-8IQ#Data-sampling-and-sharding-in-POS-protocol).
Now, for a state with possible `2^28` account keys, you would require atleast `2^28` degree polynomial (total account keys space can be *much much* bigger) for just a *flat* commitment construction. There are some downsides to that if updates and inserts are to be done. And any change in any one of those accounts will trigger the computation of the commitment (and more problematic witnesses/proofs)
#### Updates to Kate
* Any change into any of the lets say `k` `index=>value` points, let say at `indexk`, will require `k` to update the commitment again using the corresponding [Lagrange polys](https://notes.ethereum.org/nrQqhVpQRi6acQckwm1Ryg?view#Lagrange-polynomials) ~`O(1)` per update
* However, since `f(x)` has changed, all the witness `q_i([s])` i.e. witness of `i` th `index=>value` will need to be updated ~ `O(N)`
* If we don't maintain precomputed `q_i[s]` *witnesses*, any witness calculation from **scratch** requires `O(N)`
* [A construction to update Kate](https://ethresear.ch/t/updating-and-generating-kate-witnesses-in-amortized-sqrt-n-time/7520) in amortized `sqrt(N)`
Hence for the 4rth point of [ideal commitment](https://hackmd.io/yqfI6OPlRZizv9yPaD-8IQ#Why-Kate) we need a special construction: **Verkel tries**
## Verkle tries
The ethereum state that needs to be represented is `2^28 ~= 16^7 ~= 250m` size `indexes=> values` map. If we just build a flat commitment (`d` we would need will be atleast ~`2^28`) then despite our proof still being `O(1)` of the size of `elliptical curve element` of 48 bytes, any [insert or update](https://hackmd.io/yqfI6OPlRZizv9yPaD-8IQ?view#Updates-to-Kate) will require either `O(N)` updates to all precomputed *witnesses* (the `q_i(s)` of all the points, as `f(x)` has now changed) or `O(N)` on the fly computation per witness if no precomputed witnesses are maintained.
Hence we need to move away from a flat structure to something called *[Verkle Trees](https://notes.ethereum.org/_N1mutVERDKtqGIEYc-Flw)* which you will notice is also a [trie](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trie) like its *merkle* counterpart.
![](https://i.imgur.com/2nHMrfm.png)
i.e. Build a commitment tree in same way as merkle, where we can keep `d` low at each node of the tree (but can still go as high as ~`256` or `1024`).
* Each parent is the commitment that encodes the commitment of their children as children are a map of `index => child values` where `index` is the child's `index` at that particular parent node.
* Actually the parent's commitment encode the Hashed child nodes as the input to the commitment is standardized `32` bytes size values ([check note on size](https://hackmd.io/yqfI6OPlRZizv9yPaD-8IQ#Note30-anyevery-value-in-the-indexesgtvalues-map-has-also-to-be-represented-on-an-elliptical-curve-as-curve-element-value-to-calculate-commitment-as-you-will-see-later-This-imposes-restriction-on-size-of-value-to-be-modulo-Fp--BLS-Curve-order--somewhere-between-31-32-bytes-For-simplicity-it-gets-restricted-to-31-bytes-any-bigger-value-will-need-to-be-chunkified-and-appropriately-represented-with-its-index)).
* The leaves encode the commitment to the chunk of `32` byte hash of data that those leaves store or directly to data if its only `32` byte data as in case of proposed *State Tree* as mentioned in next section. ([check note on size](https://hackmd.io/yqfI6OPlRZizv9yPaD-8IQ#Note30-anyevery-value-in-the-indexesgtvalues-map-has-also-to-be-represented-on-an-elliptical-curve-as-curve-element-value-to-calculate-commitment-as-you-will-see-later-This-imposes-restriction-on-size-of-value-to-be-modulo-Fp--BLS-Curve-order--somewhere-between-31-32-bytes-For-simplicity-it-gets-restricted-to-31-bytes-any-bigger-value-will-need-to-be-chunkified-and-appropriately-represented-with-its-index))
* to provide the proof of a branch (analogous to merkle branch proofs), a [multi-proof commitments](https://notes.ethereum.org/nrQqhVpQRi6acQckwm1Ryg) `D`,`E` can be generated along with their openings at point *relatively random* point `t` again using fiat shamir heruristic.
#### Order
This is an analysis of [verkle branch multi proof](https://notes.ethereum.org/nrQqhVpQRi6acQckwm1Ryg)
* Updates/inserts to the leaf `index=>value` will required `log_d(N)` commitment updates ~ `log_d(N)`
* To generate proof, prover would also require
* evaluating `f_i(X)/(X-z_i)` at `[s]` for `D` which is in total `O(d log_d N)`, but can be pushed to save precomputes at update/inserts which will push its order to `O d log_d(N)`
* evaluating `m`~`O( log_d(N) )` number of terms: `f_i(t)` to evaluate `h(t)` which is total `O (d log_d N)`
* evaluating `π`, `ρ` which requires division of sum of `m~ log_d N` exponent-ed polys ~`O(d log_d N)` to get to the evaluation form of the numerator in order to compute the division
* proof size (including branch commitments for calculating `E`) plus verification order ~ `O( log_d(N) )`
### Verkle Trees Construction Scenarios
#### Proposed [ETH State Verkle Tree](https://ethereum-magicians.org/t/proposed-verkle-tree-scheme-for-ethereum-state/5805)
A single trie structure for account *header*, *code chunks* as well as *storage chunks* with node commitments of degree `d=256` polys
* combines address and header/storage slot to derive a 32 bytes `storageKey` which essentially is a representation of the tuple `(address,sub_key,leaf_key)`
* First 30 bytes of the derived key are used for normal verkle tree node pivots constructed
* Last 2 bytes are depth-2 subtrees to represent maximum `65536` chunks of `32` bytes([check note on size](https://hackmd.io/yqfI6OPlRZizv9yPaD-8IQ#Note30-anyevery-value-in-the-indexesgtvalues-map-has-also-to-be-represented-on-an-elliptical-curve-as-curve-element-value-to-calculate-commitment-as-you-will-see-later-This-imposes-restriction-on-size-of-value-to-be-modulo-Fp--BLS-Curve-order--somewhere-between-31-32-bytes-For-simplicity-it-gets-restricted-to-31-bytes-any-bigger-value-will-need-to-be-chunkified-and-appropriately-represented-with-its-index))
* For basic data, the dept-2 subtree has maximum *4* leaf commitments to cover header + code
* For storage a chunk of `65536*32` bytes is represented as a single depth-2 subtree, there can be many such subtrees in the main trie for storage of an account.
* Proposed [GAS schedule](https://notes.ethereum.org/@vbuterin/witness_gas_cost_2)
* access events of the type `(address, sub_key, leaf_key)`
* `WITNESS_CHUNK_COST` for every unique access event
* additional `WITNESS_BRANCH_COST` for every unique `address,sub_key` combination
#### Code merklization
Code will automatically become part of verkle trees as the part of unified state tree.
* header and code of a block are all part of a single depth-2 commitment tree
* at max 4 witnesses for chunks with `WITNESS_CHUNK_COST` and one main `WITNESS_BRANCH_COST` for accessing account.
## Data sampling and sharding in POS protocol
One of the goals of ETH POS is to enable to commit ~1.5MB/s of data (think this throughput as the state change throughput and hence transaction throughput that layer 2 rollups can use and eventually layer 1 EVM) into the chain. To achieve this, many parallel proposals will be done and verified at any given *~`12` second slot*, and hence multiple (`~64`) *data shards* will exists, each publishing its own *shard blob* every slot. *Beacon block* will include the *shard blobs* which have `>2/3` voting support, and the *fork choice rule* will determine if the *beacon block* is canonical based on the **availability** of all the blobs on that *beacon block and its ancestors*.
##### Note-3: shards are not chains here, any implied order will need to be *interpreted* by layer 2 protocols
Kate commitment can be used to create [data validity and availability scheme](https://hackmd.io/@vbuterin/sharding_proposal) without clients accessing full data published across shards by the shard proposer.
![](https://i.imgur.com/hIMRX86.png)
* Shard blob (without erasure coding) is `16384` (`32 byte` [check note on size](https://hackmd.io/yqfI6OPlRZizv9yPaD-8IQ#Note30-anyevery-value-in-the-indexesgtvalues-map-has-also-to-be-represented-on-an-elliptical-curve-as-curve-element-value-to-calculate-commitment-as-you-will-see-later-This-imposes-restriction-on-size-of-value-to-be-modulo-Fp--BLS-Curve-order--somewhere-between-31-32-bytes-For-simplicity-it-gets-restricted-to-31-bytes-any-bigger-value-will-need-to-be-chunkified-and-appropriately-represented-with-its-index)) samples `~512kB` with the shard header comprising mainly of corresponding max *`16384` degree polynomial commitment* to these samples
* But the domain `D` of the evaluation representation of polynomial is `2*16384` size i.e. `1`,`w^1`,...`w^`,... `w^32767` where `w` is the `32768`th `root of unity` and not `16384`.
* This enables us to *fit* a max `16384` degree polynomial on the data (`f(w^i)=sample-i` for `i<16384`), and then extend(evaluate) it to `32768` places (i.e. evaluate `f(w^16384)` ... `f(w^32767` ) as erasure coding samples
* **proofs** of evaluations at each of these points are also calculated and bundled along with samples
* Any of the `16384` samples out of `32768` can be used to fully recover `f(x)` and hence the original samples i.e. `f(1)`,`f(w^1)`,`f(w^2)`... `f(w^16383)`
* `2048` chunks of these *erasure coded* `32768` samples (each chunk containing `16` samples i.e. `512 byte` chunks) are published by the *shard proposer* horizontally (`i`th chunk going to 'i'th vertical subnet along with their respective proof), plus globally publishing the `commitment` of the full blob.
* Each *validator* downloads and checks chunks (and validates with the commitment of the respective blob) across the `k~20` vertical subnets for the assigned `(shard,slot)` to establish `availability guarantees`
* We need to allocate enough *validators* to a (shard,slot) so that *collaboratively* half (or more) of the data is covered for these with some statistical bounds `~128` committee per `(shard,slot)` out of which atleast `~70+` should attest to *availability and validity* i.e. `2/3` of the committee attesting for successful inclusion of shard blob in the beacon chain.
* `~262144` validators (`32` slots * `64` shards * `128` minimum committee size)` required
## Benchmarks
As we can see from the [POC verkle go library](https://github.com/gballet/go-verkle) after one time building of `verkle` for the size of state tree, the inserts and updates to `verkle` will be pretty fast.
![](https://i.imgur.com/FuJfsKj.png)
![](https://i.imgur.com/FgGd2Eb.png) ![](https://i.imgur.com/wNZSjmX.png)
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