Hardware Accelerated Reusable Merkle Tree Generation for Bitcoin Blockchain Headers

Kiseok Jeon, Junghee Lee, Bumsoo Kim, James J. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As the value of Bitcoin increases, the difficulty level of mining keeps increasing. This is generally addressed with application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC), but block candidates are still created by the software. The overhead of block candidate generation is relatively growing because the hash computation is boosted by ASIC. Additionally, it is getting harder to find the target nonce; If it is not found for a block candidate, a new block candidate must be generated. A new candidate can be generated to reduce the overhead of block candidate generation by modifying the coinbase without selecting and verifying transactions again. To this end, we propose a hardware accelerator for generating Merkle trees efficiently. The hash computation for Merkle tree generation is conducted with ASIC to reduce the overhead of block candidate generation, and the tree with only the modified coinbase is rapidly regenerated by reusing the intermediate results of the previously generated tree. Our simulation results demonstrate that the execution time can be reduced by up to 98.92% and power consumption by up to 99.73% when the number of transactions in a tree is 2048.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-72
Number of pages4
JournalIEEE Computer Architecture Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jul 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Thisworkwas supported by the Korea University grant and Institute of Information & communications Technology Planning and Evaluation (IITP) grant funded by the Korea Government (MSIT) under Grants 2021-0-00532 (Blockchain scalability solutions supporting high performance/capacity transactions, 40%), 2021-0-00528 (Development of Hardware-centric Trusted Computing Base and Standard Protocol for Distributed Secure Data Box, 40%), 2021-0-00518 (High performance blockchain privacy preserving techniques based on commitment, encryption, and zero-knowledge proofs, 20%).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2002-2011 IEEE.


  • bitcoin
  • Blockchain
  • blockchain headers
  • coinbase
  • Merkle tree
  • mining
  • reusable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture


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