I've been reading some papers about using blockchain in VANETs (Vehicular Adhoc Networks).
Some of them have mentioned something called a chronological merkle tree (CMT). Is this different from the normal merkle tree? Here is a quote from one of them:

The chronological Merkle tree (CMT) is the underlying data structure of the conventional blockchain

this paper can be found here: Here

  • $\begingroup$ I presume that this is just a Merkle tree where the branches / leafs are chronologically ordered according to a point in time that is apparent from the data that was hashed. There must be a way to know which data is first when hashing anything, after all; an unordered set would be able to produce different hashes as you need to do some kind of ordering before you can start to hash. $\endgroup$
    – Maarten Bodewes
    Nov 5, 2019 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ @MaartenBodewes so for example we could say that the leftmost leaf is always the oldest (has an older timestamp) among other leafs? $\endgroup$
    – Abol_Fa
    Nov 6, 2019 at 11:51
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, that was I meant, and hopefully also what was meant by VANET, but I don't know that protocol. $\endgroup$
    – Maarten Bodewes
    Nov 6, 2019 at 19:32

1 Answer 1


Let's assign indices to the leaves of the Merkle tree: from left to right we number the leaves $0$, $1$, $\ldots$, $2^n-1$, or 0000, 0001, ..., 1111 in binary. When we now walk from the root to a leaf, at each node 0 means taking the left branch and 1 means taking the right branch (when viewed from above).

Initially we have an empty tree. If we start adding elements, we need to insert them at some index (= at some leaf).

If we choose the the indices incrementally, we obtain a dense or chronological Merkle tree. There are only leaves on the left, all the leaves on the right are empty. This also means that there is a large empty subtree on the right.

If we choose the indices randomly, we obtain a sparse Merkle tree. Empty and non-empty leaves are randomly distributed across the tree.


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