Permissionless blockchains such as Bitcoin have long been criticized for their high computational and storage overhead. Unfortunately, while a number of proposals address the energy consumption of existing Proof-of-Work deployments, little attention has been given so far to remedy the storage overhead incurred by those blockchains. In fact, it seems widely acceptable that full nodes supporting the blockchains have to volunteer hundreds of GBs of their storage, to store and verify all transactions exchanged in the system. In this paper, we explore the solution space to effectively reduce the storage footprint of Proof-of-Work based blockchains. To do so, we analyze, by means of thorough empirical measurements, how existing full blockchain nodes utilize data from the shared ledger to validate incoming transactions/blocks. Based on this analysis, we show that it is possible for full nodes to locally reduce their storage footprint to approximately 15 GB, without any modification to the underlying protocol. We also discuss other client-side strategies to further reduce the storage footprint while incurring negligible computational overhead on the nodes.

2022 IEEE Blockchain Conference (IEEE Blockchain)
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