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A record is a tree of byte sequences and optional hashes, primarily used to store public keys, envelopes, messages, or other data.

A record may look as follows:

    Mountain hike
      2015-08-05 09:00:00 UTC
      2015-08-05 17:00:00 UTC
  confirmed attendees
    John  # 34bf..7e
    Bob   # a529..10


Each tree node of a record contains:

Nodes are ordered, but the order does not always matter. The root node is not stored.

Byte sequences

Byte sequences may contain arbitrary data. Their encoding and interpretation is protocol- or application-specific. The following encodings are suggested:

Data type Value (byte sequence)
Text A UTF-8 sequence of Unicode characters.
Boolean value true: a non-zero-length byte sequence, usually 0x79 (ASCII "y")
false: a zero-length byte sequence
Integer with sign A big-endian signed integer.
Integer A big-endian unsigned integer.
Fixed-point number A signed or unsigned integer shifted by a predefined number of bits.
Floating-point number A single-precision (4 bytes) or double-precision (8 bytes) IEEE floating point number.
Reference to an
An empty byte sequence, and the object hash.
Reference to an
encrypted object
The AES key (32 bytes), and the object hash.
Date A signed integer, denoting the number of milliseconds that have passed since epoch.
Revision An unsigned integer, denoting the number of milliseconds that have passed since epoch, or 0 to indicate that no revision has been stored yet (far past).

Since the overhead of a node is small, it is usually not worth packing multiple values into a single node, and easier to create a small subtree. An exception are arrays of a fixed-length data type, such as arrays of 4-byte integers.


Records, or parts thereof, may be interpreted as key-value dictionaries:

(root or parent)
  key 1
    value 1
  key 2
    value 2

Key nodes usually hold a short ASCII sequence — preferably using lowercase characters, spaces and dashes only — and must be unique. Their order has no importance.

The corresponding value is stored in the child nodes. Often, there is only one such value node for each key.


Records, or parts thereof, may be interpreted as tables:

(root or parent)
  primary key of row 1
    content of cell A1
    content of cell B1
  primary key of row 2
    content of cell A2
    content of cell B2

The first row may contain column headers.

Serialization draft

A record object has the following structure:

H Hashes Condensation header Nodes Encrypted object data 4 H ⨯ 32 bytes

Nodes are stored in depth-first traversal order. The root node is omitted. Each node is encoded as follows:

F L H Byte sequence 1 B bytes 0‒8 0‒4

The bits of F have the following meaning:

7 2 0 4 6 5 3 1 0 1 No hash Hash 1 1 Node has children Node has more siblings B = 0 B = 30 + L B = L 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 B = 29 0 1 1 1 L has 8 bytes L has 1 byte L has 0 bytes L has 0 bytes H has 4 bytes H has 0 bytes

Bits 6 and 7 along with the node order encode the tree structure.

L and H are stored as unsigned big-endian integers of the indicated length. H is the index of a hash in the object header. Multiple nodes may refer to the same hash.

Merge semantics

Merge semantics are application- or protocol-specific.