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The Merkle tree is a way to compress large input data into a single string of characters. It is a method of organizing data in a network that ensures its efficiency and reliability. The algorithm is fundamental to the operations of many cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and ETH. The concept is widely used in the blockchain industry and the concept is incorporated into operations of Bitcoin and Etherum. It allows one to verify a transaction without keeping a copy of every single transaction that has ever occurred on the blockchain. It simplifies the process and ensures the efficiency and scalability of the network.