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The store package defines the interfaces, types and abstractions for Cosmos SDK modules to read and write to Merkleized state within a Cosmos SDK application. The store package provides many primitives for developers to use in order to work with both state storage and state commitment. Below we describe the various abstractions.



The bulk of the store interfaces are defined here, where the base primitive interface, for which other interfaces build off of, is the Store type. The Store interface defines the ability to tell the type of the implementing store and the ability to cache wrap via the CacheWrapper interface.

CacheWrapper & CacheWrap

One of the most important features a store has the ability to perform is the ability to cache wrap. Cache wrapping is essentially the underlying store wrapping itself within another store type that performs caching for both reads and writes with the ability to flush writes via Write().

KVStore & CacheKVStore

One of the most important interfaces that both developers and modules interface with, which also provides the basis of most state storage and commitment operations, is the KVStore. The KVStore interface provides basic CRUD abilities and prefix-based iteration, including reverse iteration.

Typically, each module has it's own dedicated KVStore instance, which it can get access to via the sdk.Context and the use of a pointer-based named key -- KVStoreKey. The KVStoreKey provides pseudo-OCAP. How a exactly a KVStoreKey maps to a KVStore will be illustrated below through the CommitMultiStore.

Note, a KVStore cannot directly commit state. Instead, a KVStore can be wrapped by a CacheKVStore which extends a KVStore and provides the ability for the caller to execute Write() which commits state to the underlying state storage. Note, this doesn't actually flush writes to disk as writes are held in memory until Commit() is called on the CommitMultiStore.


The CommitMultiStore interface exposes the the top-level interface that is used to manage state commitment and storage by an SDK application and abstracts the concept of multiple KVStores which are used by multiple modules. Specifically, it supports the following high-level primitives:

  • Allows for a caller to retrieve a KVStore by providing a KVStoreKey.
  • Exposes pruning mechanisms to remove state pinned against a specific height/version in the past.
  • Allows for loading state storage at a particular height/version in the past to provide current head and historical queries.
  • Provides the ability to rollback state to a previous height/version.
  • Provides the ability to to load state storage at a particular height/version while also performing store upgrades, which are used during live hard-fork application state migrations.
  • Provides the ability to commit all current accumulated state to disk and performs Merkle commitment.

Implementation Details

While there are many interfaces that the store package provides, there is typically a core implementation for each main interface that modules and developers interact with that are defined in the Cosmos SDK.


The iavl.Store provides the core implementation for state storage and commitment by implementing the following interfaces:

  • KVStore
  • CommitStore
  • CommitKVStore
  • Queryable
  • StoreWithInitialVersion

It allows for all CRUD operations to be performed along with allowing current and historical state queries, prefix iteration, and state commitment along with Merkle proof operations. The iavl.Store also provides the ability to remove historical state from the state commitment layer.

An overview of the IAVL implementation can be found here. It is important to note that the IAVL store provides both state commitment and logical storage operations, which comes with drawbacks as there are various performance impacts, some of which are very drastic, when it comes to the operations mentioned above.

When dealing with state management in modules and clients, the Cosmos SDK provides various layers of abstractions or "store wrapping", where the iavl.Store is the bottom most layer. When requesting a store to perform reads or writes in a module, the typical abstraction layer in order is defined as follows:

iavl.Store <- cachekv.Store <- gaskv.Store <- cachemulti.Store <- rootmulti.Store

Concurrent use of IAVL store

The tree under iavl.Store is not safe for concurrent use. It is the responsibility of the caller to ensure that concurrent access to the store is not performed.

The main issue with concurrent use is when data is written at the same time as it's being iterated over. Doing so will cause a irrecoverable fatal error because of concurrent reads and writes to an internal map.

Although it's not recommended, you can iterate through values while writing to it by disabling "FastNode" without guarantees that the values being written will be returned during the iteration (if you need this, you might want to reconsider the design of your application). This is done by setting iavl-disable-fastnode to true in the config TOML file.


The cachekv.Store store wraps an underlying KVStore, typically a iavl.Store and contains an in-memory cache for storing pending writes to underlying KVStore. Set and Delete calls are executed on the in-memory cache, whereas Has calls are proxied to the underlying KVStore.

One of the most important calls to a cachekv.Store is Write(), which ensures that key-value pairs are written to the underlying KVStore in a deterministic and ordered manner by sorting the keys first. The store keeps track of "dirty" keys and uses these to determine what keys to sort. In addition, it also keeps track of deleted keys and ensures these are also removed from the underlying KVStore.

The cachekv.Store also provides the ability to perform iteration and reverse iteration. Iteration is performed through the cacheMergeIterator type and uses both the dirty cache and underlying KVStore to iterate over key-value pairs.

Note, all calls to CRUD and iteration operations on a cachekv.Store are thread-safe.


The gaskv.Store store provides a simple implementation of a KVStore. Specifically, it just wraps an existing KVStore, such as a cache-wrapped iavl.Store, and incurs configurable gas costs for CRUD operations via ConsumeGas() calls defined on the GasMeter which exists in a sdk.Context and then proxies the underlying CRUD call to the underlying store. Note, the GasMeter is reset on each block.

cachemulti.Store & rootmulti.Store

The rootmulti.Store acts as an abstraction around a series of stores. Namely, it implements the CommitMultiStore an Queryable interfaces. Through the rootmulti.Store, an SDK module can request access to a KVStore to perform state CRUD operations and queries by holding access to a unique KVStoreKey.

The rootmulti.Store ensures these queries and state operations are performed through cached-wrapped instances of cachekv.Store which is described above. The rootmulti.Store implementation is also responsible for committing all accumulated state from each KVStore to disk and returning an application state Merkle root.

Queries can be performed to return state data along with associated state commitment proofs for both previous heights/versions and the current state root. Queries are routed based on store name, i.e. a module, along with other parameters which are defined in abci.RequestQuery.

The rootmulti.Store also provides primitives for pruning data at a given height/version from state storage. When a height is committed, the rootmulti.Store will determine if other previous heights should be considered for removal based on the operator's pruning settings defined by PruningOptions, which defines how many recent versions to keep on disk and the interval at which to remove "staged" pruned heights from disk. During each interval, the staged heights are removed from each KVStore. Note, it is up to the underlying KVStore implementation to determine how pruning is actually performed. The PruningOptions are defined as follows:

type PruningOptions struct {
// KeepRecent defines how many recent heights to keep on disk.
KeepRecent uint64

// Interval defines when the pruned heights are removed from disk.
Interval uint64

// Strategy defines the kind of pruning strategy. See below for more information on each.
Strategy PruningStrategy

The Cosmos SDK defines a preset number of pruning "strategies": default, everything nothing, and custom.

It is important to note that the rootmulti.Store considers each KVStore as a separate logical store. In other words, they do not share a Merkle tree or comparable data structure. This means that when state is committed via rootmulti.Store, each store is committed in sequence and thus is not atomic.

In terms of store construction and wiring, each Cosmos SDK application contains a BaseApp instance which internally has a reference to a CommitMultiStore that is implemented by a rootmulti.Store. The application then registers one or more KVStoreKey that pertain to a unique module and thus a KVStore. Through the use of an sdk.Context and a KVStoreKey, each module can get direct access to it's respective KVStore instance.


func NewApp(...) Application {
// ...

bApp := baseapp.NewBaseApp(appName, logger, db, txConfig.TxDecoder(), baseAppOptions...)

// ...

keys := sdk.NewKVStoreKeys(...)
transientKeys := sdk.NewTransientStoreKeys(...)
memKeys := sdk.NewMemoryStoreKeys(...)

// ...

// initialize stores

// ...

The rootmulti.Store itself can be cache-wrapped which returns an instance of a cachemulti.Store. For each block, BaseApp ensures that the proper abstractions are created on the CommitMultiStore, i.e. ensuring that the rootmulti.Store is cached-wrapped and uses the resulting cachemulti.Store to be set on the sdk.Context which is then used for block and transaction execution. As a result, all state mutations due to block and transaction execution are actually held ephemerally until Commit() is called by the ABCI client. This concept is further expanded upon when the AnteHandler is executed per transaction to ensure state is not committed for transactions that failed CheckTx.