Storage Optimization with StorePacking

Bit-packing is a simple concept: Use as few bit as possible to store a piece of data. When done well, it can significantly reduce the size of the data you need to store. This is especially important in smart contracts, where storage is expensive.

When writing Cairo smart contracts, it is important to optimize storage usage to reduce gas costs. Indeed, most of the cost associated to a transaction is related to storage updates; and each storage slot costs gas to write to. This means that by packing multiple values into fewer slots, you can decrease the gas cost incurred to the users of your smart contract.

Cairo provides the StorePacking trait to enable packing struct fields into a fewer number of storage slots. For example, consider a Sizes struct with 3 fields of different types. The total size is 8 + 32 + 64 = 104 bits. This is less than the 128 bits of a single u128. This means we can pack all 3 fields into a single u128 variable. Since a storage slot can hold up to 251 bits, our packed value will take only one storage slot instead of 3.

fn main() {
use starknet::{StorePacking};
use integer::{u128_safe_divmod, u128_as_non_zero};

#[derive(Drop, Serde)]
struct Sizes {
    tiny: u8,
    small: u32,
    medium: u64,

const TWO_POW_8: u128 = 0x100;
const TWO_POW_40: u128 = 0x10000000000;

const MASK_8: u128 = 0xff;
const MASK_32: u128 = 0xffffffff;

impl SizesStorePacking of StorePacking<Sizes, u128> {
    fn pack(value: Sizes) -> u128 {
        value.tiny.into() + (value.small.into() * TWO_POW_8) + (value.medium.into() * TWO_POW_40)

    fn unpack(value: u128) -> Sizes {
        let tiny = value & MASK_8;
        let small = (value / TWO_POW_8) & MASK_32;
        let medium = (value / TWO_POW_40);

        Sizes {
            tiny: tiny.try_into().unwrap(),
            small: small.try_into().unwrap(),
            medium: medium.try_into().unwrap(),

mod SizeFactory {
    use super::Sizes;
    use super::SizesStorePacking; //don't forget to import it!

    struct Storage {
        remaining_sizes: Sizes

    fn update_sizes(ref self: ContractState, sizes: Sizes) {
        // This will automatically pack the
        // struct into a single u128

    fn get_sizes(ref self: ContractState) -> Sizes {
        // this will automatically unpack the
        // packed-representation into the Sizes struct


Optimizing storage by implementing the StorePacking trait

The pack function combines all three fields into a single u128 value by performing bitshift and additions. The unpack reverses this process to extract the original fields back into a struct.

If you're not familiar with bit operations, here's an explanation of the operations performed in the example: The goal is to pack the tiny, small, and medium fields into a single u128 value. First, when packing:

  • tiny is a u8 so we just convert it directly to a u128 with .into(). This creates a u128 value with the low 8 bits set to tiny's value.
  • small is a u32 so we first shift it left by 8 bits (add 8 bits with the value 0 to the left) to create room for the 8 bites taken by tiny. Then we add tiny to small to combine them into a single u128 value. The value of tiny now takes bits 0-7 and the value of small takes bits 8-39.
  • Similarly medium is a u64 so we shift it left by 40 (8 + 32) bits (TWO_POW_40) to make space for the previous fields. This takes bits 40-103.

When unpacking:

  • First we extract tiny by bitwise ANDing (&) with a bitmask of 8 ones (& MASK_8). This isolates the lowest 8 bits of the packed value, which is tiny's value.
  • For small, we right shift by 8 bits (/ TWO_POW_8) to align it with the bitmask, then use bitwise AND with the 32 ones bitmask.
  • For medium we right shift by 40 bits. Since it is the last value packed, we don't need to apply a bitmask as the higher bits are already 0.

This technique can be used for any group of fields that fit within the bit size of the packed storage type. For example, if you have a struct with multiple fields whose bit sizes add up to 256 bits, you can pack them into a single u256 variable. If the bit sizes add up to 512 bits, you can pack them into a single u512 variable, and so on. You can define your own structs and logic to pack and unpack them.

The rest of the work is done magically by the compiler - if a type implements the StorePacking trait, then the compiler will know it can use the StoreUsingPacking implementation of the Store trait in order to pack before writing and unpack after reading from storage. One important details, however, is that the type that StorePacking::pack spits out also has to implement Store for StoreUsingPacking to work. Most of the time, we will want to pack into a felt252 or u256 - but if you want to pack into a type of your own, make sure that this one implements the Store trait.