Ethereum nodes only need to store the state, instead of the entire blockchain history. Blockchain history can be validated through parsing of the encrypted tree. Any wrong item is going to change the hash for every branch above it. Now one of the issues with this is it could be a security risk, because there could be fewer heavy nodes with all the transactions, and you could fake things to the light nodes.
When you’re running heavy nodes, it would find this far down in the chain and discover that there was an issue. One of the ways that Ethereum gets around this is they require every miner to run a full node. To learn more about Ethereum and their philosophies, and to really get an understanding of the value proposition of Ethereum, a great place to start is the Ethereum White Paper. It’s not too long and is not as intense as the Ethereum Yellow Paper, which is very in-depth. Ethereum is going to be moving to proof of stake soon.
What this means is that it will no longer require mining, which is a proof of work concept, but rather anyone who owns a certain amount of coins will be able to stake that coin and their processing power will then be used in order to solve all the problems and make sure that the blockchain is secure. In addition, moving to proof of stake will lower the energy requirements of the entire Ethereum network, because mining is very energy intensive. So in the end, the thing to remember is that Ethereum is a blockchain that supports apps.
Ethereum blockchain has many of the features that come with other blockchains, like Bitcoin, a mutability, redundancy, public records and more, however the main difference is that it was written to support programming and managing stake, and that’s what makes it a powerful tool for developers.