New Starknet version offers ‘unprecedented increase in capacity,’ co-founder says

Version 12 is expected to solve the major problems of the current Alpha and meet surge in demand

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Creativa Images/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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Starknet, the zero-knowledge rollup solution from Starkware, is readying a major upgrade. According to the company, thanks to the update, throughput — or transactions-per-second (TPS) — is expected to surpass not only Ethereum mainnet, but also all other existing layer-2s.

The version 12 upgrade, currently on testnet, is set to resolve a bottleneck of the current alpha deployment of Starknet — its sequencer.

In Ethereum’s rollup-centric scaling roadmap, there are two main varieties: Optimistic and zk (or validity) rollups.

Sequencers are common to both, but in the case of zk-rollups they process transactions before sending them to a prover, which generates the validity proofs that are passed on to Ethereum mainnet and underpin the rollup’s security.

Starkware President Eli Ben-Sasson likens the upgrade to that of an air intake pipe for an engine that turned out to be too narrow, preventing Starknet’s prized prover from performing at full capacity.

“The core innovation, the core engine is working at very high capacity, it was clogged…and now we’re replacing it,” Ben-Sasson told Blockworks.

Starknet’s sequencer was previously written in the Python programming language, but the new version replacing it was written in Rust, a more modern language which Ben-Sasson said makes it much faster — with the upgrade overall like going from the Wright Flyer to the Airbus A380.

Among general purpose zk-rollups currently available to the public, the top two in terms of activity are zkSync and Starknet, according to L2Beat. But they use two different proving systems: SNARKs and STARKs

Ben-Sasson, who co-invented STARKs, the technology upon which Starkware the company was built, points to several advantages of this prover: It doesn’t require a trusted setup, has built-in quantum computing resistance and — most important for scaling Ethereum — STARK-based provers are faster “by several orders of magnitude for the same payload,” he said.

That speed boost is why the Starkware community has adopted a nickname for the upgrade: “More TPS daddy” for which a signaling vote on Snapshot concludes Wednesday, with 87% in favor at press time.

The vote is open to delegates or holders of the Starknet token, STRK, which is not yet transferable or tradable, but has governance as its first of three utility functions. As the project decentralizes, the token will also be used to pay for fees on Starknet and be required for staking to run a sequencer or prover, using the project’s open-source code.

“So far everything that we open source, we always open source under an Apache 2.0 license, which I think is considered fully open source for all,” Ben-Sasson said.
That includes the smart contracts, programs written in Cairo — Starkware’s home-grown smart contract language — and Cairo’s compiler toolchain, but not yet the prover which Ben-Sasson said will be released under the same Apache 2.0 permissive license during “the decentralization phase” within about a year.

Starknet, the zero-knowledge rollup solution from Starkware, is readying a major upgrade. According to the company, thanks to the update, throughput — or transactions-per-second (TPS) — is expected to surpass not only Ethereum mainnet, but also all other existing layer-2s.

The version 12 upgrade, currently on testnet, is set to resolve a bottleneck of the current alpha deployment of Starknet — its sequencer.

In Ethereum’s rollup-centric scaling roadmap, there are two main varieties: Optimistic and zk (or validity) rollups.

Sequencers are common to both, but in the case of zk-rollups they process transactions before sending them to a prover, which generates the validity proofs that are passed on to Ethereum mainnet and underpin the rollup’s security.

Starkware President Eli Ben-Sasson likens the upgrade to that of an air intake pipe for an engine that turned out to be too narrow, preventing Starknet’s prized prover from performing at full capacity.

“The core innovation, the core engine is working at very high capacity, it was clogged…and now we’re replacing it,” Ben-Sasson told Blockworks.

Starknet’s sequencer was previously written in the Python programming language, but the new version replacing it was written in Rust, a more modern language which Ben-Sasson said makes it much faster — with the upgrade overall like going from the Wright Flyer to the Airbus A380.

Among general purpose zk-rollups currently available to the public, the top two in terms of activity are zkSync and Starknet, according to L2Beat. But they use two different proving systems: SNARKs and STARKs

Ben-Sasson, who co-invented STARKs, the technology upon which Starkware the company was built, points to several advantages of this prover: It doesn’t require a trusted setup, has built-in quantum computing resistance and — most important for scaling Ethereum — STARK-based provers are faster “by several orders of magnitude for the same payload,” he said.

That speed boost is why the Starkware community has adopted a nickname for the upgrade: “More TPS daddy” for which a signaling vote on Snapshot concludes Wednesday, with 87% in favor at press time.

The vote is open to delegates or holders of the Starknet token, STRK, which is not yet transferable or tradable, but has governance as its first of three utility functions. As the project decentralizes, the token will also be used to pay for fees on Starknet and be required for staking to run a sequencer or prover, using the project’s open-source code.

“So far everything that we open source, we always open source under an Apache 2.0 license, which I think is considered fully open source for all,” Ben-Sasson said.

That includes the smart contracts, programs written in Cairo — Starkware’s home-grown smart contract language — and Cairo’s compiler toolchain, but not yet the prover which Ben-Sasson said will be released under the same Apache 2.0 permissive license during “the decentralization phase” within about a year.


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