StarkWare, the Israeli-based company that is behind popular Ethereum layer-2 scaling solutions StarkEx and StarkNet, today revealed plans to make its STARK Prover software open source.
To help the world’s largest smart contract platform achieve faster and cheaper transactions, StarkWare leverages the technology known as zero-knowledge rollups, which bundles hundreds of thousands of transactions together off-chain, and then verifies them on-chain for just a fraction of the cost.
The STARK Prover will be renamed to the Starknet Prover and placed under an Apache 2.0 license, which will allow Web3 developers to copy and alter the software's source code, and enable them to commercially distribute any copies or modifications they make without concern for royalties.
“This is a landmark moment for scaling Ethereum, and in a wider sense for cryptography,” StarkWare president and co-founder of Eli Ben-Sasson said during an event in Tel Aviv on Sunday.
This will put the STARK tech “in its rightful place, as a public good which will be used to benefit everyone,” he added.
Ethereum scaling “magic wand”
STARK is in a class of cryptographic protocols invented by Ben-Sasson and used by StarkNet and StarkEx to deliver scale while maintaining the security of the underlying Ethereum blockchain.
The codebase on which StarkWare is building the Starknet Prover is based on the software that has been in use since June 2020, proving transactions from well-known StarkEx-based decentralized applications (dApps) such as Immutable X, Sorare, and dYdX, among others. In this capacity, it has processed 327 million transactions, minted 95 million NFTs, and settled approximately $824 billion, according to the company.
StarkWare also said that making the Starknet Prover open-source will boost its accessibility to developers and promote collaboration within the community. The move will take time to implement and will mark the final phase of decentralizing the company’s technology stake once completed.
“We think of the Prover as the magic wand of STARK technology,” said Ben-Sasson. “But of course, it’s not actually magic, it’s sturdy cryptography and today we’re saying that everyone who wants should make it their own. They should know exactly how it works, modify the code, edit the code, and distribute it further.”
Previously, StarkWare open-sourced such elements as Cairo 1.0, the upgraded version of the native smart contract language for StarkNet, Papyrus Full Node, a Rust implementation of a StarkNet full node, and the new StarkNet Sequencer, a tool responsible for ordering the transactions and producing blocks.
The StarkWare president also took an opportunity to address issues the wider crypto industry faces following the FTX collapse, saying that the sector “is crying out” for solutions that will deliver scale and better user experience (UX) design.
To Ben-Sasson, these two aspects are “the key to giving people [the] confidence to choose a purer crypto experience, namely self-custody.”
“Every step we take to provide infrastructure and to make it accessible and decentralized is a catalyst for devs to build. And the quicker and more broadly they build, the faster we’ll see mass onboarding to solutions that truly enable people to manage their own funds. So there’s a direct line between open-sourcing key tech and popularizing self-custody,” he said.