What is StarkNet: A Guide for Developers

What is StarkNet Blockchain Complete Guide

Using the security of Ethereum, but the scalability of zk-rollups

In this guide for developers we take a look at StarkNet, an Ethereum scaling solution that uses zero-knowledge proofs to provide scalability. StarkNet has its own programming language, Cairo, but will allow dapp developers to move their Solidity dapps into the future-proof ecosystem. 

Contents

  1. What is StarkNet?
  2. What makes StarkNet an interesting Layer-2 solution for Ethereum? 
  3. Who made StarkNet?
  4. What problems does StarkNet solve?
  5. What is the StarkNet token, and how can you use it?
  6. Is StarkNet EVM compatible?
  7. What is Cairo?
  8. How to launch a decentralized application or dapp on StarkNet?
  9. What types of dapps can we launch on StarkNet?
  10. Can everybody launch a dapp on StarkNet?
  11. What is the native explorer for StarkNet?
  12. How to get a dapp on StarkNet listed on DappRadar?

What is StarkNet in a nutshell? 

StarkNet is a decentralized network built on top of the Ethereum blockchain, or technically best described as a decentralized validity-rollup or zk-rollup Layer-2 network. This layer on top of Ethereum enables applications to achieve scale without compromising the composability and security of the Ethereum mainnet.

What makes StarkNet an interesting Layer-2 solution for Ethereum? 

The Ethereum network is very decentralized, operated by validators across the globe and anybody is able to join and participate. However, the network doesn’t offer the technical features to allow the massive scale required for mainstream adoption. As more people join, the gas fees on Ethereum skyrocket and activity on Ethereum become available only to the rich elite. This is against the ethos of Web3, which dictates that everybody should be able to access and utilize the Ethereum blockchain and its decentralized applications. 

StarkNet is built as a layer on top of Ethereum, and is therefore called a Layer-2. StarkNet provides scale by producing STARK proofs off-chain, and then finalizing those on-chain. In layman’s terms, this means that it first processes many transactions and then finalizes them all at once on the Ethereum blockchain. Contrary to Ethereum itself, which handles each transaction on its own.

Who made StarkNet? 

StarkNet is made by StarkWare, an Israeli software developer of cryptographic proof systems designed to improve scalability and privacy in blockchains. StarkWare is also involved in the zero-knowledge Polygon blockchain in collaboration with Immutable X. However, right now StarkNet remains just as open and public as Ethereum, allowing anybody to see which wallet transacts which particular asset. The company was founded in 2018 by Uri Kolodny, Alessandro Chiesa, and Eli Ben-Sasson and is headquartered in Netanya, Israel.

What problems does StarkNet solve? 

The biggest problem Ethereum faces is that the increased adoption of blockchain technology comes with a high amount of transactions. This means that users need to compete through gas fees to have their transactions approved, making the entire ecosystem more elitist. It’s safe to say that from a scaling point of view the Ethereum network doesn’t work as intended, and mass adoption without the support of Layer-2 solutions such as StarkNet seems impossible. 

StarkNet means to solve the scaling issues of Ethereum without compromising its composability and security. StarkNet is a permissionless validity-rollup that taps into the security of Ethereum through its scalable cryptographic proof system STARK. 

This means that StarkNet as a Layer-2 can handle many times more transactions than Ethereum, providing scalability for a decentralized future.

What is the StarkNet token, and how can you use it? 

StarkNet has STRK or StarkNet token, a cryptocurrency used for transacting on the network and voting on blockchain governance decisions. In November 2022 the StarkNet token launched on Ethereum, held by shareholders, employees and independent partner software developers. These tokens are locked for four years, but will gradually release starting in November 2023.

Is StarkNet EVM compatible? 

At the moment StarkNet is not EVM compatible, but the team at Nethermind is working on a transpiler. This software is called Warp, and it will allow code written in Solidity to be compatible with Cairo, the programming language of StarkNet. 

What is Cairo? 

Cairo is the native programming language for StarkNet. All StarkNet smart contracts and the StarkNet OS utilize Cairo, a programming language for STARK-proving general computation. Why? Because StarkWare considers the programming language easier and faster to develop, review and maintain code. 

How can developers launch a decentralized application or dapp on StarkNet? 

Launching a decentralized application or dapp on StarkNet requires knowledge of Cairo. To start learning about code, you could start with the Hello Starknet tutorial. This will walk developers through writing and deploying a simple contract on StarkNet.

In addition, developers can refer to the Starknet Website page, which will provide tools and education created by the Starknet-Cairo community. For more support we suggest to join the Starknet Discord server.

What types of dapps can we launch on StarkNet? 

Decentralized applications on StarkNet are general purpose, meaning that the network supports all kinds of dapps ranging from DeFi, to NFT marketplaces and games. Developers can deploy any type of business logic on StarkNet, utilizing the Cairo programming language. Features such as Account Abstraction are also available, providing rich tools for dapp developers. 

Can all developers launch a dapp on StarkNet? 

StarkNet is designed to be a permissionless ecosystem where anybody can deploy a smart contract, similar to open platforms such as Ethereum. So yes, anybody can launch a dapp on StarkNet.

What is the native explorer for StarkNet?

StarkNet has at least two block explorers: Voyager and StarkScan. Similar to Etherscan and BSCscan, people can see and track each transaction, asset or wallet through the block explorers on StarkNet. 

How to get a dapp on StarkNet listed on DappRadar? 

Any StarkNet developer or enthusiast can list StarkNet dapps on DappRadar by submitting a dapp through the Developer Dashboard. Developers can provide information, screenshots and a video to allow their dapp to be discoverable within the DappRadar ecosystem. 

However, right now DappRadar does not yet track dapps in the StarkNet ecosystem, meaning that the platform does not show any data, including dapp data, trading volumes and token values. 

By listing a StarkNet dapp already, dapp developers can ensure that their smart contracts will be tracked immediately whenever the complete integration of StarkNet into DappRadar has been finalized. 

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