Starkware Takes Stark Prover Open Source, as Investors Back Decentralized Development

StarkWare, the Israeli-based blockchain company that specializes in Ethereum layer-2 scaling solutions, on February 5 announced plans to open-source the code behind STARK Prover at the StarkWare sessions 2023 event.

STARK Prover is the core cryptographic software tool that is part of the “STARK” system, powering the StarkEx scaling engine and StarkNet, the two platforms built to solve the scalability issues of Ethereum. These increase transaction throughput while lowering costs with what is known as cero-knowledge rollups technology.

Rebranded to StarkNet Prover, its code will be made publicly available under the Apache 2.0 license. This allows software developers to review, copy or alter the source code, integrating them into their own solutions without concerns for copyright infringement or royalties.

This is not the first time for StarkWare to make its proprietary technologies open source. The company has previously open-sourced the software Papyrus and StarkNet’s new sequencer as well as programming language Cairo 1.0. 

“This is a landmark moment for scaling Ethereum, and in a wider sense for cryptography, putting the STARK tech in its rightful place as a public good which will be used to benefit everyone,” said Eli Ben-Sasson, president and co-founder of StarkWare.

The move is viewed as the protocol’s initiative in further decentralizing the platform. 

Contrary to crypto projects that often use proprietary licenses when funds are raised from traditional venture capitals, StarkWare, backed by Sequoia Capital among others, have decided to follow the development team’s desire to make the entire tech stack open-source.

“From day one, we have consistently engaged investors who have shared our vision of the future. We are building for the long haul,” noted Uri Kolodny, co-founder and CEO of StarkWare in an interview with TechCrunch in May 2022.

By fully attaining decentralization, the company seeks to promote collaboration within the developer community, enhancing quality and technological innovation through transparency.

Despite receiving funds from non-crypto-native venture capitals, StarkWare’s successful pivot towards decentralization may suggest that there is a chance for firms to attract investment opportunities as decentralization continues to solidify and scale.

Based on data provided by the company in a tweet in November 2022, StarkWare plays a significant role in Ethereum L2 scaling, powering 58% of all Ethereum L2 transactions for dApps such as Immutable, Sorare and dYdX. Since 2020, STARKS has settled 265M transactions and minted 80M NFTs. 

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