Starkware commits to open source its ‘magic wand’ Starknet Prover

Ethereum layer 2 scaling solution StarkWare announced plans to open source its proprietary Starknet Prover under the Apache 2.0 license, which has processed 327 million transactions and minted 95 million nonfungible tokens (NFTs) to date. 

The prover is the crucial engine Starkware uses to roll up hundreds of thousands of transactions and compress them into a tiny cryptographic proof written on the Ethereum blockchain.

“We think of the Prover as the magic wand of Stark technology. It wondrously generates the proofs that allow unimaginable scaling,” said Eli Ben-Sasson, president and co-founder of Starkware.

Eli Ben-Sasson presenting at the Starkware sessions 2023. Source: Cointelegraph

Starkware has faced criticism from the crypto community and competing solutions such as ZK Sync and Polygon for holding onto the IP behind its tech, which contradicts blockchain’s open source and interoperable ethics.

Making the prover open source under the Apache 2.0 license will enable any other project or network — or even games or database developers — to make use of the technology, edit the code and customize it. The tech was released in 2020 and is already being used by ImmutableX, Sorare and dYdX.

A sneak peek of the Starkware sessions 2023. Source: Cointelegraph

Avihu Levy, Starkware’s head of product, was reluctant to commit to a time frame for open-sourcing the prover but said it would occur after the token launch and decentralization of Starknet itself. He agreed, however, that it would be possible this year.

“We want to move forward with a decentralized, permissionless network and that means that you need to have this critical component out there,” he revealed speaking to Cointelegraph.

Levy said the decision to open source the prover showed Starkware was increasingly confident about its technology and said it would also enable projects to be more confident about using it as a crucial part of their protocols.

“In StarkEx, it’s sometimes considered vendor lock-up or lock-in. So the commitment wasn’t just a business commitment it was a technology commitment to StarkEx,” he explained.

“This is a strong signal that you will have everything you need to run it yourself independent of Starkware.”

Starkware has already open-sourced its programming language and EVM competitor Cairo 1.0, Papyrus Full node and is in the process of open-sourcing its new sequencer.

Related: StarkNet overhauls Cairo programming language to drive developer adoption

Ben-Sasson launched the Starkware Sessions conference in Tel Aviv on Sunday, which organizers said was the largest layer 2 conference held so far.

“This is a landmark moment for scaling Ethereum,” he told about 500 developers and guests. “It will put Stark technology in its rightful place, as a public good which will be used to benefit everyone.”

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