StarkNet is a Layer 2 solution aimed at alleviating network congestion issues on the Ethereum network by increasing throughput and reducing transaction fees. It uses zero-knowledge proofs (zk-STARK) technology to achieve scalability and privacy. With StarkNet, developers can build, deploy, and run high-performance smart contracts in a decentralized environment without worrying about high transaction fees or the security of smart contracts, especially for scenarios that require high performance and low transaction fees, such as DeFi, NFT, and GameFi.
The StarkNet ecosystem offers many interesting development directions for developers. By leveraging the flexibility and advanced features of the Cairo language, developers can build innovative applications. In addition, developers can leverage StarkNet’s high throughput transaction capabilities and customization to achieve high-performance and personalized application development. Meanwhile, the ZK-EVM project based on StarkNet provides developers with more choices, enabling them to deploy and run smart contracts in a more secure and efficient environment.
Advantages of Custom Development Environment
StarkNet adopts unique technical features such as zk-STARK technology, custom development language Cairo, and virtual machine Cairo-VM. Custom development environment brings higher performance, better security, and richer features. Developers can use Cairo programming language and STARKs verification mechanism to build secure and reliable smart contracts while enjoying high-performance transaction processing. Although there will be some friction, this friction is temporary, and developers can gradually adapt and benefit from it.
StarkNet adopts a custom development language Cairo and virtual machine Cairo-VM, which is different from the approach of other Layer2 solutions borrowing Ethereum components. Cairo is a custom programming language for the StarkWare ecosystem. The StarkWare ecosystem has optimized itself, while other Layer2 projects have optimized more for Ethereum. Although this choice sacrifices network effects that are fully compatible with Ethereum, it is difficult to argue against the rationality of this design choice, especially now that the author has clearly seen that Cairo’s network effects have achieved “escape velocity”.
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In future development, these technical features and innovations will bring potential value. As the importance of privacy protection and data security grows, StarkNet’s strong privacy protection mechanism will attract more users and applications. At the same time, StarkNet’s scalability and decentralization make it an effective solution to meet the demands of high throughput and security. As the blockchain ecosystem develops and demand grows, StarkNet’s technical features in providing high performance, security, and privacy protection will give it enormous potential value and stand out in the competition.
Projects Being Built in the Ecosystem
The core of the application ecosystem for StarkNet is the development of decentralized applications based on zero-knowledge proof technology that are high-performance, low-cost, and privacy-protected. StarkNet’s advantages are its ability to provide high throughput, low transaction costs, and privacy protection, making it widely applicable in areas such as decentralized exchanges and NFT markets. Here are some notable projects in the StarkNet ecosystem:
- JediSwap is a permissionless and composable AMM protocol built by the Mesh Finance community. The project is live on the StarkNet mainnet and currently has a Total Value Locked (TVL) of approximately $5 million. JediSwap received a grant of 150,000 STARK. JediSwap is innovative on StarkNet as a permissionless and composable AMM protocol, providing a more flexible and decentralized trading experience. As it is already live and has attracted some TVL, it has the potential for market influence and contributes to the DeFi application of the StarkNet ecosystem.
- Morphine is a DeFi lending protocol with use cases including passive and active borrowing. The protocol allows users to provide liquidity and earn returns through both primary and advanced strategies, and offers active borrowing, allowing users to borrow up to 15 times their collateral and access LSD, LP, ERC4626 and set automation. Morphine is innovative on StarkNet, providing a variety of lending strategies and features. Its flexibility and automation features are attractive to DeFi users. The project has the potential to have an impact in the market and drive the development of the StarkNet ecosystem.
- Orbiter Finance is a cross-chain solution whose infrastructure, Orbiter Bridge, allows asset transfers between various Rollups such as StarkNet and zkSync. Orbiter Finance is also developing zkProver, which is an intermediate layer that aggregates transactions using zero-knowledge technology and increases TPS and cross-Rollup transaction volume. Orbiter Finance’s cross-chain solution is innovative on StarkNet and provides convenience for asset transfer between StarkNet and other Rollups. The development of this project helps to build multi-chain interoperability and scalability, contributing to the development of StarkNet.
- DeversiFi: DeversiFi is a decentralized exchange that aims to achieve faster, safer transactions through StarkNet while maintaining connectivity to Ethereum.
- Realms (Bibliotheca DAO) was originally a Loot derivative project and is now a large-scale multiplayer on-chain game on StarkNet. Realms received a score from the StarkNet Foundation and a total of 150,000 STARK. As a multiplayer on-chain game, Realms provides an innovative gaming experience on StarkNet. Its score and STARK rewards demonstrate its importance and contribution to the StarkNet ecosystem.
- RYG.Labs is an NFT creative agency that is building interactive dynamic NFTs and providing NFT marketing solutions. RYG.Labs is building interactive dynamic NFTs on StarkNet and providing NFT marketing solutions, which is innovative in the NFT field. Its presence on StarkNet provides more options for the NFT market and promotes the development of the StarkNet ecosystem.
- The Ninth is a metaverse game on StarkNet, with gameplay including land purchase, upgrade, and staking. As a metaverse game based on StarkNet, The Ninth provides diverse gameplay and interactive experiences. Its potential market influence in the gaming and metaverse fields contributes to the development of the StarkNet ecosystem.
Other Web3 Innovations
- Argent X: The first wallet supported by StarkNet launched by Argent, which utilizes StarkNet native accounts abstraction to implement multisignature and passphraseless, while achieving lower transaction fees and faster confirmation times.
- Bravvos: Committed to providing a seamless Web2.0 user experience, usable on iOS, Android, and multiple browsers;
- Carbonable is a carbon tracking system based on StarkNet, which has completed seed round financing and attracted investment from multiple venture capital institutions. Carbonable’s carbon tracking system is innovative on StarkNet and can help track and manage carbon emissions. The development of this project is of great significance for environmental protection and sustainable development, and has a promoting effect on the StarkNet ecosystem.
- Dolven Labs is a DAO-based ecosystem Catalyst and also the center of permissionless DeFi tools in the StarkNet ecosystem. They have also built projects such as Starknet Social and StarkGuardians. Dolven Labs plays an important role in the StarkNet ecosystem, providing permissionless DeFi tools and other related projects. Its innovation and contribution in the DeFi and social network fields have a positive impact on the development of StarkNet.
- Herodotus is building a cross-chain data access solution based on storage proof, allowing smart contracts on StarkNet to access Ethereum chain data in the present and history without trust. Herodotus’s cross-chain data access solution is of great significance for achieving interoperability between StarkNet and Ethereum. The development of this project helps to expand the functionality of StarkNet and provide a wider range of data access capabilities for the blockchain ecosystem.
Overall, the key to the success of StarkNet’s application ecosystem is technical superiority, developer support, application scenarios, and ecosystem support. The development of StarkNet also needs extensive community support. If StarkNet can attract more developers, investors, and users, and receive more attention and recognition, then its ecosystem potential will be greater.
Growing Pains and Prospects
One of the biggest problems and bottlenecks that StarkNet’s application ecosystem may face in the future is competition, as there are many other Layer2 scaling solutions that are also working hard to develop, and in some ways even have more advantages than StarkNet. Therefore, it is necessary to continuously innovate and improve the technology to attract more developers and users. Another potential problem is network effect. As StarkNet is a relatively new technology, a large number of developers and users need to join in order to establish a strong network effect, so effective marketing and promotion are needed.
Another challenge facing StarkNet is to ensure the sustainability of the ecosystem. With the emergence of competitors and technological advances, StarkNet needs to continue to innovate and provide attractive features to maintain user loyalty and attractiveness. At the same time, StarkNet also needs to establish solid relationships with developers and partners to promote the development and growth of the ecosystem. Other challenges include:
- The adoption of the Cairo language limits developer participation: As Cairo is a new language, developers need to learn and adapt to this new programming language. This may be an additional learning curve for many developers and limit their ability to participate in the StarkNet ecosystem. In contrast, Ethereum’s EVM has a wider developer community, making it easier for developers to get started and build applications quickly.
- High throughput and low transaction costs are only advantageous in specific use cases: Although StarkNet demonstrates the advantages of high throughput and low transaction costs in specific use cases, this does not apply to all application scenarios. For certain applications, especially those that do not need to process a large number of transactions, these advantages may not be important. Therefore, the widespread adoption of StarkNet in various industries may require more verification and empirical evidence.
The author believes that StarkNet, with a technology-driven approach, has a clear positioning of their business model. They focus on providing solutions that users truly need, rather than just pursuing cool new technology. We also see some developers starting to flock to Cairo and STARK, seeing their potential and scalable solutions. Some projects are developing zkEVM based on StarkNet, such as Warp and Kakarot. These projects deploy zkEVM on StarkNet, further demonstrating the power of Cairo and StarkNet. Based on this, we believe that StarkNet has greater potential in areas such as full-chain games, contract wallets, cross-chain communication, and on-chain AI, where its technical features and innovations bring some key advantages to these areas.
- In the full-chain game field, StarkNet’s high throughput and low transaction costs make it an ideal choice for full-chain games. By bundling multiple L2 transactions into a single transaction on Ethereum, StarkNet can spread the cost of transactions to other transactions in the same batch, achieving cost reduction. In addition, StarkNet’s high performance and low communication requirements increase network speed and improve network throughput, bringing better production efficiency and consumption experience to full-chain games.
- In the field of contract wallets, StarkNet’s native account abstraction allows contract wallets to achieve functionality similar to hardware wallets. Contract wallets enable the encryption chip/module of a phone to sign transactions directly, achieving hardware-level security. In addition, StarkNet’s signature verification is highly programmable and can be optimized at the wallet layer through signature transcription and other technologies to improve the performance and security of contract wallets.
- In terms of cross-chain communication, StarkNet’s decentralized characteristics and security design make it a reliable cross-chain communication solution. By using zero-knowledge proofs, StarkNet can verify and prove without revealing transaction details, protecting data privacy and security. This provides higher credibility and security for cross-chain communication, promoting data exchange and interoperability between different chains.
- In the field of on-chain AI, StarkNet’s technical features allow for off-chain execution of calculations and on-chain verification of generated proofs. This allows AI and machine learning models to perform calculations on-chain without exposing sensitive data and model details. StarkNet’s zero-knowledge proof function can be used to verify the correctness of AI calculations, increasing user trust in the results. This provides new possibilities for on-chain AI applications such as games, oracles, transaction automatic revenue, anti-witch, KYC, etc.
For the future of the StarkNet ecosystem, it is foreseeable that with the continuous development and innovation of technology, StarkNet is expected to maintain its competitiveness in expansion and development. However, it needs to address challenges such as sustainability, comparison with competitors, and attracting user growth. Through continuous innovation and close cooperation with developers and users, StarkNet may continue to develop and bring diversified application scenarios to the Ethereum ecosystem.