In an interview with The Defiant’s Camila Russo, Starkware founders Eli Ben-Sasson and Uri Kolodny boldly stated that their ZK-Rollup technology will allow Ethereum to process 1,700 transactions per second. This threshold has long been referred to as the holy grail in Ethereum scaling, as it unlocks the potential to bring credit card transaction processing to the blockchain.
How Zero Knowledge Proofs Scale Ethereum
Starkware is a company that builds Ethereum layer two scaling solutions that use zero-knowledge proofs known as zk-STARKS (Zero-Knowledge Scalable Transparent Arguments of Knowledge). These proofs increase the transaction capacity of mainnet Ethereum without compromising security. This allows for several orders of magnitude in scalability at a fraction of the cost of a typical transaction on Ethereum.
Their two flagship products are StarkNet and StarkEx. StarkNet, like another layer two blockchains, performs transactions and relays transaction data back to the Ethereum mainnet in batches secured by STARK proofs. As a result of this Ethereum compatibility, StarkNet benefits from the security and composability of Ethereum while also scaling Ethereum’s transaction capacity. StarkEx is a permissioned version of StarkNet designed explicitly for use with DeFi trading applications like dYdX, sorare, and Immutable X.
In simple terms, Starkware has created a secure process for which transaction computations are done off-chain, which is much cheaper. This leaves only the verification process, which requires a fraction of the calculation, to be done on-chain. The result is surpassing limitations on Ethereum that keep it at processing around 12 transactions per second. Both founders say this will allow for the creation of apps that could have never been possible on the blockchain.
Supporting Applications That Are Not Feasible on Ethereum
The existing use cases of StarkEx are prime examples of what is possible through StarkNet. The derivatives trading platform dYdX eliminated gas fees, offers faster transaction speed, reduced trading fees, and lower minimum trade sizes than is usually possible on a decentralized exchange.
Immutable X aims to become the “NFT blockchain” of the future, hosting different Web3 games and NFT-based decentralized applications. Some of the blockchain games that Immutable X currently supports are Illuvium, Gods Unchained, Guild of Guardians, and more.
Currently, StarkEx has processed 230 million transactions that have facilitated the transfer of $711 billion in trading volume. Additionally, over 65 million NFTs have been minted on the chain. This is huge compared to the estimated 11 million NFTs stamped on Ethereum alone.
At the end of the interview, Uri and Eli confirmed that a governance token is planned for StarkNet. StarkNet is currently in an open alpha stage with many DeFi applications already functioning. Users are encouraged to interact with existing applications to be eligible for a future governance token airdrop potentially. Some big names in DeFi, like AAVE and MakerDAO, are building new versions of their apps on StarkNet to take advantage of the faster and cheaper chain. Users can find more information on live apps on StarkNet through their website.