StarkNet makes Cairo 1.0 open source in first step toward community control
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Zero-knowledge (ZK) Rollup technology company StarkWare has officially announced its new programming language translator, Cairo 1.0, which will soon be supported on the Ethereum layer-2 scaling solution on StarkNet in the first quarter of 2023.
The news was announced by StarkWare — the company behind StarkNet — in a Twitter post on Nov. 25. StarkWare’s aggregation technology and recursive proofs offer the ability to compress millions of transactions in L2 into a single transaction in Ethereum, but the project has been criticized for maintaining control over its IP address, especially by its more open source-focused rival zkSync.
StarkWare described the open acquisition in Cairo as a “milestone move” in its efforts to hand over more control and intellectual property rights to its community and developers. Cairo is a programming language written specifically to take advantage of the power of zk-rolls and validations.
The day has come: a first look at Cairo 1.0, fully open source
This is a big step towards open-sourcing the StarkNet stack
You can now explore the new syntax, compile and run simple programs locally. #StarkNet support coming soonhttps://t.co/0tdZDhopEP
– StarkWare (@StarkWareLtd) November 24, 2022
StarkWare stated that developers can now try out Cairo 1.0 by compiling and running simple applications until it is fully supported on StarkNet in the first quarter of 2023.
According to Abdelhamid Bakhta, Starkware Exploration Lead and former Ethereum core developer, Cairo 1.0 will enable faster feature development at that stage and increase community participation.
“We will continue to open source the StarkNet technology stack, starting with Cairo 1.0. We do this to realize the vision of StarkNet as a public good that anyone can use and that the community can continually improve,” he said.
“On a practical level, this maximizes the transparency of our code and coding process. And it strengthens the community’s ability to find bugs and improve the compiler. This sense of community involvement grows and grows with each piece of open source technology.”
Once in production, Cairo 1.0 will also allow blockchain developers to write and deploy smart contracts on StarkNet, according to StarkWare’s Medium post.
StarkWare added that because Cairo 1.0 makes every calculation “provable,” StarkNet’s resistance to censorship will be strengthened and it will also be better able to respond to denial-of-service attacks.
StarkWare’s STARK technology stack supports several Web3 projects, including decentralized exchange (DEX) platform dYdX (although this is moving to its own chain in Cosmos), NFT platform Immutable X, and blockchain interoperability protocol Celer Network.
Related: 60 million NFTs could be minted in one trade – StarkWare founder
StarkNet has taken a gamble by using Cairo to speed up their solution, which is not natively compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). However, Ethereum software tools company Nethermind built a transpiler called Warp that converts Solidity code to Cairo code.
Competitor zkSync’s EVM-compatible mainnet is in the release stage.
But despite the more difficult path, StarkWare founder Eli Ben-Sasson recently told Cointelegraph that using a custom programming language like Kairo instead of Solidity was the only viable way to take advantage of the Ethereum scaling offered by ZK scrolls:
“I’m willing to bet you won’t see a perfect ZK EVM that can put a million transactions into a single proof of Ethereum. Like we can easily do today and have done for months and years.”
The news comes as Starkware recently launched a new StarkNet token (STRK) on Ethereum on November 17, which will be used for staking and voting in addition to network payments.