Key Takeaways

  • StarkWare’s StarkNet Alpha has launched on mainnet.
  • The product aims to cut Ethereum gas fees by a factor of 100 to 200.
  • A member of the StarkWare team said that users would be able to transfer funds to the Layer 2 solution “within the next few days.”

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StarkNet Alpha, a highly-anticipated Layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum, has launched its alpha version on mainnet. 

StarkNet Alpha Launches

The competition to scale Ethereum is heating up. 

StarkWare, a company aiming to scale Ethereum using Zero-Knowledge Rollups, announced the launch of StarkNet Alpha Monday, allowing developers to start building and launching applications directly on the Layer 2. 

StarkWare’s current scaling solution, StarkEx, is application specific, forcing users to transfer funds to each application they wish to use. With StarkNet, developers can now deploy smart contracts that are interoperable both with other StarkNet contracts and Ethereum mainnet. This means users can interact with various applications built on StarkNet through a single wallet after sending over funds from Ethereum. 

StarkWare is aiming to offer users significant gas savings while leveraging the security and decentralization of Ethereum. The firm has previously stated that StarkNet can reduce fees by a factor of 100 to 200 when deployed in off-chain Validium mode and offer significant savings through its regular ZK-Rollups.

StarkNet is the first Validity Rollup to deploy, improving on the security of previous Optimistic and ZK-Rollups. StarkNet validates transactions using STARKs—scalable transparent arguments of knowledge, a type of ZK-Rollup based entirely on cryptographic proofs. 

While the alpha version currently only supports smart contract deployment and testing, StarkWare Developer Advocate Henri Lieutaud told listeners in today’s StarkNet Alpha launch community call that users will be able to transfer funds over “within the next few days.”

Although the launch is a significant step, the StarkWare team has also stressed that there is still much more that needs to be done before StarkNet becomes a finished product. The blog post announcing the launch states:

“The “Alpha” label is there for a reason. Expect changes, fixes, and improvements to come. StarkNet Alpha has yet to be audited, and we may delay such an audit till the network matures some more.”

StarkNet Alpha is one of Ethereum’s most anticipated scaling solutions to date, but it has many others to compete with. zkSync and Loopring are two other prominent projects that use ZK-Rollup technology, while Optimistic Rollups like Arbitrum and Optimism have also begun to gain traction in recent weeks. 

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies. 

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