Ethereum L2 Starknet aims to decentralize core components of its scaling network The Advancement of Ethereum L2 Scaling Network – Starknet
Ethereum’s layer-2 scaling network Starknet has set out to enhance the decentralization of three core components of its zero-knowledge (ZK) **proof rollup** solution. The product manager and blockchain researcher, Ilia Volokh, shared the firm’s intent to address certain centralized elements of its protocol. This initiative aims to defend against censorship and make the system more robust.
Decentralization for Enhanced Robustness
Starknet operates as a validity **rollup** using ZK-proof technology to bundle transactions. The cryptographic proofs submitted to Ethereum aim to achieve security and finality for layer-2 transactions. However, the protocol remains dependent on StarkWare for creating L2 blocks, computing proofs, and initiating layer-1 state updates to the Ethereum blockchain. According to Volokh, this centralization is not inherently negative since StarkWare cannot steal money or perform invalid state transitions without executing the verifier on Ethereum.
While StarkWare remains a centralized gateway to enter Starknet, Volokh emphasized that the protocol is “100% honest” and cannot falsify transactions or information. The only way in which **Starknet** can “misbehave” is by being idle in not relaying proofs to Ethereum or by censoring certain parties from including transactions or proofs.
Challenges and Solutions
For Starknet, decentralizing various components of the system is essential to combat censorship and non-robust systems. Decentralization involves challenges in block production, the proving layer, and L1 state updates. Volokh emphasized the need to decentralize each component, as centralized elements undermine the overall decentralization of the network.
- Decentralizing block production has been relatively straightforward, relying on a consensus protocol and sybil-resistance mechanism.
- Decentralizing Starknet’s prover has required a novel approach, presenting a significant challenge.
- Competing ZK-rollups aggregate transactions into proofs, posing similar centralization issues.
According to Volokh, Starknet is in the process of outlining the testing and implementation of decentralized mechanics in its network through interconnected testnets. This phase aims to test the functionality of the different components simultaneously.
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