StarkNet is making Cairo 1.0 open source in the first step towards community control

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Zero-knowledge (ZK)-Rollup technology company StarkWare has officially open sourced its new programming language compiler, Cairo 1.0, which will soon be supported on Ethereum layer-2 scaling solution StarkNet in Q1 2023.

The news was announced by StarkWare – the company behind StarkNet – in a Nov. 25 Twitter post. StarkWare’s rollup technology and recursive proofs offer the ability to compress millions of transactions on L2 into a single transaction on Ethereum, but the project has been criticized for retaining control of its IP, not least due to being more open-minded. source-targeted competitor zkSync.

StarkWare described open sourcing Cairo as a “milestone” in its quest to transfer greater control and intellectual property rights to its community and developers. Cairo is a programming language written specifically to harness the power of zk rollups and validations.

StarkWare stated that developers can now experiment with Cairo 1.0 by compiling and running simple applications until it is fully supported on StarkNet in Q1 2023.

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At that point, Cairo 1.0 will enable faster feature development and more community involvement, according to Starkware Exploration Lead and former Ethereum core developer Abdelhamid Bakhta.

“We will continue to open source the StarkNet technology stack, starting with Cairo 1.0. We do this to realize StarkNet’s vision as a public good that everyone can use and that the community can continuously improve,” he said.

“On a practical level, this maximizes transparency about our code and our coding process. And it strengthens the community’s ability to find bugs and improve the compiler. With every aspect of the tech stack being open source, this sense of community involvement will grow and grow.

Once in production, Cairo 1.0 will also enable blockchain developers to write and deploy smart contracts to StarkNet, according to StarkWare’s Medium post.

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StarkWare added that because Cairo 1.0 makes every computation “provable,” StarkNet’s censorship resistance will be strengthened and it will also be better positioned to respond to denial-of-service attacks.

StarkWare’s STARK tech stack powers a number of Web3 projects, including the decentralized exchange platform (DEX) dYdX (although this is moving to its own chain on Cosmos), the NFT platform Immutable X, and the blockchain interoperability protocol Celer Network.

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StarkNet took a gamble by using Cairo to speed up its solution, which is not natively compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). However, Ethereum software tooling company Nethermind built a transpiler called Warp that converts Solidity code into Cairo code.

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Competitor zkSync’s EVM-compatible mainnet is currently being launched.

But despite taking a more difficult path, StarkWare founder Eli Ben-Sasson recently told TSTIME that using a custom programming language like Cairo, unlike Solidity, was the only viable way to take full advantage of the Ethereum scaling provided by ZK rollups:

“I bet you won’t see a full-fledged ZK EVM that can pack a million transactions into a single proof on Ethereum. As we can easily do today and have been doing for months and years.”

The news comes as Starkware also recently deployed the new StarkNet token (STRK) on Ethereum on November 17, which will be used for staking and voting purposes in addition to paying fees on the network.