StarkWare, the Ethereum layer 2 scaling solution, has announced plans to open source its proprietary Starknet Prover under the Apache 2.0 license, which has processed 327 million transactions and minted 95 million nonfungible tokens (NFTs) to date.
It has been reported that the prover is the crucial engine Starkware uses to roll up hundreds of thousands of transactions and compress them into a tiny cryptographic proof written on the Ethereum blockchain.
Eli Ben-Sasson, the President and Co-Founder of Starkware, said:
“We think of the Prover as the magic wand of Stark technology. It wondrously generates the proofs that allow unimaginable scaling.”
However, Starkware has faced criticism from the crypto community and competing solutions such as ZK Sync and Polygon for holding onto the IP behind its tech, which contradicts blockchain’s open source and interoperable ethics.
The report said that making the prover open source under the Apache 2.0 license will enable any other project or network, or even games or database developers, to make use of the technology, edit the code and customize it. The tech was released in 2020 and is already being used by ImmutableX, Sorare and dYdX.
Avihu Levy, the Head of Product at Starkware, was reluctant to commit to a time frame for open-sourcing the prover but said it would occur after the token launch and decentralization of Starknet itself. He agreed, however, that it would be possible this year.
“We want to move forward with a decentralized, permissionless network and that means that you need to have this critical component out there.”
Likewise, Levy said the decision to open source the prover showed Starkware was increasingly confident about its technology and said it would also enable projects to be more confident about using it as a crucial part of their protocols.
“In StarkEx, it’s sometimes considered vendor lock-up or lock-in. So the commitment wasn’t just a business commitment it was a technology commitment to StarkEx. This is a strong signal that you will have everything you need to run it yourself independent of Starkware.”
Thus, Starkware has already open-sourced its programming language and EVM competitor Cairo 1.0, Papyrus Full node and is in the process of open-sourcing its new sequencer.