StarkWare explained: Layer 2 solution provider of dYdX and iMMUTABLE

Overview of StarkWare


  • Scalability
  • Privacy
  • User experience


iMMUTABLE with StarkWare

Why StarkWare application so fast?

How decentralized is StarkWare application?

zkSync vs StarkWare

zk-Rollups and STARK proof

  • The technology used by StarkWare includes zk-Rollups and zk-STARK. The two are not the same thing. STARK is zk-STARK, which is a kind of zero-knowledge proof.
  • StarkWare tends to call its solution Validity Rollups, because zk-Rollups is not necessarily used in the solution. Validity Rollups includes Validium and zk-Rollups. The difference between the two is whether user data is on the chain.

zk-Rollups vs other L2 solutions

  • According to the strict definition, the vocabulary zk-Rollups used in many StarkWare documents does not necessarily adopt zero-knowledge proof. The correct description is Validity Proofs (including zk-Rollups and Validium, because StarkWare provides two modes). In order to avoid terminology changes to affect understanding. This article describes the related expressions as zk-Rollups in accordance with StarkWare’s documents.
  • Side-chain (Polygon or xDai)
  • State channel
  • Plasma
  • zk-Rollups

STARK vs other ZK



Network Ecology

  • Programming language Cairo: Cairo is a Turing complete high-level programming language and framework that can be used to generate STARK proofs. Developers can use Cairo to define any business logic and send transactions to Shared Prover Service to verify the logic off-chain and verify on the chain. Cairo is suitable for production project development on the mainnet and is available for developers to use.
  • Off-chain verification service (Shared Prover Service): Before the transaction is put on the chain, the transaction will be sent to SHARP for verification, to determine the integrity of the application execution, and to calculate the gas cost for the shared proof verification.
  • Open source prover ethSTARK: ethSTARK provides zero-knowledge and post-quantum security signatures. ethSTARK processed 300,000 transactions in a proof on the mainnet, and the TPS reached 3000. The Rollup gas efficiency also broke the world record and reached 315 gas/tx, which is way much cheaper than performing transactions on Ethereum L1. This technology is the cornerstone of StarkNet’s decentralized proof layer.
  • Third-party projects: At present, the main third-party library is StarkNet.js. The role of StarkNet.js is similar to Web3.js, which is used when obtaining contract content on the front-end. The Ethereum client team is working on the full node implementation of StarkNet. At the same time, the current StarkNet network audit software includes CryptoExperts and LEAN proof.

Use Cases

  1. DeversiFi: Transaction TPS 9k, payment TPS 18k.
  2. iMMUTABLE: NFT minting gas 0.2 cents, daily L2 transaction> weekly L1 transaction.
  3. dYdX: Each transaction fee is reduced by 50 times.



  • StarkEx is similar to a low-level engine that composes components to support applications that use STARK.


  • Scalability and computational integrity Applications can rely on StarkEx and the underlying STARK infrastructure to expand, while StarkEx ensures computational integrity. Through SHARP (Shared Proof) technology, gas costs are amortized equally in all StarkEx-based applications.
  • Diversified deployment modes StarkEx can deploy zk-Rollups mode (publishing data on the chain) or Validium mode (validating data availability through the side chain). There is also an upcoming mode: Volition, which allows users to choose the data availability mode for themselves.
  • Wallet integration StarkWare provides local support through Ledger, Authereum and WalletConnect. StarkWare also provides MetaMask integration through Web3-compatible key generation (for many other existing wallets).

Architecture and business logic

  • The application in the leftmost yellow box — — operate the entire application
  • StarkEx service in the light blue box — — batch processing and coordination
  • SHARP — — Shared prover (specially customized by StarkWare for application)
  • StarkEx contract (Verifier contract) — — status updates, deposits and withdrawals
  1. Processing the request The StarkWare application in the light blue box processes customer requests, converts these transactions into provable statements, and sends these to the SHARP in the dark blue box. All requests are sent and processed through the first step in the figure API and the batch statement sending in the second step (a batch can compile multiple requests).
  2. SHARP proof The dark blue SHARP box constructs proof.
  3. Register the proofs SHARP transmits the proof to the on-chain verifier smart contract in the third step in the pink box.
  4. Registrated status transited In the fourth step, the StarkWare application performs application state transition on the Starkswap smart contract. In the fifth step, to ensure the validity of the conversion (SHARP verification), Starkswap’s smart contract confirms that the conversion statement has been registered in the Verifier smart contract.

Function and encryption algorithm

  • Off-chain status:
  • Flow Description:
  • specific concepts for StarkEx:
  • Encryption Algorithm:




  • Computational completeness
  • AIR (algebraic intermediate representation)
  • Language design
  • Tool chain

Language ecosystem





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