Starknet Closer To Full EVM Compatibility With Kakarot Testnet

Starknet Closer To Full EVM Compatibility With Kakarot Testnet

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Zero-knowledge layer-2 scaling solution Starknet has moved closer to full Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatibility with the upcoming August launch of Kakarot, a new testnet. 

Kakarot’s team has also announced that it has received backing from Ledger co-founder Nicolas Bacca, Starkware, and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin. 

Getting Closer To EVM Compatibility 

Kakarot CEO and co-founder Elias Tazartes stated that Starknet while being a leading zero knowledge rollup in the Ethereum ecosystem, lacks Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatibility. As a result, there is a significant barrier to entry. Starknet has gained popularity among developers to help scale decentralized applications, transactions, and computations on Ethereum using its native language, Cairo. According to developers on Starknet, Cairo makes it easier and faster to develop, review, and maintain new code. However, Starknet’s lack of Ethereum compatibility could deter some developers. 

“The greatest impact that Kakarot can have is to make Starknet EVM compatible. Kakarot right now is like a Solidity or any language engine. Eventually, you will be able to put that engine within Starknet to make it EVM compatible.”

Tazartes revealed that the idea for the zkEVM was first mooted during a Starkware conference held in July 2022. By October, the team was able to get together for a week and begin working on the new zkEVM. By December, coding for the project was complete, and the team was ready to create a fully functional execution layer. Tazartes also revealed that Buterin invested in Kakarot thanks to his enthusiasm for a multiple-zkEVM approach to build out the Ethereum ecosystem. 

“For Vitalik, the more zkEVMs, the better, because as long as you have a wide diversity of architecture and diversity of approaches…then this is really good for the space as a whole.” 

Custom Virtual Machine 

Currently, Starknet runs its own custom smart contract Virtual Machine called the Cairo VM, which is able to leverage Cairo. This means that Starknet does not come with direct EVM compatibility out of the box, which could prove to be a significant hurdle moving forward. According to Tazartes, 

“Some teams really need to be able to use Solidity. For example, if someone wrote a DEX or an AMM for the Ethereum ecosystem and now has 60,000 lines of code already audited, ready to go, but it’s only on EVM chains.” 

If developers wanted to use Starknet, they would need to hire a new dev team, write and audit the code, and maintain the two code bases. Tazartes described this as “prohibitively expensive.”

Kakarot zkEVM Secures Backing 

The Kakarot zkEVM team also announced on the 2nd of June that it had closed its pre-seed funding round. Investors in the seed round include Ledger co-founder and VP of innovation Nicolas Bacca, blockchain scaling firm Starkware, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, and several others. Kakarot uses STARK proofs for provable transactions and blocks, ensuring security and transparency. Through these validity proofs, Kakarot is able to leverage Ethereum’s security while also offering low costs. 

Project Roadmap 

The project roadmap states that in the first phase, Kakarot will be an EVM on the Starknet Layer 2, helping open the door to a range of possibilities, and facilitate the expansion of the Starknet ecosystem. In the subsequent phase, Kakarot and Starknet’s Madara sequencer will be combined into a unified stack. This will enable Layer 3 zkEVMs. According to the team, integrating Madara and Kakarot will help the teams deploy zkEVM app chains and settle transactions on Starknet using validity proofs. 

“As a result of computing on another layer, gas costs are (asymptotically) exponentially lower than on L2, and performance (TPS) is higher. The scalability of rollups stacks and multiplies.”

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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