Ethereum Layer 2 Scaling Network Starknet Plans to Improve Decentralization
Starknet, a layer 2 scaling network for Ethereum, has revealed its plans to enhance the decentralization of its zero-knowledge proof rollup solution, known as ZK-rollup. The aim is to address certain centralized elements of its protocol to defend against censorship and strengthen the system.
Starknet operates as a validity rollup, utilizing zero-knowledge proof technology to bundle transactions into rollups. These cryptographic proofs are then submitted to Ethereum to achieve security and finality for layer 2 transactions. However, the protocol currently relies on StarkWare for creating L2 blocks, computing proofs, and initiating layer 1 state updates to the Ethereum blockchain.
According to Ilia Volokh, the product manager and blockchain researcher at Starknet, this dependency on StarkWare makes the network centralized. However, he emphasizes that StarkWare cannot steal money or perform invalid state transitions as the verifier on Ethereum is required for execution.
While StarkWare remains a centralized gateway, Volokh assures that the protocol is honest and cannot falsify transactions or information. Ethereum’s layer one blockchain acts as a filter, preventing any misbehavior. The only potential issues are if Starknet is idle and does not relay proofs to Ethereum, or if it specifically censors certain entities from participating.
To combat censorship and single points of failure, Starknet aims to decentralize various components of its protocol. This includes decentralizing block production, the proving layer responsible for computing proofs, and the process of L1 state updates. Volokh emphasizes the importance of decentralizing each component to achieve true decentralization.
Decentralizing block production has been relatively straightforward, as all blockchains rely on a consensus protocol and sybil resistance mechanism. However, decentralizing Starknet’s prover has required a more innovative approach. Volokh believes that Starknet is the first rollup to offer a concrete solution in this regard.
While some users may have concerns about the centralized components of layer 2 solutions, Volokh states that the focus is on security rather than commercial reasons. Starknet is currently outlining the process of testing and implementing these decentralized mechanics through interconnected test nets.
By addressing centralized elements and striving for decentralization, Starknet aims to enhance the robustness and censorship resistance of its ZK-rollup solution.