Decentralizing Core Components of Ethereum L2 Starknet Scaling Network
Ethereum L2 Starknet aims to decentralize core components of its scaling network

Starknet Aims to Improve Decentralization of its Zero-Knowledge Proof Rollup Solution

Ethereum layer-2 scaling network Starknet has outlined plans to enhance the decentralization of three core components of its zero-knowledge (ZK) proof rollup solution.

In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, Starknet product manager and blockchain researcher Ilia Volokh provided details about the firm’s intention to address certain centralized features of its protocol in order to protect against censorship and make its system more robust.

Starknet works as a validity rollup using ZK-proof technology to bundle transactions, with cryptographic proofs sent to Ethereum to achieve security and finality for layer-2 transactions.

Volokh noted that Starknet’s protocol still depends on StarkWare for creating L2 blocks, computing proofs and initiating layer-1 state updates to the Ethereum blockchain.

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Starkware’s operation of the network is currently centralized, but this is a temporary situation until full decentralization is achieved. Although Starkware is in charge of the network, they cannot steal money or execute invalid state transitions, as Ethereum’s layer-1 blockchain acts as a filter. The only way in which Starknet could potentially misbehave is by not relaying proofs to Ethereum or by censoring certain parties from including transactions or proofs.

In order to combat these two main causes of censorship in consensus-based systems, Starknet is taking steps to decentralize components of its protocol. This is an important consideration when discussing the core crypto money laundering and bad crypto issues of today.

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Intentional censorship is one factor to consider, while “non-robust” systems that have a single point of failure represent another threat to decentralization, since any network or system outage in this central point would affect all participants.

Varying levels of difficulty exist when decentralizing the different components of Starknet’s system. This includes decentralizing block production through its consensus protocol, decentralizing the proving layer, which is responsible for computing proofs for blocks, and decentralizing the process of L1 state updates.

“I want to emphasize that it is essential to decentralize each of them because, as long as even one of them is centralized, the results are not significant,” Volokh said before discussing the relevant challenges of each component.

Decentralizing block production has been relatively straightforward since all blockchains rely on a consensus protocol and sybil-resistance mechanism. On the other hand, decentralizing Starknet’s prover has necessitated a more creative approach.

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“As far as I know, Starknet is the first rollup to provide a complete and concrete solution,” Volokh said. He went on to explain how other ZK-rollups aggregate transactions into proofs and post them on Ethereum, which transfers its decentralization to rollup solutions.

Nevertheless, these systems all depend on central entities to create and prove blocks, which makes them “equally centralized”. Whether users are concerned about the centralized components of L2s from a philosophical standpoint is another issue for Volokh:

Volokh added that Starknet is still in the process of outlining the process of testing and implementing these decentralized mechanics in its network. This is likely to be done through a series of interconnected testnets to test the simultaneous functionality of the different components of web 3.0, crypto money laundering, and AI technology.

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