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Introducing: The StarkNet Foundation

The Foundation will facilitate the building of StarkNet as a permissionless, decentralized Validity Rollup.

TL;DR

  • StarkNet Foundation is officially launched
  • It is dedicated to supporting a thriving StarkNet
  • Strong interdisciplinary board will lead the Foundation
  • The Foundation is independent of StarkWare

StarkNet is taking a major step towards its future community governance structure, with the establishment of the StarkNet Foundation.

This post outlines the mission of the Foundation, introduces its directors, and briefly discusses the experience and values they bring to the table.

The Foundation has been set up in order to fulfill the vision of StarkNet’s decentralization proposal, as published in July 2022, and has published its own “Hello World” post here.

Advancing StarkNet’s Vision

StarkNet is a permissionless, decentralized Layer 2 (L2) Validity Rollup (often referred to as ZK-Rollup), intended to scale Ethereum while retaining Ethereum’s security and decentralization. In keeping with that mission, the Foundation was established as an independent entity to advance the shared technology that is StarkNet. Additionally, as a not-for-profit entity with a narrow mission: to advance StarkNet as a public good for all, and maintain it as such for years to come.

The Foundation launches with 50.1% of the initial Token supply to ensure the network’s resources are effectively deployed towards the following goals: the maintenance and security of StarkNet as a public good; the continued development and expansion of the network; and support for a culture of constructive collaboration between developers.

The Foundation’s priorities will include:

Fostering the community of StarkNet users, developers and researchers as they breathe life into StarkNet by building infrastructure, tools, applications and more.

Expanding the community by educating about StarkNet and its technology, and helping developers gain the skills to build StarkNet’s infrastructure, as well as dApps that harness the power of STARKs.

Overseeing the continued development of the network and advancing research, which are key elements of helping the network to realize its vision.

Furthering StarkNet’s decentralization by developing StarkNet governance mechanisms, and instituting decentralized sequencing and proving.

Introducing the Board

A seven-member board will govern the Foundation. The board members come from diverse backgrounds and bring balance, independence, and a multidisciplinary range of skills to the table. Each member has expertise and experience that will help StarkNet to achieve its potential as a long-lasting common good. In their “Hello World” post, they give their insight into what motivates them to be involved in StarkNet. They are presented in alphabetical order according to first names.

Andrew McLaughlin: Former Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the United States; former Vice President and Chief Policy Officer of ICANN, the independent body that manages the infrastructure of the Internet.

Prof. Eli Ben-Sasson: Mathematician and computer scientist; StarkWare President and Co-founder; Co-inventor of the STARK, FRI and Zerocash protocols and a Founding Scientist of Zcash.

Eric Wall: Blockchain thought leader and whistleblower, renowned for exposing systemic flaws in high-profile cryptoasset projects; advisor on cryptocurrency to the Human Rights Foundation; former Chief Investment Officer at Arcane Assets.

Heather Meeker: Award-winning lawyer, expert on open source software and author of ‘Open Source for Business’; General Partner at OSS Capital and legal advisor to StarkWare.

Prof. Shubhangi Saraf: Mathematician and computer scientist; core contributor to math underpinning STARK proofs; Associate Professor at University of Toronto; Scientific advisor to StarkWare.

Tomasz Stańczak: Blockchain developer who has built core components of Ethereum; Founder at Nethermind, one of the biggest teams building on Ethereum and StarkNet.

Uri Kolodny: Entrepreneur; StarkWare CEO and Co-founder. Before StarkWare, he co-founded companies developing a range of tech products, including optical fibers, data visualization tools, etc.

The backgrounds of these members provide an excellent toolbox of skills as well as considerable experience that equips the Foundation well for the future.

Andrew and Heather bring strong credentials from public good and open source projects. Heather is renowned for advocating for free and open software licensing. Andrew was a central figure for years in ICANN, the organization that helped shape the internet, in its early years, as a decentralized community good. It did so through bottom-up, consensus-based processes. Just such a process is needed for StarkNet to deliver on the goals of Web3.

The board also reflects significant crypto experience across numerous chains. Tomasz has worked on development of the core components of Ethereum — and of StarkNet. Eli was a Founding Scientist at Zcash before pioneering the technology behind StarkNet, and Andrew today sits on the board of the Electric Coin Company, which builds and supports Zcash technology.

The board has business and CEO experience, from Tomasz and Uri, and it has expertise in computer science and math — and specifically STARKs — from Shubhangi and Eli. Three board members, Tomasz, Uri and Eli have been deeply involved in building StarkNet.

All members stand up for what they believe. Eric went so far as to leave a senior role at Nasdaq-owned Cinnober when it threatened to limit his independence to post his opinions regarding crypto. As a Foundation popularizing technology that delivers integrity to computation, it’s fitting to assemble a board with such integrity.

An Independent Foundation

The Foundation is an independent entity that will support those building, using, and maintaining a public good, namely the StarkNet Protocol. As with the Internet, Bitcoin, and Ethereum, StarkNet is a shared technology that is built as a decentralized censorship-resistant network where anyone can participate and develop freely and in a permissionless manner, without the need to trust any third party.

The newly formed Foundation is a not-for-profit entity that was established especially to advance and maintain StarkNet as a public good. The Foundation, along with an inclusive set of independent developers, start-ups, enterprise users, and the public at large will always be free to use and improve StarkNet for their own purposes and for the good of anyone who wants to securely interact and transact through it.

The Foundation is independent, and free to take whatever positions it chooses regarding StarkNet. Decisions are to be made by a simple majority, or by five out of seven in special cases like removing and appointing Foundation board members. In decisions where board members’ external positions present a conflict-of-interest, the Foundation shall require such members to recuse themselves from the vote.

The Foundation has considerable means to carry out its mission: 5.01 Billion StarkNet Tokens have been allocated to the Foundation, i.e., 50.1% of the initial Token supply of 10 Billion Tokens (see part 3 of our governance proposal for more information).

There are many details to be decided that will shape the future direction of StarkNet. Happily, the establishment of the Foundation brings more voices from a growing community. StarkWare remains a committed part of this community and we are delighted to welcome the greater StarkNet ecosystem to take more ownership of the network’s future. StarkNet’s journey is now in the hands of a decentralized crew, and the Foundation will play an important part in helping to ensure it’s a smooth one. All at StarkWare wish the new body great success in its mission.

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