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Why we’re Building on StarkNet

zkLend is thrilled to be building on StarkNet — the first general purpose L2 zkRollup solution developed by our friends over at StarkWare. zkLend’s objective has always been to advance DeFi adoption and recompose financial primitives on the blockchain making it accessible to all, and we are now one step closer to reality with StarkNet’s composable and permissionless solution. Here we cover the following points:

  1. Introducing StarkWare
  2. StarkDEX vs StarkEX vs StarkNet?
  3. Why we chose to build on StarkWare

TLDR: We’re building on StarkWare because:

  • We believe in Ethereum
  • StarkWare offers a unrivalled and battle tested zk-Rollup general purpose solution and
  • The grit and innovation from the StarkWare dev community

Introducing StarkWare

StarkWare Industries, not to be confused with Stark Industries in Avengers, develops validity based, zero-knowledge proofs for the blockchain industry. They are solving for scalability to build a world where transaction speed and gas fees become an afterthought. Some of their products include StarkDEX, StarkEx, and the latest StarkNet (Alpha is now on Mainnet), all of which have the common thread of batching transactions, generating mathematical ZK-STARK proofs off-chain to reduce computation load of the main chain, and then sending this information on-chain to L1 to reduce costs.

StarkWare: StarkDEX, StarkEX, or StarkNet?

StarkDEX and StarkEx are often thought of as predecessors to StarkNet. While the former two are compression engines that tackle issues of scalability through zk-STARK proofs, each of the protocols on StarkEx operate in isolation from one another. StarkEx was ultimately tailor-made for some of the most successful dApps, but it was not created for every protocol with transactions that come in all shapes and sizes. (Think that the types of computation required for minting NFTs are very different from those made for game play.) The great thing is that usability and scalability of StarkWare’s zk technology has been proven and tested. For example, on StarkEx, dYdX gas consumption relative to Ethereum L1 is only 0.1%, while TPS would improve upward of 3,000x. These aren’t just theoretical numbers, but concretely achieved results — and this is just the beginning.

Fig1. StarkEx flow involving users, application, StarkEx service, and Ethereum blockchain

StarkNet is a general purpose network built for anyone wishing to develop. The network will also be focused on interoperability where users will be able to stay on the L2 network and explore different protocols seamlessly. Transactions from different applications will be bundled into a single proof in one go, which means protocols experience scalability from Day 1.

Fig2. A comparison of the various StarkWare products (past, present, future)

Why are we building on StarkWare?

It’s well known that zk-Rollups are going to be the future roadmap of Ethereum. Ethereum is the only truly decentralised blockchain, and with that comes the sort of open source innovation and soul that is so unique to the Ethereum community. We bet on decentralisation, innovation, and general purpose logic and composability.

There are other zk-Rollups out there. But we chose StarkNet as our L2 solution because:

  1. It is the first general purpose zk-Rollup solution with a tried and battle tested case for usability. This means we can build a money-market with extreme scalability security and seamless user experience, as well as risk mitigant features which were too expensive to offer on other L1s
  2. The community is young but gritty and determined to build — building on Starknet is not just betting on the brilliant StarkWare team but also on the other teams within the ecosystem
  3. StarkNet’s architecture fosters protocol innovation — the network’s virtual machine is powered by Cairo, a Turing-complete STARK-friendly CPU language that allows developers to go beyond the computations currently allowed by Solidity. This means more composable applications down the line. The ecosystem is already thriving with new creative dapps with innovations enabled by StarkNet, such as on-chain gaming. This burst of innovation is expected to attract a wide population of builders and users onto StarkNet; and being a fundamental money-lego, zkLend is well-positioned to support the growth of traffic and capital flows
Fig3. A list of projects building on StarkNet. Source: coin360.com


StarkNet is one of StarkWare’s many projects, and at Devconnect 2022 Amsterdam, CEO Uri Kolodny has already hinted at more innovation to come, including L3 solutions. For now, many projects have already begun building on StarkNet. As the barriers to build on the network continues to decrease thanks to a growing developer community and stronger tooling (i.e. Warp — the EVM to Cairo transpiler), the StarkNet ecosystem will thrive on both native and non-native protocols. We’re here for it.


zkLend is an L2 money-market protocol built on StarkNet, combining zk-rollup scalability, superior transaction speed, and cost-savings with Ethereum’s security. The protocol offers a dual solution: a permissioned and compliance-focused solution for institutional clients, and a permissionless service for DeFi users — all without sacrificing decentralisation.

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