Blockchain Scalability Firm StarkWare Launches Recursion to Streamline Ethereum

Recursive proofs could bundle tens of millions of NFTs off-chain to help streamline Ethereum.

AccessTimeIconAug 15, 2022 at 9:24 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 9, 2024 at 11:40 p.m. UTC
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Ethereum is heading for a major overhaul known as the Merge to make the blockchain faster and more energy efficient. StarkWare, a company addressing blockchain scalability issues, revealed last week a new recursive proof that it said can bundle tens of millions of non-fungible token (NFT) mints into one transaction, which would turbocharge layer 2 scalability.

“After turning on recursion this week, we now have the ability to fit tens of millions of NFT mints into a single recursive proof, and therefore into a single Ethereum transaction,” said Eli Ben-Sasson, president and co-founder at StarkWare, in a media brief provided to CoinDesk. “We’re not using recursion at this intensity yet, but the tech is in place and the moment that traffic merits it, we will. This is what blockchain scaling is all about – building to prevent tomorrow’s bottleneck.”

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  • How it works

    Rollup technologies ease the load on the main Ethereum chain by bundling hundreds of transactions off-chain then sending that bundle in as one transaction. Optimistic rollups use a network of validators to ensure the data inside each bundle is legitimate, which comes with a lag time in case validators want to challenge data. Zero-knowledge (zk) rollups, also called validity rollups, use cryptography to mathematically validate the bundle before it reaches Ethereum.

    StarkWare is one of the companies, alongside zkSync and Aztec, that offers zk rollups and uses its own cryptographic method called STARKs.

    StarkWare turned on recursive proving on Aug. 7 for its StarkEx scaling engine and StarkNet, a rollup product that puts scaling technology in the hands of decentralized application (dapp) developers. Each recursive proof can contain transactions from both StarkEx and StarkNet. NFTs are just one, headline-grabbing potential use case since recursion can apply to any blockchain use case. Recursive STARKs then went live on the Ethereum mainnet on Aug. 11.

    Rollup technology has attracted strong interest from developers and venture capitalists. In May, StarkWare raised $100 million in funding at an $8 billion valuation, quadrupling the valuation from the last funding round in November.


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    Brandy Betz

    Brandy covered crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.

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