The Starknet Alpha project is gearing up for an ambitious move that the development team has dubbed Starknet Regenesis. At its core is the feature-rich programming language for smart contracts, Cairo 1.0. After Regenesis, Starknet will exclusively operate with contracts based on Cairo 1.0, starting from a new foundational block.
Let’s first recall the key information about the Starknet project. It’s a second-layer scaling solution for Ethereum created by the Israeli company StarkWare. Utilizing zk-STARK technology, Starknet collects off-chain transactions and then sends a unified, concise proof to the Ethereum main network. This process significantly speeds up transactions by increasing the network’s throughput, simultaneously reducing costs and addressing Ethereum’s scalability issues. In the end, Starknet offers a scalable, secure, and economically efficient Layer-2 solution for Ethereum, tackling its fundamental scalability challenges.
For regular users of the Starknet Alpha network preparing for Regenesis, only a simple wallet update will be required. However, developers of decentralized applications on Starknet will need to migrate their smart contracts to Cairo 1.0 and follow instructions from an uncomplicated upgrade guide. Yet, there won’t be a complete restart of the project, and consequently, no need to migrate to a new network.
One of the key features of the Regenesis plan is that, during its implementation, the state of applications will be entirely preserved, and application downtimes will be eliminated. This means that applications whose developers adhered to Starknet team recommendations will seamlessly launch on the Starknet Alpha mainnet without any disruptions to their operation or user experience. Throughout Regenesis, Starknet creators will collaborate with the community, providing all necessary support to make the upgrade process as smooth as possible.
But why was all this named Starknet Regenesis in the first place? The decision for this “Rebirth” was made following extensive discussions with the community, including a significant proposal from the Software Mansion team. The primary motivation for Regenesis is the opportunity to leverage new capabilities provided by Cairo 1.0. This includes protecting sequencers from DOS attacks, censorship resistance, and gas measurement — all crucial for Starknet as a decentralized network.
Cairo 1.0 ensures that each transaction can be confirmed. This will enable Starknet to include canceled transactions in blocks and generate proof of their execution. This mechanism allows sequencers to be compensated for performing canceled transactions, enhancing protection against malicious DOS attacks. Additionally, Cairo 1.0 will support gas measurement, enabling Starknet to transition to a more intuitively understandable fee market. Ultimately, this will allow Starknet to introduce forced transactions from L1 and enhance the network’s censorship resistance capabilities.
The main challenge of such a massive upgrade is that smart contracts written in Cairo v0 and Cairo 1.0 cannot be mixed. Incorrect claims cannot be recognized as incorrect, and gas tracking cannot be implemented if there are fragments of Cairo v0 contracts in the network. Therefore, it will be necessary to completely remove the Cairo v0 code from Starknet. After the completion of the Regenesis, we will witness a Starknet network entirely based on Cairo 1.0.
It’s evident that the significant event, bearing the loud name Regenesis, will follow the release of the Cairo 1.0 language version — scheduled for the end of 2022. In the first quarter of 2023, Starknet will be updated to support Cairo 1.0. Concurrently with the release of Cairo 1.0, application developers will receive a concise guide to ensure their smart contracts are ready for the upgrade.
The migration of smart contracts to Cairo 1.0 will provide developers with new opportunities. The enhancement of the existing Cairo, as assured by its creators, will be safer, better, and simpler for contract writing, with improved syntax, a full-fledged type system, and many other perks.
Meanwhile, the logic and code structure will remain unchanged, so migrating existing Starknet contracts to the Cairo 1.0 syntax will require minimal effort compared to the efforts invested in developing the applications themselves.
Change is never easy. However, in the world of cryptocurrencies, any project that doesn’t evolve is destined for swift obsolescence. The Starknet Alpha team, to facilitate the Regenesis process for network participants, will release all documentation for Cairo 1.0, along with educational materials and seminars in the fourth quarter of 2022.