Starknet releases latest upgrade announcement, is STRK airdrop finally coming?

    14 Nov 2023

    On the evening of November 12th, the upgrade announcement about the v0.13.0 version of Starknet sparked wide discussions in the community. The reason behind this is that the upgrade specifically mentioned the STRK tokens generated by Starknet but not yet in circulation (temporarily only used by a few delegates for governance purposes). As a result, many community members interpreted this announcement as Starknet’s upcoming official distribution of STRK, including a large-scale airdrop to the community.

    So, what exactly does the upgrade announcement from last night say? Let’s go back to the original text to find out.

    It can be seen that the announcement in the Starknet community forum last night mainly involves the specific plans for versions v0.12.3 and v0.13.0. Let’s focus on the major version upgrade of v0.13.0, leaving aside the minor optimization version v0.12.3.

    In simple terms, the main content of the v0.13.0 upgrade is the introduction of a new transaction type, V3. This is an iteration regarding the internal structure of Starknet transactions, aiming to enable the Starknet network to support future functionality upgrades, allowing for more complex application layer constructions.

    • For example, V3 will activate a fee market, which can be understood as Starknet’s future adoption of a fee bidding mechanism similar to Ethereum’s mainnet. When the network is congested, those willing to pay higher fees will have priority.
    • Another example is the activation of a payment manager, LianGuaiymaster, which can be understood as a more flexible fee payment mechanism, allowing third parties other than the transaction sender to pay fees.
    • As for the description of STRK, there is only one sentence, which is as follows: “v0.13.0 will introduce a new transaction type, V3, which aims to lay the foundation for implementing some of the features on Starknet’s future roadmap, including adding STRK as a new fee token alongside ETH…”

    Although the description is brief, we can glean more details about adding STRK as a fee token from the supplementary information in the announcement.

    On October 23rd, Ohad Barta, the product manager of Starkware (the Starknet development team), submitted a discussion post about this proposal in the community governance forum.

    In the post, Ohad attached a document written by him and another Starkware product manager, Evyatar Oster, on GitHub, which provides details about the protocol and API updates required to add STRK as a new fee token. From this document, we can roughly gather the following information:

    1. Adding STRK as a new fee token needs to be realized through the new fee type V3, but old transaction types will also coexist, thus maintaining ETH’s utility as a fee token.
    2. To use STRK for fee payment, it relies on an oracle to provide real-time STRK<>ETH price feed. In the short term, Starknet will adopt a partially centralized Pragma oracle as a temporary solution, and a long-term decentralized solution will require governance implementation in the future.
    3. Introducing STRK<>ETH exchange in the fee collection process may attract potential exchange rate attacks, but Starkware’s assessment suggests that the potential losses faced by the sorter and users are small, while the cost required for the attack is theoretically large.

    In summary, from this material published three weeks ago, it can be seen that Starknet had planned to add STRK as a fee token early on and has already organized the specific specifications required for potential changes.

    The actual significance of the v0.13.0 upgrade announcement last night is that it clarifies the specific timeline for this upgrade – the mainnet launch vote will take place on January 22, 2024.

    However, this does not mean that Starknet will distribute STRK on a large scale before January 22 next year, because the announcement only mentions that “V3 will be the basis for adding STRK as a fee token,” and the conclusion that can be inferred is only “introduce V3 first, then activate STRK as a fee token,” without mentioning whether STRK will be distributed before or after, so it is unreasonable to take this as a direct basis for “Starknet’s upcoming airdrop.”

    However, relatively speaking, the landing of v0.13.0 can indeed be interpreted as Starknet gradually advancing its roadmap planning, which can perhaps be understood as us getting closer and closer to the large-scale distribution of STRK (including airdrops).


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