Bringing transparent privacy and scalability
Smart contract blockchain
Eli Ben Sasson - Co-Founder Chief Scientist in the East
Alessandro Chiesa - Co-Founder Chief Scientist in the West
Uri Kolodny - Co-Founder CEO
Michael Riabzev - Co-Founder Chief Architect
Lior Goldberg - Engineering
Gideon Kaempfer - Engineering
Oren Katz - Engineering
Ilya Lesokhin - Engineering
David Levit-Gurevich - Engineering
Avihu Levy - Product
Shir Peled - Engineering
StarkWare will improve scalability and privacy in blockchains using STARK technology, providing cryptographic proofs that are zero-knowledge, succinct, transparent (no need for a trusted setup), and post-quantum secure.
StarkWare will develop a full proof stack: software and hardware to support fast and reliable generation and verification of computational integrity proofs for general computations.
Starkware Industries (hereon referred to as Starkware for short) was founded January 1st, 2018 by Alessandro Chiesa, Eli Ben-Sasson, Michael Riabzev, and Uri Kolodny. If you’re an old hat in the cryptocurrency space you will recognize these names. They are the founders of ZCash, a privacy cryptocurrency. ZCash was revolutionary in that it was the brainchild born out of the Zerocash whitepaper (Ben-Sasson, Chiesa, Garman, Green, Miers, Tromer, Virza). That project was meant to add privacy functionality to cryptocurrencies and thus increase mass adoption. STARKs is meant to reduce the hidden inflation problem by removing the need for a trusted setup. In their whitepaper, zkSTARK stands for Zero Knowledge Scalable Transparent (“no trusted setup”) ARgument of Knowledge. Not only will the hidden inflation problem be solved but it will also be quantum resistant. STARK could be a viable alternative to familiar systems with trapdoors or master private keys such as Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX) and zkSNARKs respectively. Stark’s founders tested their initial program on an FBI database with one million entries. The entire file was 40 megabytes. The proofs were 1 megabyte each. In the end, Stark empirically showed it was faster than known existing zero-knowledge proof implementations such as SCI, zkSNARKs, and IVC.
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Starkware Industries will likely produce their own products such as cryptocurrencies or will license their technology to other technology companies. The most exciting aspect of this company to me is the fact that real technological progress is knocking at the door. If successful, Stark will be able to bridge the juxtaposition of transparent technologies such as Bitcoin with much needed private use cases. Aside from the use case of “money”, Stark may enable consumer and enterprise based applications to rest on public chains. Private chains may become irrelevant as privacy and transparency are built-in features of future blockchains. With these two features incorporated, blockchains can then focus on solving other major tradeoffs.
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