A Beginner’s Guide to StarkNet

Where to find opportunities on the much-hyped zk-rollup
Nov 29, 20225 min read

Dear Bankless nation,

It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of rollup chains.

They accelerate modular scaling without sacrificing on decentralization.

We’ve looked at Arbitrum, zksync and Optimism in the past but today, we’re turning our attention to the last of the “Big Four” rollups: StarkNet.

StarkNet is StarkWare’s permissionless rollup chain.

The chain is still in alpha, but there’s an awful lot going on. Today, we’re showing you how to get started in this burgeoning ecosystem and where you should be looking for opportunities.

- Bankless team

Rollups represent the foundation of Ethereum’s scaling plans going forward.

StarkNet is a permissionless layer 2 (L2) scaling network that is one of the “Big Four” major early rollups. This Bankless tactic will show you how to navigate the StarkNet ecosystem as a novice!

  • Goal: Learn your way around StarkNet
  • Skill: Intermediate
  • Effort: A couple of hours for exploring
  • ROI: Experience with one of the best L2s

An introduction to the StarkNet L2

A “StarkWare L2 chain” output I created with Stable Diffusion

What is StarkNet?

Today, zero-knowledge (zk) and optimistic rollups are the two dominant Ethereum scaling styles.

Created by StarkWare, StarkNet is a zk-rollup L2 that uses zk proofs to create an off-chain execution layer for Ethereum.

This off-chain execution mechanism is a way to make Ethereum-based transactions extremely affordable and fast. Simply put, StarkNet batches many transactions together and then efficiently posts this data to Ethereum.

Since the Ethereum verification fee is spread out among all users, StarkNet is more affordable as it becomes more popular. Yes, the more transactions there are, the cheaper they become!

How to create a StarkNet wallet

You have two main options for a StarkNet wallet right now: Argent X and Braavos.

Argent X and Braavos are both smart contract-based wallets explicitly designed for the StarkNet ecosystem. Argent X is open-source and was the first StarkNet wallet, so if you want to try it out of the gate you’d follow these steps:

  1. Download the Argent X extension from the Chrome Web Store or Firefox
  2. Click on the new Argent X button in your browser
  3. Select New Account
  4. Create a password
  5. Wait for your account to deploy, and voila! You’re now ready to receive funds on StarkNet

Braavos is currently closed-source software, so keep that in mind. If you’re interested in downloading this wallet service, you could follow these steps:

  1. Go to braavos.app
  2. Press Download and download the wallet software to your desktop or mobile device
  3. Set up a new wallet and record your 12-word recovery phrase for posterity
  4. Choose the Mainnet Alpha network to deploy on
  5. That’s it! You now have your own StarkNet wallet:
  6. You can now transfer funds into your StarkNet account using a credit-card service like Banxa or a bridge like Layerswap

Finding StarkNet apps with Dappland

The best way to find and explore apps on StarkNet today is through Dappland, a community resource hub that tracks notable app deployments on this Big Four L2.

The dappland front page

Dappland currently tracks projects across the Onramps, Bridges, DeFi, Games, NFTs, Social, Infrastructure, and DAOs categories. Some notable projects in these categories include the following efforts:

  • RampA simple UI for getting funds onto StarkNet
  • LayerswapA CEX to L2 gateway
  • Orbiter.FinanceA cross-rollup bridge
  • JediSwapA community-led automated market maker (AMM) exchange
  • briqAn NFT building protocol, a la Minecraft
  • RealmsAn onchain game situated in the Loot universe
  • Mint SquareAn NFT marketplace
  • StarkBoardAn analytics data hub
  • VoyagerA StarkNet block explorer service
  • CartridgeA StarkNet gaming console

The STRK token 101

If you are an end user, use StarkNet — but only as it serves your needs today. Use it for those transactions and applications that you value, not in expectation of any future reward of StarkNet Tokens. When Community Provisions are announced, they will refer only to snapshots that have occurred previous to the announcement date, and will filter and exclude usage that is deemed by it to be an abuse and gamification of the network, based on the information available at that point in time.” — StarkNet Token Design

StarkNet isn’t going to have a gameable airdrop.

If you used the L2 in the past, you may be in line. But if you’re trying to cram in late, that’s likely going to be counterproductive as the StarkWare team is looking to defend against people who are just trying to game the protocol in the “final hours,” so to speak.

That said, the STRK token is a real thing. While the token isn’t transferable or purchasable yet, STRK has been deployed on the Ethereum mainnet ahead of an official token plan implementation. One tentative plan seeks to distribute 9% of the STRK token supply to StarkNet community members.

Key StarkNet resource

Want to keep up with all things StarkNet without having to spend a ton of time doing weekly research?

One must-have resource you need to work into your info diet is the Swagtimus.eth L2’22 newsletter.

This newsletter is the premier destination for learning about all things new with StarkNet. Published every week, this column will help you maintain a firsthand view of the StarkNet ecosystem’s evolutions as it progresses, so double down here if you want to stay current with everything StarkNet!

The future is bright for StarkNet

StarkNet is extremely promising and will likely be a dominant L2 for years to come.

The network is particularly well-positioned to scale. It’s uniquely suited for a ubiquitous light client-centric future, where people manage all of their Ethereum affairs with nodes on smartphones.

For now, though, learning about how to use early StarkNet apps will position you to quickly become a veteran in an L2 space that stands to grow tremendously from here!

Action steps

  • 💳 Create a StarkNet wallet with Braavos
  • 🏄 Surf Dappland for StarkNet apps
  • 🦄 Also check out our previous tactic How to Double Down on DeFi

Not financial or tax advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. This newsletter is not tax advice. Talk to your accountant. Do your own research.

Disclosure. From time-to-time I may add links in this newsletter to products I use. I may receive commission if you make a purchase through one of these links. Additionally, the Bankless writers hold crypto assets. See our investment disclosures here.

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