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Starknet’s ‘Kakarot’ Testnet Brings EVM Compatibility Closer than Ever Before

With fresh funding under its belt, a new zkEVM is set to go to testnet in August, allowing developers to write in any EVM-compatible language on Starknet.

Key Points

  • Starknet is moving closer to EVM compatibility with the upcoming ‘Kakarot’ testnet.
  • Kakarot is a zkEVM written in Cairo, which can be deployed on StarkNet.
  • Smart contracts written in Solidity can function on Starknet through Kakarot.

Starknet, a zero-knowledge layer-2 scaling solution for Ethereum, is getting closer to achieving full compatibility with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). This progress is evident as they prepare for the launch of Kakarot, a new zkEVM, on a testnet scheduled for August.

Starknet’s zkEVM Innovation

With a fresh round of funding in its coffers, Starknet is gearing up to launch a new zkEVM on its testnet in August. This development will enable developers to write in any EVM-compatible language, a major milestone for the zero knowledge layer-2 scaling solution for Ethereum.

In the world of decentralized applications, scalability is key. And that’s where Starknet comes in. This technology promises to help developers scale their decentralized apps, transactions and computation on Ethereum.

But there’s a catch: it uses its own native language called Cairo. Now, according to Starknet, using Cairo makes it easier and faster to develop, review and maintain new code. But here’s the downside: it isn’t EVM compatible, which could dissuade some developers from using it. 

So, what’s the solution? Well, Starknet has a plan: make itself EVM compatible. “The greatest impact that Kakarot can have is to make Starknet EVM compatible,” says a spokesperson for the company. 

Currently, Starknet runs its own custom smart contract Virtual Machine, called “Cairo VM,” that leverages its native coding language. This means that Starknet doesn’t have direct EVM compatibility out of the box, and that could prove to be a significant hurdle for overall rollup performance. 

If developers want to start using Starknet, they’ll have to hire a whole new development team, write in, audit the code again, and maintain two code bases. It’s what Tazartes describes as “prohibitively expensive.” 

End Note

As per Tazartes, the idea for the zkEVM was first raised during a Starkware conference in July of 2022. But it wasn’t until October that the team was able to gather in Lisbon, Portugal for a week-long hacker house event to begin work on the project in earnest.

Despite the tight timeline, the team worked tirelessly, and by December – just two months and twenty days later – they had completed the coding for the project. The result was a fully functional execution layer, achieved without any venture funding.