Exclusive Interview with Abdelhamid Bakhta | Exploration Lead of StarkWare

Welcome to Kernel Talk, this is Rose from Kernel Ventures. We are a crypto VC fund focusing on the growth of dev communities and backing the most ingenious founders in the world. Today we are at the StarkWare Sessions in Tel Aviv and we have the Exploration Lead of StarkWare - Abdelhamid here with us talking about the Kakarot zkEVM and the positioning of it within the StarkWare ecosystem.

1. What's the main difference between Kakarot zkEVM and other zkEVMs from a technical perspective? Can you introduce the advantage of Kakarot zkEVM?

True of course, so the main advantage of Kakarot is the fact that it is being built with Cairo. It means that by design, it is already provable. Indeed every program that you write in Cairo is provable. In other words, we have implemented the logic of the EVM in Cairo, and it has automatically become a zkEVM. And I think this is the main advantage of Kakarot - because Cairo is very flexible. For example, other zkEVM are implementing custom circuits for all opcodes of the EVM. And the process of building the circuits is very hard and very complex. And it takes a lot of time. With Kakarot, we implemented the full zk EVM in two months and a half. That means a lot about how flexible is the language and how it can be a very strong competitive advantage of Kakarot.

2. What's the original intention of creating Kakarot zkEVM and what is the positioning of it in the StarkWare ecosystem?

Yeah, so basically, the original idea of Kakarot was exactly to showcase the power of Cairo. You know, at StarkWare, we decided from the beginning not to be EVM compatible. The promise of StarkWare is to drop EVM compatibility to design the best system for a maximum efficiency of the proving system. Indeed, the EVM was designed at the creation of Ethereum, and obviously, at this time, the zk proofs domain was not as advanced as it is now. So the EVM was not designed to be zk friendly. That means there were some design choices of the EVM that make it hard to be provable. At StarkWare we have built StarkNet, which is not EVM compatible. The idea of Kakarot is not to say we need EVM compatibility on StarkNet. This was not the original purpose, the original purpose was to showcase that Cairo is so powerful, that you can build crazy complex stuff with it. And an EVM was a real cool showcase of that, because the EVM is complex. It's a very big program. A very well known example also as well. So it was the best example to show how powerful is Cairo is.

3. What will the final version of Kakarot zkEVM look like? What value add or optimisation will it bring to the StarkWare ecosystem? What are some new functionalities made possible with Kakarot zkEVM?

So the final version of Kakarot might be a Layer 3 on top of StarkNet to have full flexibility. On Layer 3, you can have your own chain, you can define your own rules and you can make it optimized for EVM purposes. Where as on StarkNet Layer 2 you depend on the StarkNet Protocol. That means that you will have some limitations. So the end goal of Kakarot might be a Layer 3 with full flexibility within a Kakarot Chain or a chain that will generate proofs, submit them and verify them on StarkNet Layer 2.

4. Does Kakarot zkEVM have a fundraising plan in the future?

We created the project at StarkWare but it has now become a community driven project. The core contributors of Kakarot, from the community, are discussing this idea right now. So it can happen anytime soon.

Thank you so much, definitely keen to see how Kakarot progresses. If you like our content, click the subscribe button and stay tuned for more exciting interviews!

Kernel Ventures is a research & dev community driven crypto VC fund with more than 70 early stage investments, focusing on infrastructure, middleware, dApps, especially ZK, Rollup, Modular Blockchain, and verticals that will onboard the next billion of users in crypto such as Account Abstraction, Data Availability, Scalability and etc. For the past seven years, we have committed ourselves to supporting the growth of core dev communities and University Blockchain Associations across the world.

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