Israeli company StarkWare, which specializes in the development of Ethereum layer-2 solutions using off-chain proof-of-concept computations, announced yesterday that the first unlocking of the native StarkNet (STRK) token initially scheduled for November 2023 will be postponed to April 2024.
The reasons for this choice lie in the company’s desire to focus on the technology to present itself to the market in the best possible way, going so far as to change the roadmap.
The first unlocking of the tokens in question is intended only for investors, major contributors and Starkware employees: hence, the public will not be directly involved in the matter.
Let’s look at all the details below.
What is StarkWare?
Starkware is an Israeli software development company founded in 2017 that specializes in Ethereum layer-2 solutions using ZK-STARKs off-chain computation proofs.
The latter are cryptographic proofs that ensure the integrity and privacy of computations on the blockchain allow much of the bulk of the work to be shifted to a single off-chain STARK prover.
In doing so, using zero-knowledge technology, thousands of transactions can be bundled into a single batch that is verified off-chain, contributing to the scalability and privacy of the network.
StarkWare’s main products using these computational proofs are 2: the Zk layer-2 Ethereum rollup StarkNet and the SaaS scaling solution StarkEx.
StarkNet supports independent development of smart contracts while StarkEx is the company’s technology engine focused on supporting protocols with special synchronization needs.
The company was valued at as much as $8 billion in May 2022 following a $100 million financing in a Series D round led by Greenoaks Capital and Coatue.
Already several projects use StarkWare’s innovations such as Sorare, Dydx, and Immutable.
Ethereum layer-2: StarkWare and the decision to postpone the first unlocking of STRK tokens to April 2024
Ethereum layer-2 developer StarkWare just yesterday announced that it has decided to postpone the first unlocking of the project’s native token, namely StarkNet (STRK) to April 2024. The cryptocurrency will be used to pay transaction fees, governance and staking on the StarkNet rollup network
This event was originally scheduled for November 29, 2023, after the token was deployed on the Ethereum blockchain the previous year, with the intent of a phased release.
The non-general public is not directly affected by this delay since the STRK tokens in question were intended for investors, contributors, and StarkWare employees at this early stage.
Who initially noticed this change in schedule was the Etherscan explorer who traced a transaction in the digital token release contract made on Sunday, October 1, by the foundation.
The news was later confirmed by sources inside the company, questioned by The Block.
The STRK token, whose total supply has been set at $10 billion, is not yet tradable and many were specifically waiting for Nov. 29, 2023 as the days of likely listing in the markets.
Three Arrows Capital (3AC), a crypto fund that went bankrupt in June 2022 due to too much leverage exposure, had also invested in the STRK token by participating in two separate funding rounds for StarkWare.
After this referral from the Israeli parent company, liquidators will have to wait another five months before they can tap into the assets and proceed with their sale.
The real reasons for this are not yet known, but an official spokesperson for the company reported that the roadmap has been reorganized, as has the timeline for token unlocks, so that they can focus more on the technology.
These are his words reported to The Block:
“We are focusing on the development of the technology. We are updating the timeline as needed, and that includes an update for the blockchain.”
Airdrop of the STRK token: is there still time to interact with Ethereum’s layer-2 rollup?
Following the news of the delay for the first unlocking of STRK tokens by Ethereum’s layer-2 developer StarkWare, many users active in airdrop farming practices were annoyed about X.
The fact that the first tokens will be unlocked in April 2024 and no longer in November 2023 has been interpreted by many as also delaying the airdrop of the cryptocurrency itself, which is expected to take place in conjunction with the first listings in the markets.
Neither the company StarkWare nor representatives of the layer-2 network StarkNet have said explicitly that there will be an airdrop to early users but have hinted at it over the past few months.
Hence, many farmers have been particularly active in recent months given the possibilities of an impending airdrop and have now had to scale back their expectations.
To be fair, however, the fact that the first token unlock has been delayed does not necessarily mean that the airdrop to the community will also occur with the same delay.
Indeed, a StarkWare spokesperson reminded that the cryptocurrencies delayed until April 2024 belong only to investors, employees, and contributors and not to the general public.
This might suggest that early adopters of ZK-STARKs technology will be rewarded sooner than everyone else, probably before April next year.
There is, however, reason to consider that the decentralized network representative’s words may be geared primarily toward attracting user traffic, rather than shedding light on already planned strategic moves.
By hinting that an airdrop is coming, farmers would thus continue to conduct transactions on the network by helping to pay fees to network nodes and liquidity providers.