Starknet to hand 10% of network fees to devs, with $3.5M in first distribution

Layer-2 network StarkWare and the Starknet Foundation are set to distribute a 10% cut of network fees to developers, a part of a pilot program called “Devonomics.” 

In an announcement shared with Cointelegraph on Dec. 12, StarkWare CEO Uri Kolodny said it was allocating a portion of the network fees, provisionally 8%, to decentralized app builders and 2% to infrastructure engineers and core developers through a transparent and open voting process.

“It’s all about giving the hands-on builders a strong voice in shaping the network,” explained Kolodny.

The Devonomics initiative will begin with an initial distribution covering all transaction fees accumulated from the platform’s launch until Nov. 30, 2023. This equates to around 1,600 Ether (ETH) valued at roughly $3.58 million at current ETH prices.

StarkWare co-founder Eli Ben-Sasson adds that while the model is likely to undergo several iterations, it could have a broad impact on the Ethereum ecosystem and help developers “weather” the remainder of a protracted cryptocurrency winter:

Ben-Sasson said the broader cryptocurrency ecosystem is also seeing a “phenomenal amount of blockchain brain drain”, as talented developers leave the sector because of the impact of the cryptocurrency bear market and its financial implications.

Initial distributions will be in ETH before transitioning to the Starknet governance token, STRK. On Dec. 1, Cointelegraph reported that STRK token distribution had not yet been finalized, with the foundation warning users over fakes and scams related to the new L2 asset.

The new program comes amid an increase in developer activity on the platform. According to data from venture firm Electric Capital, there was a 14% increase in full-time developers on Starknet in October amid an overall 28% decline for blockchain projects in general.

Ben-Sasson attributed this increase in developer numbers within the Starknet ecosystem to the revamp of its native Cairo programming language in Jan. 2023. 

“In a word, Cairo. The language, initially seen as a footnote in a Solidity-dominated world, is increasingly seen as the most impressive solution for writing smart contracts,” Ben-Sasson explains.

StarkWare said the initiative aims to support both established and new developers, contributing to the expansion of the Starknet ecosystem. Currently, zero-knowledge rollup-based StarkWare is the sole operator and fee collector on Starknet, but this is expected to change as the network further decentralizes.

Ben-Sasson also tells Cointelegraph that Starknet has lofty ambitions of having the largest number of developers in the Ethereum ecosystem. He touts the layer-2 network as being more scalable and having more compute than any other L2. 

“As StarkNet will be orders of magnitude more scalable than Ethereum and have much more compute than exists on L1, it can surpass even Ethereum’s developer ecosystem,” the StarkWare co-founder said.

Related: Ethereum L2 Starknet aims to decentralize core components of its scaling network

In November, Starknet outlined plans to improve the decentralization of three core components of its rollup solution.

Starknet is the ninth-largest layer-2 network with a total value locked of $137 million, according to industry analytics platform L2beat. Moreover, TVL has increased by over 2,600% since the beginning of 2023.

Additional reporting by Gareth Jenkinson.

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