Kakarot zkEVM: The Fusion of Ethereum and Starknet

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Kakarot is a Cairo-based Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), built on zero-knowledge (ZK) proof technology. Primarily, Kakarot zkEVM was developed to embed Ethereum smart contracts into Starknet.
A trial run for Kakarot is set to launch at the end of August 2023. This will be followed by the integration of Kakarot zkEVM with the Madara server, a system that validates and aggregates transactions into a block. The expected outcome? A comprehensive toolkit for creating decentralized applications based on Kakarot and the capacity for provable off-chain computations. This will lower transaction fees and enhance blockchain efficiency.

In the long run, Kakarot zkEVM will enable a broad range of L3 solutions on Starknet to become compatible, facilitating their interoperation within a unified ecosystem. For instance, DeFi applications could amalgamate their locked value, while users of GameFi projects could utilize the same in-game asset across multiple games. 

In 2022, Elias Tazartes, Clement Walter, and Danilo Kim founded Kakarot. Elias Tazartes took on the role of CEO. The project attracted an array of angel investors, including Rand Hindi, founder of a cryptography company Zama, Nicolas Bacca, CTO of Ledger, Ethereum's founder Vitalik Buterin, and venture capital firms such as StarkWare and Lambda Class

Reflecting on the investment from these significant figures in the crypto industry, Kakarot's CEO highlighted that the project was built in just a week in Lisbon. The founding team dedicated their entire time to coding, with very little sleep. He expressed his gratification in seeing these individuals and companies recognize their zkEVM's potential and their readiness to back the initiative.

So, what issue does Kakarot address?

Starknet, a Layer 2 blockchain designed to scale Ethereum, utilizes the Cairo VM virtual machine. This L2 solution employs the Cairo programming language to develop dApps. However, this could potentially discourage programmers familiar with Ethereum's popular smart contract language, Solidity, from wanting to explore Starknet. 

Kakarot was designed to break down this barrier. It ensures compatibility between the programming languages Solidity and Cairo, as well as between Ethereum and Starknet's virtual machines. This compatibility allows Ethereum's smart contracts to be deployed on Starknet without altering their code.

In essence, Kakarot zkEVM simplifies the process for developers who want to launch decentralized applications on a new Layer 2 blockchain but are hesitant to navigate the specifics of an unfamiliar programming language.

The Mechanics of Kakarot zkEVM

The key feature of this virtual machine is its utilization of Zero-Knowledge Proof technology. It allows for the verification of transactions without revealing any transaction-specific details, thereby ensuring the blockchain's security and privacy. The ability to merge EVM and ZK-Proof comes from the foundational Cairo VM virtual environment that underpins Kakarot.

Moreover, Kakarot zkEVM deploys the ZK-Rollup toolkit. This technological ensemble takes advantage of Ethereum's robust security but processes and compiles transactions into bundles off-chain via servers. On top of that, the virtual machine employs the Ethereum JSON-RPC client and the zk-STARK protocol.

Collectively, these features equip Kakarot with the ability to offer lower fees and superior throughput in comparison to the Ethereum platform and its Layer 2 blockchains.

Kakarot zkEVM has simultaneously tackled several challenges inherent to the crypto market: the difficulties of interoperability, inadequate scalability, and a shortfall in security. It's not surprising then that the project has drawn support from Vitalik Buterin. The successful integration of this new virtual machine may well alleviate some of the pressure on the Ethereum blockchain and facilitate closer integration with the Starknet ecosystem.