StarkWare, the company behind Ethereum layer-2 scaling solution StarkNet, plans to launch a native token designed to decentralize control and maintenance of the network.
The token is also intended to reward developers and investors, and its unveiling comes a day after Su Zhu, the enigmatic founder of failed crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, slammed the fund’s liquidators for their alleged failure to claim StarkWare tokens before a July 5 deadline.
But early adopters of the nascent L2 took to its Discord to fume that they were left out of the equation, and some compared it to Optimism’s botched token airdrop last month.
Layer 2 protocols like StarkNet, Optimism and Arbitrum allow users to access the Ethereum blockchain while avoiding some of its pitfalls, such as its variable and often costly transaction fees. StarkNet launched on the Ethereum mainnet in November 2021.
“Now is the time to advance the decentralization of the network,” StarkWare said in a series of blog posts Wednesday, “so it achieves the liveness, censorship resistance, transparency and inclusivity demanded of an L2 on Ethereum.”
When the token makes its debut in September, it will be used for governance. At a later, unannounced time, the token will be used to pay transaction fees on StarkNet.
The initial 10B supply of StarkNet tokens “emphasizes compensating developers for their work,” the company said. About one-third has been allocated to “core contributors”: the StarkWare company and its employees and consults. Another 17% will go to investors. The remaining tokens will be held by the newly established StarkNet Foundation.
No Airdrop For Early Adopters
The allocation angered some of StarkNet’s early users, many of who have been using the network’s testnets hoping for an airdrop.
“100% its an error, i can’t believe this,” Discord user Imperator wrote in a channel dedicated to the token announcement. “people are invested in their ecosystem and using the testnet, and there is nothing for them.”
“We need to speak up together that early Starknet users have a right,” wrote Discord user Secret Societies. “Optimism updated their tokenomics like 3 times after publishing. So speak up, or be quiet forever and take the loss.”
The Foundation’s mission is twofold, according to the company: to act as a resource for the development, documentation and publication of StarkNet’s software and to develop “mechanics for community decision making on essential technological questions.”
Of the roughly five billion tokens set aside for the foundation, one-fifth will be allocated to developers and one-fifth to community rebates that will “partially cover the costs of onboarding to StarkNet from Ethereum”. Another 40% will be used for grants and a strategic reserve, and the remainder will be used “to further support the StarkNet community in a manner to be decided by the community.”
Conferring the governance and maintenance of StarkNet to its community via a token will further the company’s view of the protocol as “a truly permissionless public good, like Ethereum, or the Internet” — one that won’t be able to discriminate among users and that will continue operating even in the event StarkWare folds.
But some who felt spurned by Wednesday’s announcement weren’t buying the talk of handing over control to the community.
“I’m a bit worried about building on a platform that’s so centralized (token distribution),” wrote Discord user Quiark.