MIP40c3-SP28: Modify Core Unit Budget - StarkNet Engineering (sne-001)

MIP40c3-SP28: Adding the StarkNet Engineering Core Unit (SNE-001)


MIP40c3-SP#: 28
Author(s): Author(s): Louis Baudoin (@louismerkle), Ohad Barta
Contributors: Derek Flossman, Maciek Kaminsky, Kris Kaczor, Marc-Andre Dumas, Ohad Barta, Louis Baudoin
Tags: core-unit, cu-sne-001, budget, dai-budget, active
Status: Accepted
Date Applied: 2021-08-09
Date Ratified: 2021-09-27

Sentence Summary

MIP40c3-SP28 adds the budget for StarkNet Engineering Core Unit.



I am proposing this budget for the StarkNet Engineering Core Unit to be able to succeed in its mandate, specifically; to build a bridge to StarkNet that is upgradeable through governance. This is referred to as phase I in the main proposal (MIP39c2-SP28).

Core Unit ID

StarkNet Engineering Core Unit

Budget considerations


This budget for phase I secures a team of 2 Senior Engineers, one Data Scientist (part-time), and one Facilitator. The team size is expected to increase in phase II once the roadmap for enabling minting on StarkNet is clearer and syndicated with the community.

  • Duration: 3 months
  • Total amount for Maker foundation: $210,375
  • Headcount: 4 (including one part-time)

The budget asked is $210,375 for three months, which represents 50% of the total budget. The distribution of the budget across profiles is shown below. The salaries used are taken from Maker internal salary grids and guidelines.


The payment of all the non-salary items will be done upon starting the project. The payment of the salaries will be done either bi-weekly or monthly. The budget will be split evenly between the Maker and Starkware.

List of Budget Breakdowns

Salaries: The has 2 full-time Senior Engineers with prior knowledge of Solidity, validity proofs, or both. 1 part-time Data Scientist, and 1 full-time Team Facilitator (for a total of 4 members).

Bug bounty: Bug Bounties allow us to support whitehat involvement in the work we do. Payout amounts will be assessed and determined by the team.

Gas cost: Rough estimate, based on gas cost needed by other Core Units, taking into account the scope of phase I.

Audit: We will work with one of the firms Maker has worked with before (Gauntlet, PwC, Certora, Quantstamp, Trail of Bits, Consensus, OpenZepplin and Peckshield).

Buffer: 10%

MKR vesting

No MKR vesting is proposed for phase I. A MKR vesting based on deliverables will be proposed for phase II.

What is not in this budget

Travel: Our team is remote, yet we are not excluding the option to meet in person if we assess it is needed.

Budget implementation

SECU has a gnosis safe controlled by the Facilitator to pay 50% of the expenses. The other 50% will be paid by Starkware.

For any budget request beyond December 2021, new sub proposals will be submitted

Maker payments

  • Due to the predictability and regularity of costs, this budget implementation is a “Simple Budget Implementation” under MIP40c4.
  • Core Unit wallet address: 0x6D348f18c88D45243705D4fdEeB6538c6a9191F1
  • Keyholder: @louismerkle - 0x83626A05588bbA91DAeDE52346E5282d123e0280
  • The first disbursement requested is DAI 210,275, which includes:
    • DAI 75,000 on October 5th - one-off setup including gas cost, audit fee, and bug bounty. To be included in the executive vote on October 1st
    • Monthly transfers
      • DAI 3*45,125 streaming - October 1th - December 31th - includes salaries and buffer

Starkware payments

  • Starkware will follow the same schedule as the schedule described above (full schedule table below)
  • Starkware will pay the salaries in FIAT to the team via a service provider (Dill). The rest of the expenses will be paid on the same vault in USDC.

  • Unused funds: Unused funds will be credited towards the next phase led by the SECU

Does this mean Maker pays the first 50% and StarkNet pays the last 3 months?

What happens if there are delays or unexpected expenses? Would the project be abandoned, come back to Maker for more funding, or would StarkNet cover any excess beyond the $210k being requested from Maker.

Thank you in advance. I think that’s the only material question I had.

I personally will be very difficult to persuade to offer MKR to the employees of a profit-seeking enterprise. Please be prepared to offer a DAI-only budget when Phase II occurs.

Thanks for those questions @PaperImperium, answers below, let me know if you have additional questions.

  • The $210,374 requested is for 3 months and represents 50% of the total expense. The correct information is in the bullet points, the sentence below the bullet points has a typo, the correct sentence is: “The budget asked is $210,375 for 3 months, which represents 50% of the total budget.” is the correct sentence

  • Regarding unexpected expenses and potential delays on the technical deliverables, the scope of the bridge is well-defined and we made a conservative budget with a 10% buffer. The main risk is auditor capacity which we have already booked.

  • The risk of delays is arguably higher on the phase II planning deliverable than on delivering the bridge itself in phase I. For the phase II planning to be presented to the community, it requires detailed technical investigations and coordination with different CUs, and particularly the PE and Oracle CUs as per Derek’s post. If the guidelines were longer to formulate than we expected, I am confident we would be able to find a solution that will fit the proposed budget.

  • On salaries, thank you for the feedback and heads-up, I know this is a widely discussed topic within the community. Just note that we are an independent team. None of the team members is a long-term employee of Starkware. We have been contracted for a month by Starkware to learn Cairo to assure we hit the ground running, but we do not have any other long-term agreement with Starkware.

  • On Starkware’s commitment. I have seen a strong commitment on their end to make the project a success. They have been bringing the team on their payroll for a month so we can learn Cairo and hit the ground running, and they have invested a lot of human resources on their side to assure we have the right support as well. From what I see, this project is a priority both for Maker and for Starkware, and both sides know the real benefits will be coming from phase II and beyond, not just from phase I.

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I guess my question was one of ordering? Is Maker deploying all money for the first 3 months and then StarkNet deploying all money for the second 3 months? It doesn’t seem like it’s 50% the entire way through.

If it’s Maker paying 100% of the first half, is there a written commitment from StarkNet somewhere for y’all to get paid for the back half of Phase I? I don’t know enough about them, but what I would not want to do is have us pay for the first half, and then find out that StarkNet either changed their mind or didn’t have the cash or there was a miscommunication,



Thank you for explaining your concern in detail @PaperImperium . If it was Maker paying for the first half I agree it would not provide the right incentives. The budget will be shared on a 50/50 basis all the way through to assure incentives are aligned.

Starkware is showing commitment as they are also paying themselves, without asking for a Maker contribution, for Cairo training until the project officially starts. The intent is to assure the team hits the ground running and can be fully productive during phase.

Regarding the cash concern, according to Crunchbase Starkware raised $123Mn. After spending enough time with them planning for this, I can tell this project is a clear priority for them and they are committed to the continuity of the project.

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We’re down to just nit-picky stuff now, but is there a reason why all the cash Maker is out-laying is over 3 months instead of 6, if that’s the case?

ETA: I’m not terribly concerned about the amount. Just curious about the timing


Phase II (minting) will be under the same modalities (50/50 split).

We initially did propose a 6 months project (50/50 split again) that would have included both the bridge and minting. Though we received the valid feedback from the community that the plan/budget was not precise enough. I agree with that observation, and it was not precise enough due to the need to formulate L2 minting guidelines and do the groundwork of figuring how minting on Starknet should be designed, and hence the exact resources required.

Hence we narrowed this MIP to a 3 months project to build the bridge only and propose a more detailed plan/budget for phase II (minting). Phase II and its budget will also be the subject of a MIP. The community should not vote yes for the phase II MIP unless it’s also a 50/50 split in my opinion.


Ah! So Phase I is estimated 3 months, not 6 months?

That seems to be my own misunderstanding. Thank you.

Yes it is 3 months. Phase II may be another 3 months or more (which is where the 6 months comes from). We will work during phase I to be more precise about timeline/budget for phase II.

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Thank you. I will be moving my vote to yes later today or tomorrow


How many full time equivalent’s, 3.5?

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Yes @Aes , 3,5. We may only be 3 FTE in practice. Still evaluating the situation.

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As part of our broader effort to bring more transparency to the CU budget structure, we have documented the wallet setup of this CU and others;

Read more about it here: Introducing the CU Budget Transparency Map