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About STARKs

The seal on a RISC Zero receipt is generated using a zk-STARK: a zero knowledge, scalable, transparent argument of knowledge.

STARKs are a highly technical process - an innovation in the world of zero-knowledge cryptography introduced by Eli Ben-Sasson et. al in 2018. In order to prove the integrity of a computation with a STARK, the prover arithmetizes the entire question. By encoding the execution trace into polynomials, the statement of computational integrity is reduced to a statement about polynomial division.


In the context of the RISC Zero zkVM, the term seal refers to the zk-STARK that attests to the integrity of the trace. The following documentation describes the RISC Zero zk-STARK in more detail:

  • Proof system sequence diagram
    This document includes a sequence diagram and step-by-step specification of the RISC Zero zk-STARK.
  • STARK by Hand
    This document shows a simplified, concrete example of the construction of a RISC Zero seal.


We recommend the following external references on STARKs:

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