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Setting up a Cairo 1 Dev Environment
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Setting Up a Cairo 1 Dev Environment

David Barreto

The following instructions are tested for Ubuntu and MacOS. Whenever there's a discrepancy between the two OS, you'll see IF ELSE-IF meta instructions.


Before you start, make sure to have this dependencies installed

Installing Rust

To manage Rust (install different versions and update it) we need to install rustup (docs)

~ $ curl --proto '=https' --tlsv1.2 -sSf | sh

Load shell configuration to active terminal (or restart the terminal)

~ $ source "$HOME/.cargo/env"

Verify that rustup is installed and active

~ $ rustup --version


rustup 1.25.2 (17db695f1 2023-02-01)

Installing Cairo 1 CLI

The latest version of the Starknet CLI (cairo-lang) doesn't include the Cairo 1 compiler yet. In order to compile a Cairo 1 smart contract to Sierra, we need to download the new Cairo 1 compiler written in Rust (cairo).

We are going to clone the Cairo 1 repo in the HOME directory just for convenience as we want to make the new compiler available to our PATH variable so we can call the "starknet-compile" command from any location.

~ $ git clone ~/.cairo

Before compiling the binaries, we need to make sure to use the latest tagged version of the repo instead of using "main" to make sure we are only using features supported by Starknet testnet.

~ $ cd ~/.cairo

.cairo $ git checkout tags/v1.0.0-alpha.6

Now we can build the binaries from the Rust source

.cairo $ cargo build --all --release

Add Cairo 1 binaries to PATH by modifying .zshrc

.cairo $ echo 'export PATH="$HOME/.cairo/target/release:$PATH"' >> ~/.zshrc

Activate new shell configuration (or restart terminal)

.cairo $ source ~/.zshrc

Verify that Cairo 1 binaries can be found

.cairo $ starknet-compile --version


cairo-lang-starknet 1.0.0-alpha.6

Test Compiler  (Ubuntu & MacOS)

Create a project folder

~ $ mkdir ~/starknet && mkdir ~/starknet/test

~ $ cd ~/starknet/test

test $ mkdir src sierra

test $ touch src/example.cairo

Folder structure

test $ tree .



├── sierra

└── src

    └── example.cairo

Create empty smart contract to test if compiler works



mod SimpleStorage {}

Compile smart contract to sierra

test $ starknet-compile src/example.cairo sierra/example.json

It works!

Installing Cairo 1 VSCode Extension

Install NodeJS


Ubuntu 22 has Node v12 as it's latest package so we need to update the apt reference to Node v19 which is the current latest version

~ $ curl -sL | sudo -E bash -

Before installing the first system wide dependency, we need to update our package index

~ $ sudo apt update

Now we can get NodeJS by using apt

~ $ sudo apt install -y nodejs


Get node from homebrew

~ $ brew update

~ $ brew install node


To verify the installation of node and npm

~ $ node -v



~ $ npm -v



Compile Extension

Install globally the VSCode extension manager with npm

~ $ sudo npm install -g @vscode/vsce

Navigate to the folder where the vscode extension for Cairo 1 is located within the cairo repo

~ $ cd ~/.cairo/vscode-cairo

Install project dependencies from npm

vscode-cairo $ npm install

To install the extension on vscode, we have to first turn it into a package

vscode-cairo $ vsce package

Install & Configure

Now the package can be installed in vscode using the cli

vscode-cairo $ code --install-extension cairo1*.vsix


Extension 'cairo1-1.0.0.vsix' was successfully installed.

Verify that the Cairo 1 extension was installed on vscode

Configure the extension to use the language server

vscode-cairo $ cd ~/.cairo/target/release

release $ pwd



Close and restart VSCode for the changes to take effect

Improve the smart contract



mod SimpleStorage {

    struct Storage {

        balance: felt252



    fn BalanceIncreased(balance: felt252) {}


    fn increase_balance(amount: felt252) {

        let new_balance = balance::read() + amount;





    fn get_balance() -> felt252 {




If the extension is working you should see the syntax highlighter

Compile new version of the smart contract to Sierra

vscode-cairo $ cd ~/starknet/test

test $ starknet-compile src/example.cairo sierra/example.json

Installing Python 3.9


Add the deadsnakes PPA to your system

~ $ sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:deadsnakes/ppa

Update the package list again to include the packages from the newly added PPA

~ $ sudo apt update

Install the dev version of Python 3.9 and the virtual environment extension

~ $ sudo apt install -y python3.9-dev python3.9-venv


Install python from homebrew

~ $ brew install python@3.9


Verify that python was installed correctly

~ $ python3.9 --version


Python 3.9.16

Installing Cairo CLI

Install Cairo's CLI required global dependency


~ $ sudo apt install -y libgmp3-dev


~ $ brew install gmp


Create a python virtual environment using python3.9 in the project folder

~ $ cd ~/starknet/test

test $ python3.9 -m venv venv

Activate the virtual environment

test $ source venv/bin/activate

Upgrade pip to its latest version before attempting to install any package

(venv) test $ pip install --upgrade pip

Install Cairo CLI (cairo-lang)


(venv) test $ pip install cairo-lang


(venv) test $ CFLAGS=-I`brew --prefix gmp`/include LDFLAGS=-L`brew --prefix gmp`/lib pip install cairo-lang



Verify installation

(venv) test $ starknet --version



Configure the Cairo CLI

Configure the env variables used by the CLI to use the Cairo 1 compiler instead of the default Cairo 0 compiler when declaring a smart contract.



# Use Starknet testnet

export STARKNET_NETWORK=alpha-goerli

# Set the default wallet implementation to be used by the CLI export STARKNET_WALLET=starkware.starknet.wallets.open_zeppelin.OpenZeppelinAccount


# Use Starknet testnet

export STARKNET_NETWORK=alpha-goerli

# Set the default wallet implementation to be used by the CLI export


# Set the path to the Cairo 1 compiler binary. Adapt this path to fit your installation if needed

export CAIRO_COMPILER_DIR=~/.cairo/target/release/


Activate new env variables

~ $ source ~/.zshrc

Create an Account

Return to the project folder and activate the environment

~ $ cd ~/starknet/test

test $ source venv/bin/activate

Create an account called "v0.11.0.2"

(venv) test $ starknet new_account --account v0.11.0.2


Account address: 0x05a71d32806410f0333a5a2ed5316ddec8f5f511ecb3192bbe6138f8ce0420b2

Public key: 0x04a946e1cb7afb01c751f1147feb6642ba2cedffda40b33e9356a7777bee6bcb

Move the appropriate amount of funds to the account, and then deploy the account

by invoking the 'starknet deploy_account' command.

Send test ETH on Goerli to the account address using the faucet

Wait until the transaction enters the state "PENDING" before trying to deploy the account.

Deploy the account

(venv) test $ starknet deploy_account --account v0.11.0.2


​​Sending the transaction with max_fee: 0.001331 ETH (1330645047319751 WEI).

Sent deploy account contract transaction.

Contract address: 0x05a71d32806410f0333a5a2ed5316ddec8f5f511ecb3192bbe6138f8ce0420b2

Transaction hash: 0x15128519a0d69f48020d6aa31935775b8731353b9018b1cdf76c157b8f6333a

Deploy Smart Contract

At this point the smart contract is already compiled to Sierra. So we need to first declare it.

(venv) test $ starknet declare --contract sierra/example.json --account v0.11.0.2


Got BadRequest while trying to access Status code: 500; text: {"code": "StarknetErrorCode.CLASS_ALREADY_DECLARED", "message": "Class with hash 0x9b09ce076e1789d2901b83b27f88b9dfdc5d8952ee694f0ad6416640839af7 is already declared.\n0x297b2c8e38092143e72271aa27e616df208337c27c821e1f4e85d320657a2f6 != 0"}.

This is an expected error as the smart contract was previously declared by someone else already.

We can move on to deploy an instance using the class hash

(venv) test $ starknet deploy --class_hash 0x9b09ce076e1789d2901b83b27f88b9dfdc5d8952ee694f0ad6416640839af7 --account v0.11.0.2


Sending the transaction with max_fee: 0.000503 ETH (502887840980218 WEI).

Invoke transaction for contract deployment was sent.

Contract address: 0x0679054ccf6c2e0eb2bb3d979a0d6952f9bc3ae0a43831a22267e6146600ece7

Transaction hash: 0x22100fd5b53827194cac5aa06b9e2746b59b0e650e19c21c4aa18be50e60245

Interacting with the smart contract using Braavos and Starkscan seems to work to increase the balance