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Polygon, StarkWare, Polyhedra Challenge zkSync Use Of The “ZK” Ticker

Polygon, StarkWare, and Polyhedra have vehemently opposed zkSync’s use of the ZK ticker and have demanded that Matter Labs withdraw its trademark application for “zero knowledge.”

Matter Labs had filed trademark applications in nine countries to make “zero-knowledge” their exclusive intellectual property, sparking outrage in the crypto community. 

Industry Outraged 

Polygon, StarkWare, and Polyhedra have come together in a fierce protest against zkSync’s use of the ZK ticker. Polyhedra has already gone on record to state that it would be changing its original ticker from ZK to ZKJ, highlighting its intent to take on Matter Labs, which has filed trademark applications in nine countries. The company announced the news on social media platform X, stating, 

“To reflect Polyhedra Network’s ongoing commitment to zero-knowledge (ZK) technology and the long-term development of the industry, @HashKey_Global has collaborated with the Polyhedra Network project team to support the ticker update from ZK to ZKJ to become the first exchange to support this initiative for the public goodness of the blockchain industry.”

Matter Labs had previously attempted to register the ZK ticker on prominent cryptocurrency exchanges, aiming to establish its dominance over a crucial technological concept. Zero Knowledge is a type of cryptographic protocol that allows one person (prover) to convince others (verifier) that a particular claim is true without revealing any details about the particular claim. The move to trademark ZK technology has resulted in stinging criticism from the crypto space, with Eli Ben-Sasson, the CEO of StarkWare, calling it an absurd IP grab. 

“ZK cryptography was developed for the good of all. It’s shameful to witness an IP land grab by a company trying to expropriate ‘ZK’ as private intellectual property. It’s as absurd as an individual baker trying to impose a blanket patent on bread.”

Industry Experts Call For Withdrawal Of Trademark Application

Crypto industry leaders have called for an immediate withdrawal of Matter Labs’ trademark filing, calling the move oppressive in a public letter signed by major players from the crypto ecosystem. Signatories include StarkWare CEO Eli Ben-Sasson, Polyhedra Network co-founder and zkBridge inventor Tiancheng Xie, Turing Award winner, and ZK-proofs co-inventor Shafi Goldwasser. The letter stated, 

“We believe that ZK is a public good that belongs to everyone. A company exploiting the legal system to annex a public good violates the crypto ethos, the Ethereum ethos, and the academic ethos. It even goes against Matter Labs’ own ethos.” 

In a separate post on X, Polygon Labs slammed Matter Labs and called for the withdrawal of all improperly filed, generic trademark applications. Polygon stated that Matter Labs had itself benefited from open-source code, with its core zk stack leveraging Polygon Plonky2, and used the technology without proper attribution.

 “Aligned with the true Ethereum ethos, Polygon Labs consistently puts out open-source code that benefits everyone. One such beneficiary is Matter Labs, whose core “zk” tech stack leverages Polygon Plonky2. Initially, they utilized this technology developed by Polygon Labs without proper attribution until they were called out. Despite relying on others’ zk technology, Matter Labs now seeks to trademark “zk” to potentially restrict its use by others. Should anyone be allowed to monopolize math made publicly available by pioneers like Shafi Goldwasser, Silvio Micali, Charles Rackoff, Eli Ben-Sasson (STARKs), or Daniel Lubarov (Plonky2, a widely adopted zk library in web3)? Absolutely not.”

Meanwhile, StarkWare CEO Eli Ben-Sasson stated that ZK proofs have immense potential for humanity and that no single entity should attempt to claim them as their own. 

“ZK cryptography has massive potential for humanity — actually far beyond blockchain. We, in blockchain, are honored to be pioneering its first great use case – and hope this propels it to many other use cases.”

Matter Labs CEO Responds 

Matter Labs CEO Alex Gluchowski responded to the widespread outrage and defended the company’s actions by stating that he rejected the idea of intellectual property. He added that all trademarks, including those related to ZK, were defensive to prevent dishonest actors from misleading customers. 

“All the trademarks we had ever registered, including ZK-related ones, are defensive to prevent dishonest actors from misleading their customers and confusing their products and services with the ones offered by Matter Labs (as had unfortunately been the case in the past).”

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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