- Polygon has accused zkSync of intellectual property theft, claiming that a significant portion of their invention was used without proper attribution.
- The accusation centers on two of Polygon’s Zero-Knowledge (zk) proof systems, Plonky2 and Starky, which zkSync allegedly copied in their recently launched proving system called Boojum.
The blockchain ecosystem is currently stirred up by a controversial accusation made by Polygon, a prominent player in the sector. The company alleges that zkSync, a competitor in the field, has committed an act of intellectual property (IP) theft by using components of Polygon’s work without adequate attributions.
The Origin of the Dispute
Polygon’s accusation primarily revolves around Plonky2 and Starky, two rapid Zero-Knowledge (zk) proof systems developed by the company during its early days as a startup known as Mir. Both these zk proof systems are instrumental in constructing a ZK Layer 2 (ZK L2), and their source codes were open-sourced under a permissive MIT/Apache license as a part of Polygon’s philosophy to contribute to the community.
The issue arose when Matter Labs, zkSync’s developers, launched a proving system named Boojum. Polygon asserts that this new proving system contains chunks of source code that are directly copied from critical components of the Plonky2 library. This copy-pasting, according to Polygon, was carried out without referencing the original author or the original work.
The Misleading Claims
Adding fuel to the fire, Alex Gluchowski, the founder of Matter Labs, made a claim that Boojum is more than 10 times faster than Plonky2. The assertion seems dubious to Polygon, especially considering the performance-critical field arithmetic code was reportedly copied directly from Plonky2. Hence, the controversial statement that Boojum outperforms Plonky2 by such a significant factor seems to misrepresent the original work and is perceived by Polygon as a violation of the open source ethos.
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Implications for Open Source Development
Open source development thrives on mutual respect, collaboration, and the sharing of knowledge. Anyone can use, modify, or distribute open-source code, but it’s essential to acknowledge the original creators and not to misrepresent the original work for promotional gains.
This alleged incident of IP theft by zkSync not only disrespects the open source ethos, but it could also potentially harm the open-source ecosystem. The open-source community’s growth and productivity hinge on participants being contributors and not extractors.
As Polygon and zkSync continue their discourse over this allegation, it’s evident that the outcome of this controversy will have far-reaching implications for the future of open-source development in the blockchain ecosystem.
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