Polyhedra, Polygon, and StarkWare Challenge zkSync’s Claim to ‘ZK’ Ticker

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Polyhedra, Polygon, and StarkWare have come together in a fierce protest against zkSync’s use of the ‘ZK’ ticker. They demand that Matter Labs withdraw its application to make “zero-knowledge” their exclusive intellectual property.

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Polyhedra has already announced it will change its original ticker from ZK to ZKJ, signaling its defiance. Matter Labs, the company behind zkSync, has filed trademark applications in nine countries to claim the term “zero-knowledge” as its exclusive property.

Crypto Industry Outraged Over Trademark Claims

Matter Labs previously tried registering a token with the ‘ZK’ ticker on cryptocurrency exchanges, aiming to establish dominance over this important technological concept. Zero-knowledge (ZK) technology is a type of cryptographic protocol. It lets one person (the prover) convince another (the verifier) that a claim is true without revealing any details. Matter Labs’ attempt to trademark ZK technology has sparked outrage. Eli Ben-Sasson, CEO of StarkWare, called this an “absurd IP grab.”

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Leading figures in the crypto world have joined the outcry. They are calling for Matter Labs to withdraw their trademark application. A public letter signed by industry giants labeled Matter Labs’ action as “oppressive behavior.”

Today, we seek broader community support to call for Matters’ withdrawal of all improperly-filed, generic trademark applications.

Aligned with the true Ethereum ethos, Polygon Labs consistently puts out open-source code that benefits everyone. This commitment has positively…

— Polygon | Aggregated (@0xPolygon) May 30, 2024

The letter’s signatories include Polygon co-founders Sandeep Nailwal and Brendan Farmer, StarkWare CEO Eli Ben-Sasson, Polyhedra Network co-founder and zkBridge inventor Tiancheng Xie, and Turing Award winner and ZK-proofs co-inventor Shafi Goldwasser. They assert that ZK is a public good that should belong to everyone. Exploiting the legal system to annex a public good violates the ethos of the crypto community, they argue.

Matter Labs’ CEO Responds to Public Backlash

In response to the backlash, Alex Gluchowski, founder and CEO of Matter Labs, took to Cointelegraph’s X post to defend his company’s actions. He stated that he rejects “the very idea of intellectual property.” Gluchowski added that all the trademarks Matter Labs registered, including ZK-related ones, are defensive measures. They plan to prevent dishonest actors from misleading customers and confusing their products and services with those Matter Labs offers.


— Alex G. (∎, ∆) (@gluk64) May 30, 2024

Due to the enormous potential of ZK technology, many believe no single company should try to claim this paradigm as its own. StarkWare’s Ben-Sasson highlighted the sheer potential of ZK cryptography, stating, “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.”

Cryptopolitan reporting by Jai Hamid

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