Matter Labs CEO: zkSync Code Copying Accusations by Polygon Zero Are Unfounded
On Thursday, Polygon published a blog post accusing zkSync of copying its Zero-Knowledge Proof system code without attribution.
Matter Labs CEO Alex Gluchowski has hit back at Polygon Zero’s claims but acknowledged that attribution could have been done better.
Matter Labs CEO Alex Gluchowski has hit back at Polygon Zero’s claims that zkSync had copied its code without attribution.
In a blog post published on Thursday, Polygon Zero, the team behind Zero-Knowledge Proof systems Plonky2 and Starky, wrote that Boojum, zkSync’s recently released proving system “includes a substantial amount of source code that is copy-pasted from performance-critical components of the Plonky2 library.”
According to Polygon Zero, their work on Plonky2 began in their early days as a small startup named Mir and continued on their effort after Polygon’s acquisition of Mir. The team highlighted zkSync’s Boojum used their code without including clear attribution to the original authors. It also went on to say that zkSync’s blog post introducing Boojum never mentioned Polygon or the developers that have written the code used in Boojum.
Polygon Zero asserted that Boojum is similar to Plonky2 on multiple fronts. Boojum uses an analogous approach of parallel repetition, a strategy that enhances reliability within a confined context. Both systems also use similar custom gates, which streamline the process of translating recursive verification into mathematical terms. Lastly, Boojum also integrates an identical lookup argument, developed by Polygon Zero teammate Ulrich Haböck.
The Polygon Zero team stated Matter Labs “also made misleading claims about Plonky2’s performance relative to Boojum” and in a mic-drop moment, said that “copy-pasting source code without attribution and making misleading claims about the original work is against the open source ethos and hurts the ecosystem.”
Matter Labs response
Today, Alex Gluchowski, the CEO of Matter Labs, the developer behind zkSync, took to Twitter to counter Polygon Zero’s assertions. In a tweet, Gluchowski expressed disappointment over what he deemed as baseless and misleading allegations from a team he holds in high regard.
He elaborated, criticizing the impression left by Polygon Zero’s post, which seemed to suggest that Boojum heavily relied on Plonky2 code without innovation, and that this code was repurposed without due credit. Gluchowski disagreed, clarifying that both Plonky2 and Boojum are implementations of Matter Labs’ RedShift construction, a project that began three years before the Plonky2 paper. He highlighted that while Plonky2 mentioned RedShift in their paper, no credit was given to Matter Labs.
Gluchowski divulged that approximately 5% of Boojum’s code draws from Plonky2, and attribution is clearly stated in the main file of the module where this code is reused. Additionally, the README file and introduction post of Boojum acknowledge Plonky2 and its authors. However, he conceded that there was room for improvement in the attribution approach after the ZK community emphasized standard practices.
Responding to Gluchowski’s tweet, Starknet AMM Fibrous Finance team leader TobyKitty said: “Man, with all respect, GitHub readme lacks a link. Typically, attribution should include the license, original author, and a link to the project. Writing it on a blogpost does not make any sense, if you forked away any % of a code.”
Echoing the same sentiments, Scroll’s “rollup sorcerer” Toghrul Maharramov tweeted that mentioning Plonky2 in the first line of Boojum’s Github module is not correct attribution:
Muharramov also said that “proper attributions and credits are important to preserve the ethos of OSS.” To address this, Gluchowski revealed plans to enforce a standard attribution approach by a dedicated responsible reviewer going forward.
Hitting back at Polygon Zero, Gluchowski said: “Open Source is all about genuine cooperation. If the Polygon Zero team wanted additional credit, the easiest way would have been to submit a pull request which we would have happily accepted. Going ahead with public accusations of a complete lack of attribution (even if it was true, which is not the case here) is anything but the spirit of the Open Source movement. If you’re not happy about others – including potential competitors – using parts of your code, maybe Open Source is not for you?”
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