Matter Labs CEO Denies Code Copying Allegations by Polygon Zero

In recent developments, a heated dispute has emerged between Matter Labs and Polygon Zero, revolving around accusations of code copying. The focal point of the controversy is Alex Gluchowski, the co-founder and CEO of zkSync creator Matter Labs, who firmly denies the allegations made by Polygon Zero, attributing them as unfounded and misleading.

On August 3, Polygon Zero took to its blog, publishing an extensive post accusing Matter Labs of appropriating “performance-critical components” from their zero-knowledge system, “Plonky2.” According to Polygon Zero, the contentious code was allegedly found in Matter Labs’ recently-released proving system, “Boojum,” without proper attribution to the original authors.

Reacting to the allegations, Gluchowski promptly addressed the matter on his Twitter account, vehemently defending Matter Labs’ commitment to integrity and transparency in every aspect of their decision-making process. Despite acknowledging past missteps, Gluchowski adamantly contested the current accusations, asserting that only a mere 5% of Boojum’s code was based on Plonky2, and that clear attributions were indeed provided for the reused code.

To shed further light on the issue, Gluchowski presented crucial facts to help readers draw their own conclusions. He highlighted the shared nature of both Plonky2 and Boojum as implementations of the RedShift construction (PLONK + FRI). In a compelling argument, Gluchowski revealed that Matter Labs had introduced RedShift three years before Polygon Zero’s publication of the Plonky2 paper.

In a bid to be fully transparent, Gluchowski also pointed out that the Plonky2 team had never given Matter Labs credit for their contributions, despite referring to Matter Labs’ work in their own paper. Despite this, Matter Labs had never raised the issue, embracing the spirit of cooperation and recognizing that progress often stems from building upon each other’s innovations.

Additionally, Gluchowski admitted that, in retrospect, they could have handled the situation better in terms of attributions. He acknowledged the importance of adhering to standard approaches and pledged to provide proper credit in future endeavors. True to the open-source ethos, Matter Labs’ projects, including Boojum and ZK Sync, were released with free permissive licenses, encouraging collaboration and collective benefit.

However, the dispute did not end with attributions alone. Polygon Zero had also raised concerns about benchmarking. Gluchowski questioned the rationale behind endorsing code for benchmarking and later disputing the benchmarking function or implementations. He argued that neutral third-party benchmarks aimed to provide a fair comparison between different implementations and that constructive feedback was more valuable than public accusations.

Throughout his response, Gluchowski expressed respect for the Polygon Zero team and their contributions to the field. Despite the disagreement, he maintained the belief that genuine cooperation within the open-source community is the key to sustainable progress.

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