Matter Labs CEO Denies ‘Extremely Disappointing’ Code Copying Allegations from Polygon Zero
Alex Gluchowski has denied accusations from Polygon Zero that his company copied "performance-critical components" from its zero-knowledge system.
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zkSync creator Matter Labs’ recently released proving system Boojum has been accused of containing code copied from Polygon Zero’s Plonky2, according to a blog post published by Polygon Zero on August 3.
The CEO of Matter Labs, Alex Gluchowski, has vehemently denied these allegations, acknowledging room for improvement in attribution but defending the originality of his firm’s work.
Every decision we make as a team towards building @zksync is driven by our ethos, which is based on integrity and transparency. We have made honest mistakes in the past, but we always did our best to openly acknowledge them and take responsibility. And will always do so in the… https://t.co/4yjpSCHC2d
— Alex G. ∎ (@gluk64) August 4, 2023
Polygon Zero stated in the blog post that Matter Labs copied what they described as “performance-critical components” of their zero-knowledge system called Plonky2. The absence of proper attribution to the original authors was highlighted as being against the open-source ethos.
Crypto runs on the open source ethos. When projects don’t follow it, the ecosystem suffers.
— Polygon Zero 💜 (@0xPolygonZero) August 3, 2023
Responding to the allegations, Gluchowski defended Matter Labs, claiming that both Plonky2 and Boojum are implementations of RedShift construction, a concept introduced by Matter Labs three years prior to the Plonky2 paper. He further accused the developers of Plonky2 of failing to give credit:
“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.”
While refuting the allegations, Gluchowski did admit that his company “could have done it better” regarding attribution, pledging to adopt a more standard approach, as pointed out by some people in the community:
“It’s not hard to abide by a permissive opensource license. It’s not even copyleft. All you have to do is give attribution.”
However, this questions the understanding of open-sourced in the industry. Gluchowski said that “if you’re not happy about others – including potential competitors – using parts of your code, maybe Open Source is not for you?”
Polygon Zero said in its tweet that companies using the source code still need to cite sources, further stating:
“Copy-pasting source code without attribution and making misleading claims about the original work is against the open source ethos and hurts the ecosystem.”