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Polygon Zero accuses Matter Labs’ developers of plagiarism

In a recent development within the crypto community, Polygon Zero has accused Matter Labs’ developers of committing plagiarism. Polygon Zero alleges that Matter Labs copied a substantial amount of source code from its Plonky2 library to create zkSync, a competing Ethereum layer-2 scaling solution. Matter Labs has denied these claims, stating that they have leveraged only 5% of the code from Plonky2 and have properly attributed it. This incident raises questions about adherence to the open source ethos within the crypto ecosystem and the potential consequences of failing to give proper credit. Plagiarism accusations have become increasingly prevalent within the industry, and this case adds to the ongoing discussions around intellectual property in the world of cryptocurrencies.

Polygon Zero accuses Matter Labs’ developers of plagiarism

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Background

In the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain, plagiarism accusations are not uncommon. Recently, Polygon Zero, a zero-knowledge scaling arm of Polygon, has accused developers from Matter Labs of plagiarizing significant portions of code from its Plonky2 library. The alleged plagiarism was found in zkSync, a competing Ethereum layer-2 scaling solution powered by zero-knowledge technology. Matter Labs, the developer of zkSync, has denied these claims.

Allegations of Plagiarism

Polygon Zero claims that Matter Labs copy-pasted a substantial amount of source code from its Plonky2 library into its recently released proving system called Boojum. Boojum is said to have borrowed critical components from Plonky2, including recursive SNARK (Succinct Non-interactive Arguments of Knowledge) algorithms. Recursive SNARKs are cryptographic proofs that allow one party to demonstrate the truth of a statement to another party without revealing any additional information.

Polygon Zero accuses Matter Labs’ developers of plagiarism

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Code Inclusion without Attribution

Polygon Zero further alleges that the code in question was included in Boojum without original copyrights or clear attribution to the original authors. Additionally, Polygon Zero notes that Boojum bears striking resemblance to Plonky2’s library, employing similar strategies such as parallel repetition to boost soundness in a small field, using similar custom gates to facilitate efficient arithmetization, and incorporating the same lookup argument developed by Ulrich Haböck, a member of the Polygon team.

Similarities between Boojum and Plonky2

The similarities between Boojum and Plonky2 go beyond just strategy and code snippets. Both systems share common features, such as a parallel repetition strategy to enhance soundness in their respective domains. Additionally, they utilize similar custom gates to enable efficient arithmetization. Perhaps most notably, both systems rely on the same lookup argument, which was developed by Ulrich Haböck, a member of the Polygon team. These striking similarities have raised eyebrows and fueled the accusations of plagiarism.

Performance Comparison

Matter Labs has marketed Boojum as being 10 times faster than Plonky2, a claim that has been met with skepticism given the alleged copied code. Polygon Zero questions how Boojum could achieve superior performance if it directly copied the performance-critical field arithmetic code from Plonky2. Furthermore, there are concerns about the attribution of Poseidon optimization, which Matter Labs has acknowledged as an optimization technique employed in Boojum. While Matter Labs has given credit for this optimization, Polygon Zero emphasizes that Boojum incorporates much more than just Poseidon constants from Plonky2.

Matter Labs’ Response

Matter Labs has responded to Polygon Zero’s accusations by expressing disappointment with Polygon’s leadership team for spreading what they claim are untrue claims. According to Matter Labs, Boojum leverages only 5% of the code from Plonky2, and this attribution is prominently mentioned in the first line of their module. Matter Labs argues that if they had intended to hide or downplay the usage of Plonky2’s code, it would not have been so prominently attributed. They have also indicated that a detailed response to the allegations is forthcoming.

Previous Plagiarism Accusations in the Crypto Community

Unfortunately, accusations of plagiarism are not uncommon in the crypto community. One notable example is the accusation made by a member of the Shiba Inu (SHIB) community, who claimed that the Shibarium layer-2 beta testnet and Rinia testnet had identical chain IDs. Additionally, there were claims that the Shibarium alpha testnet was a copy of Polygon’s Mumbai testnet. These allegations highlight the importance of integrity and originality in the development of blockchain solutions, and shed light on the ongoing challenges of establishing trust in the crypto space.

In conclusion, Polygon Zero’s accusations of plagiarism against Matter Labs have raised concerns about integrity and originality within the crypto community. The allegations point to significant similarities between Boojum and Plonky2, raising questions about the inclusion of code without proper attribution. As the crypto community continues to evolve, it is crucial for developers and projects to adhere to the principles of open source ethos and maintain transparency in their codebase.

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