Polygon Zero, the zero-knowledge scaling arm of Polygon, has made serious accusations against Matter Labs. They alleged that significant portions of code were copied from Polygon’s Plonky2 library to zkSync, a rival Ethereum layer-2 scaling solution. The controversy has raised concerns over plagiarism and proper attribution of intellectual property.

Allegations of Code Copying in zkSync

On August 3, Polygon Zero released an official announcement accusing Matter Labs developers of copy-pasting a substantial amount of source code from its Plonky2 library into the zkSync ecosystem. ZkSync, developed by Matter Labs, is a competitor in the Ethereum layer-2 scaling space, utilizing zero-knowledge technology to enhance scalability.

At the center of the allegations is Matter Labs’ recently introduced proving system, Boojum. According to Polygon Zero, Boojum contains code that was copied from critical components of Polygon’s recursive SNARK Plonky2. Recursive SNARK is a cryptographic proof that allows a prover to demonstrate the truth of a statement to a verifier without revealing any additional information.

Polygon Zero points out that the allegedly copied code in Boojum was included without proper attribution to the original authors or the inclusion of the original copyrights. This has raised concerns about intellectual property rights and fair usage of code.

Similarities Between Boojum and Plonky2

Polygon Zero highlights that Boojum’s design bears a striking resemblance to Plonky2. This is to the extent of having similar strategies of parallel repetition to boost soundness in a small field. Additionally, using custom gates to efficiently arithmetize recursive verification. Polygon Zero’s teammate, Ulrich Haböck, also developed the same lookup argument used in Boojum.

Adding to the accusations, Polygon noted that Matter Labs has marketed Boojum as being 10x faster than Plonky2. This has raised eyebrows, given that the performance-critical field arithmetic code appears to have been directly copied from Plonky2.

Matter Labs’ Response and Plagiarism Concerns in the Crypto Community

Matter Labs has denied the accusations of plagiarism and expressed disappointment in Polygon’s leadership team for making untrue claims. A spokesperson for Matter Labs further clarified that Boojum leverages only 5% of code from Plonky2. Also, this is prominently attributed in the first line of their module.

Moreover, plagiarism accusations are not new in the crypto community. In March, similar allegations emerged when a member of the Shiba Inu community reported identical chain IDs between the Shibarium layer-2 beta testnet and Rinia testnet. This was with claims that the Shibarium alpha testnet was a copy of Polygon’s Mumbai testnet.

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