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ConsenSys-Backed Linea Slams Matter Labs’ Power Grab Over ‘Zero-Knowledge’ Tech




ConsenSys-backed Layer 2 network – Linea – has extended support to StarkWare’s statement denouncing Matter Labs’ attempts to trademark the term “zero-knowledge” (ZK) in nine countries.

Matter Labs, the entity behind zkSync, aims to assert exclusive control over this foundational cryptographic concept, sparking outrage across the industry. Notably, Matter Labs has also pursued the registration of a token under the ticker symbol “ZK” with exchanges in a bid to further their claim over the Technology they did not create.

Linea Backs StarkWare: Condemns Matter Labs’ Move

Zero-knowledge (ZK) Technology is crucial for privacy and security in blockchain, as it enables individuals to prove claims without revealing underlying data.

StarkWare, along with other figures like Turing Award winner and StarkWare’s Scientific Advisory Board member Shafi Goldwasser, condemned Matter Labs’ actions as an attempt to privatize a public good. In a public statement, StarkWare said,

“A company exploiting the legal system to annex a public good violates the crypto ethos, the Ethereum ethos, and the academic ethos. It even goes against Matter Labs’ own ethos, which states: “We can make this world better by increasing people’s freedom.” If the company goes through with this, it will be separating itself from the very community it claims to be part of.”

StarkWare, a software company that develops ZK-proof Technology, urged the community to take action against Matter Labs while highlighting the irony in the latter’s actions. The firm noted that its stated principles advocate for collective action in the face of “oppressive behavior.”

Weighing on the matter, Linea also asserted that using a legal framework to monopolize a branch of cryptography integral to building permissionless and decentralized L2 execution environments contradicts Ethereum’s ethos.

Linea even went on to point out the collaborative nature of Ethereum’s development, where researchers contribute to scaling solutions like zkEVM Layer 2 networks. The attempt to claim ownership over ZK Technology inhibits progress towards a more inclusive and censorship-resistant network, as per Linea’s statement on May 31st.

Matter Labs Addresses Controversy

In response to the controversy surrounding trademark applications, Matter Labs’ asserted that ZK Technology belongs to the community and clarified that the move aims to ensure the term “ZK” can be used freely in the context of their projects like “ZK Sync” and “ZK Stack,” using trademarks as the only available legal tool for such protection.

The company also addressed the misconception that trademarks grant exclusive ownership over a word or phrase, adding that rights only extend to specific goods or services.

Polygon Labs’ Chief Legal and Policy Officer, Rebecca Rettig, responded to Matter Labs, questioning the necessity of the trademark applications and suggesting that if external challenges forced them to apply for the trademark, transparency would be essential. The exec even went on to dismiss the need for a framework to grant permission for the use of the term “zk,” as it should be freely available to everyone without permission.


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