An Analysis of the Copy-Pasting Code Controversy: Matter Labs Responds to Polygon Zero

An Analysis of the Copy-Pasting Code Controversy: Matter Labs Responds to Polygon Zero

The co-founder and CEO of zkSync creator Matter Labs, Alex Gluchowski, has found himself embroiled in a controversy after Polygon Zero accused the company of copy-pasting code without proper attribution. As a prominent zero-knowledge scaling firm, Matter Labs’ integrity and transparency came under scrutiny when Polygon Zero published a lengthy blog post outlining its allegations. In response, Gluchowski took to X (formerly Twitter) to deny the accusations and address the concerns raised by Polygon Zero.

According to Polygon Zero, Matter Labs incorporated “performance-critical components” of Polygon Zero’s zero-knowledge system, called “Plonky2,” into their recently-released proving system named “Boojum.” Polygon Zero expressed concerns over the lack of attribution for the code’s original authors and argued that such behavior damages the developer ecosystem, potentially discouraging smaller teams from contributing their work. The open-source ethos, according to Polygon Zero, dictates that copy-pasting source code without proper attribution and making misleading claims about the original work can have detrimental effects on the ecosystem.

Denial and Response

In response to the allegations, Alex Gluchowski vehemently denied copy-pasting code and emphasized that every decision made towards building zkSync was rooted in integrity and transparency. Gluchowski acknowledged the passion of the Polygon Zero team but suggested that rushed arguments and inaccurate statements may have fueled their accusations. Expressing his disappointment, Gluchowski maintained that the accusations were unfounded and misleading, particularly considering the respect he holds for the Polygon Zero team.

To counter the allegations, Gluchowski highlighted that both Plonky2 and Boojum are implementations of the RedShift construction introduced by Matter Labs three years prior to the Plonky2 paper. While Gluchowski claimed that developers of Plonky2 failed to credit Matter Labs, he acknowledged the need for improvement on their part and pledged to adhere to the recommended standard approach for attribution outlined by the community.

The Implications

This controversy raises broader questions about the appropriate utilization and attribution of open-source code within the developer ecosystem. While the specifics of this particular case are still being debated, it underscores the importance of maintaining transparency, integrity, and proper accreditation in the open-source community. Developers must be cautious when drawing inspiration or building upon existing projects, ensuring that due credit is given to the original authors.

Instead of engaging in public disputes, it is imperative that developers foster a collaborative environment where ideas are freely shared, credited, and celebrated. In this case, both Matter Labs and Polygon Zero share a common objective: advancing zero-knowledge scaling. By engaging in constructive dialogue and collaborating on solutions, both parties can contribute to the development of this promising technology and protect the integrity of the open-source community.

The copy-pasting code controversy surrounding Matter Labs and Polygon Zero highlights the importance of responsible code attribution and respectful collaboration within the developer community. While the allegations made by Polygon Zero have been vehemently denied by Matter Labs’ CEO, Alex Gluchowski, there is an opportunity for both parties to engage in meaningful dialogue and work towards a resolution that benefits the broader ecosystem. This incident serves as a reminder to developers about the need for integrity, transparency, and proper accreditation when utilizing open-source code. Ultimately, fostering a culture of collaboration will drive innovation and create a strong and vibrant developer community.


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