Polygon Zero accuses Matter Labs of copying source code.

Polygon Zero accuses Matter Labs of copying source code.

The Clash of Zero-Knowledge Rollups: A Battle Between Polygon Zero and Matter Labs


The blockchain industry is no stranger to competition and disputes. Recently, Polygon Zero, a unit of Polygon, accused Matter Labs, an award-winning innovation lab, of plagiarism in the development of their zero-knowledge rollup solutions. This controversy has shed light on the importance of adhering to open source principles and the potential consequences of failing to do so.

The Allegations and Counterarguments

Polygon Zero claims that Matter Labs utilized a significant portion of source code from their Plonky2 library without permission or proper attribution. According to Polygon Zero, copying code without acknowledgement undermines the open source ethos and harms the overall ecosystem. They expressed their disappointment in a tweet and shared a detailed blog post outlining the similarities between the codes.

In response, Matter Labs refutes the accusations, asserting that the code was “prominently attributed” in a line atop one of the files in question. Matter Labs argues that the alleged similarities were explicitly mentioned, indicating their intention to acknowledge the source. While both sides present opposing views, it is crucial to delve into the technical details of the competing solutions to understand the extent of the controversy.

Plonky2 vs Boojum: The Zero-Knowledge Proving Systems

To comprehend the intricacies of the plagiarism allegations, it is vital to explore the competing zero-knowledge rollup solutions: Plonky2 and Boojum.

Plonky2: Polygon’s Zero-Knowledge Proving System

Introduced by Polygon in January, Plonky2 represents a significant breakthrough in zero-knowledge (ZK) technology. As a recursive SNARK (Succinct Non-Interactive ARgument of Knowledge), Plonky2 offers improved efficiency and compatibility with Ethereum. The system’s distinguishing feature lies in its ability to optimize for both speed and cost. It achieves this by utilizing large proofs when speed is crucial and smaller proofs when minimizing size becomes a priority. Polygon claims that Plonky2 is approximately 100 times faster than existing alternatives.

Boojum: Matter Labs’ Zero-Knowledge Proving System

Subsequently, Matter Labs presented Boojum, an alternative zero-knowledge proving system based on their Rust-based cryptographic library from zkSync. Boojum powers the upgraded zero-knowledge circuits of zkSync Era and ZK Stack, offering improved performance. Matter Labs asserts that Boojum is approximately 10 times faster than Plonky2. The introduction of Boojum initiated the allegations of plagiarism by Polygon Zero.

The Allegations and the Response

Polygon Zero’s blog post explicitly accuses Matter Labs of copying code from the performance-critical components of the Plonky2 library without proper acknowledgment. Polygon Zero highlights that the code lacks the original copyrights and clear attribution to the original authors, which represents a violation of the MIT/Apache licenses. The blog post includes side-by-side code comparisons as evidence of the suspected plagiarism.

Matter Labs vehemently denies the allegations, contending that they have prominently attributed the usage of Plonky2, mentioning it in the first line of their module. They argue that the presence of the attribution at such a prominent location demonstrates their intention to give credit to Polygon’s work. Thus, they question Polygon’s claims and defend their development practices.

The Implications for the Blockchain Industry

The controversy between Polygon Zero and Matter Labs signifies the challenge of maintaining integrity within the blockchain industry. Plagiarism allegations not only harm individual projects but also compromise the trust and collaborative nature of the ecosystem as a whole.

While disputes arise in various industries, the blockchain sector emphasizes open source principles to foster innovation. Open source ethos encourages transparency, collaboration, and fair usage of code. When these principles are violated, it not only affects individual projects but also diminishes the credibility and potential of blockchain technology.

To prevent future conflicts and enhance collaboration, it is crucial for developers and organizations to emphasize proper attribution and adhere to licensing agreements. Building upon the work of others is common in the blockchain space, but it should be done within the guidelines of open source principles and licenses.


The plagiarism accusations between Polygon Zero and Matter Labs highlight the significance of respecting open source principles within the blockchain industry. Both sides have presented their perspectives, with Polygon Zero claiming code plagiarism and Matter Labs asserting clear attribution. As the blockchain industry continues to evolve, fostering an environment of trust, collaboration, and respect for intellectual property will be vital for sustained growth and innovation.