Matter Labs Abandons ‘ZK’ Trademark Following Community Outcry

Matter Labs, the developer behind the ZkSync Ethereum Layer 2 network, has decided to abandon its efforts to trademark the term “ZK.”

In an update on June 3rd, Matter Labs said its decision to abandon its efforts to trademark the term “ZK” stems from the reasoning that it is “impossible to agree on a group of people perceived as credibly neutral by nearly everyone.”

Matter Labs Drops “ZK” Trademark Effort

Matter Labs had previously filed to trademark the term zero-knowledge (ZK) in nine countries, subsequently clashing with Polyhedra Network over using ZK as a ticker symbol. This resulted in a week-long dispute with Polyhedra Network condemning Matter Labs’ actions and accusing them of bullying and undermining the principles of Web3.

Soon after this, several industry players backed Polyhedra and argued that such a move by Matter Labs would privatize a public resource.

As backlash intensified, Matter Labs dropped its trademark plans and explained, in an official statement, that what might work within the Ethereum ecosystem wouldn’t necessarily be applicable or effective on a global scale, given the diversity of perspectives, interests, and stakeholders involved.

“We’re proud to be a part of a movement that cares so deeply about cypherpunk values. And we are incredibly grateful to the zksync community in particular for the thousands of messages of support we received, once again affirming that community is everything. ZK summer is imminent.”

Opposition

Prominent key figures from ZK projects, such as Shafi Goldwasser and Silvio Micali, co-inventors of ZK proofs, Sandeep Nailwal and Brendan Farmer, co-founders of Polygon, and Eli Ben-Sasson, CEO of StarkWare, jointly issued a statement expressing strong opposition to the move.

The statement highlighted that accessibility to “ZK” should be maintained for all parties involved while at the same time addressing concerns that proceeding with the trademark would alienate Matter Labs from the very community it purports to serve.

StarkWare, a software company that develops ZK-proof technology, deemed the behavior “oppressive.” Subsequently, ConsenSys-backed Layer 2 scaling solution Linea also rallied behind the industry proponents and condemned Matter Labs for trying to violate the ethos of the cryptocurrency industry by pursuing the trademark.

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