Matter Labs Drops All ‘ZK’ Trademark Applications: Details

As a crypto investor with a background in blockchain technology and a deep understanding of the Ethereum ecosystem, I strongly support the decision made by Matter Labs to withdraw their trademark applications for “ZK”. The principle of openness and accessibility is at the core of the crypto community, and ZK technologies are no exception.

Matter Labs, the organization responsible for Ethereum Layer 2 scaling project zkSync, has chosen to abandon its recent trademark bids for the term “ZK.” This action follows intense criticism from the wider crypto community and notable ZK technology experts.

Last week, Matter Labs initiated trademark applications for the term “ZK” in nine countries, intending to secure exclusive rights to it. However, this decision was met with resistance from prominent figures within the ZK tech community. They advocated that ZK technology, being a communal resource, should remain accessible to all without restriction to a single entity’s ownership.

Significantly, Zero-Knowledge (ZK) technologies represent foundational cryptographic methods enabling one entity to verify another’s possession of specific information without disclosing the actual data. This technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing the scalability of Ethereum layer 2 networks. Notably, projects like zkSync, StarkNet, and PolygonZero utilize this technology.

Leading figures in the ZK research field and executives from organizations such as StarkWare, Polygon, Algorand, Polyhedra, and Kakarot collectively expressed their concerns through a public statement. They warned that Matter Labs’ proposed action would contradict the values of the crypto community, Ethereum community, and academic principles supporting ZK technology. The experts emphasized:

As an analyst, I would express it as follows: “I strongly believe that ZK represents a public good accessible to all. For a company to manipulate legal loopholes and claim exclusive ownership over such a good is not only unethical in the crypto world but also against the values of Ethereum and academia. This action contradicts Matter Labs’ own ethos, which advocates for enhancing people’s freedom. If they proceed with this plan, it will create a significant rift between them and the community they aim to serve.”

In response to the feedback received, the company revealed its decision to abandon all pending trademark requests, as expressed in a June 2 update on their platform, previously known as Twitter. The company acknowledged the validity of community concerns and conceded the challenge of creating an impartial oversight body for the term.

As a crypto investor, I’ve come to realize that reaching a consensus among all parties regarding a neutrally accepted group of people is an unattainable goal. What may be perceived as credible by the Ethereum community might not hold the same weight for the entire world.

It’s worth noting that Matter Labs and Polyhedra are currently involved in a disagreement over the proposed ‘ZK’ ticker symbol for the upcoming token generation event of zkSync. In response to Matter Labs’ application for this symbol, Polyhedra expressed their stance:

“Refrain from establishing a monopoly under the guise of promoting community and industrial growth, and intend to retract the ZK trademark application.”

As a researcher, I’ve been closely monitoring the developments surrounding zkSync’s Token Generation Event (TGE). Based on current reports, the event is anticipated to proceed smoothly, with a tentative date of around June 13th. The total supply of tokens is said to amount to 21 billion. Following the TGE, an airdrop and the official launch of the token are expected to take place in due course.

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2024-06-03 10:57