In a recent post, Polygon accused Matter Labs, the developer of zkSync, of copying their open-source code without proper attribution. The allegations revolve around Matter Labs’ new verification system called Boojum, which Polygon claims uses significant portions of their “Plonky2” library without giving due credit. The controversy highlights the challenges of balancing cooperation and innovation while safeguarding competitive interests within the open-source culture of the crypto world.
The Accusation and Response of Polygon
Polygon’s post details how Matter Labs’ Boojum incorporates copy-pasted source code from their performance-critical Plonky2 library without attributing the original authors. Polygon shares several images comparing the code to back their claims. Matter Labs, however, refutes the allegations, stating that Boojum only leverages 5% of the Plonky2 library, which is acknowledged in the module’s first line. Despite the response, Polygon stands firm on its accusation, pointing out that the screenshot they shared was selectively edited to omit the reference to “Plonky2 as a base,” thereby indicating source code duplication.
Unveiling the Dark Side of Open-Source Culture
The incident involving Polygon and Matter Labs is shedding light on some challenges within the open-source ecosystem. While open-source development promotes collaboration and innovation, it also faces temptations of using others’ work without proper attribution, making misleading claims for marketing hype, and appropriating others’ ideas. The situation raises concerns about preserving the integrity of open-source projects and the need for net contributors instead of net extractors. The crypto community must grapple with these issues to ensure the sustained growth and development of the decentralized space.
Implications and Community Response
Several layer 2 developers on Ethereum, including Matter Labs, have faced accusations of not giving proper attribution when using source code from other teams. Respect for licenses and honesty are essential aspects of the open-source culture, as emphasized by Louis Guthmann, Head of the Starkware Ecosystem. Such incidents underscore the need for maintaining integrity and collaboration within the crypto community to foster a healthy and thriving open-source ecosystem.
Members of the crypto community, including Uri Kolodny from Starkware, express their frustration and disappointment with such practices. These incidents highlight the importance of respecting licenses and fostering an honest and collaborative open-source culture in the crypto ecosystem.
The Strategy and Performance Debate in the Crypto World
Despite some critics, Polygon has been accused of using a “fame creation” strategy to gain attention, with skepticism regarding the level of interest in their zkEVM offering. In contrast, zkSync Era has received praise for its stable performance and competitive edge. Representatives from Starkware have been accused of using negative tactics to undermine their competition.
The critic also highlighted that in the field of cryptocurrencies, the significance of source code may be overstated. According to this perspective, attracting new users holds the utmost importance, as a project’s success ultimately depends on user adoption. The ability to fork and develop code as needed allows for flexibility and innovation within the crypto space.
The plagiarism accusations between Polygon and Matter Labs highlight the challenges of nurturing a healthy open-source culture in the crypto world. Proper attribution, honesty, and respect for licenses are vital for sustained growth and success in the decentralized space. Striking a balance between cooperation and protecting competitive interests while upholding the ethos of open-source is essential. A productive environment for open-source development is crucial for the community’s progress and the advancement of the crypto ecosystem.