Matter Labs files for 'ZK' trademark, industry demands withdrawal

    2024.05.30 | exchangesranking | 42onlookers

    Matter Labs has filed trademark applications in nine countries to claim the term “zero-knowledge” as the firm’s exclusive intellectual property, outraging the crypto industry.

    Matter Labs, the corporate entity developing zkSync, has previously tried to register a token under the ticker symbol “ZK” with cryptocurrency exchanges, aiming to cement their claim over the technological paradigm.

    Zero-knowledge (ZK) technology refers to cryptographic protocols that enable one person (the prover) to convince another (the verifier) that a particular claim is true without disclosing any details about the actual claim.

    Matter Labs’ attempt to trademark ZK technology represents an “absurd IP grab” according to Eli Ben-Sasson, the CEO of StarkWare, who told Cointelegraph:

    “ZK cryptography was developed for the good of all. It’s shameful to witness an IP land grab by a company trying to expropriate 'ZK' as private intellectual property. It’s as absurd as an individual baker trying to impose a blanket patent on bread.”

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    Crypto industry experts call for withdrawal of trademark application

    Top industry experts have called for the withdrawal of Matter Labs’ trademark filing, which they called “oppressive behavior,” in a public letter shared with Cointelegraph.

    The public letter was signed by notable figures including Polygon co-founders Sandeep Nailwal and Brendan Farmer, StarkWare CEO Eli Ben-Sasson, Polyhedra Network co-founder and zkBridge inventor Tiancheng Xie, as well as Turing award winner and ZK-proofs co-inventor Shafi Goldwasser.

    The letter notes:

    “We believe that ZK is a public good that belongs to everyone. A company exploiting the legal system to annex a public good violates the crypto ethos, the Ethereum ethos, and the academic ethos. It even goes against Matter Labs’ own ethos…”

    Cointelegraph has approached Matter Labs for comment.

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    ZK proofs have a massive potential for humanity: StarkWare CEO

    Due to the potential of ZK technology, no single company should try to claim this paradigm as their own, according to StarkWare’s Ben-Sasson, who said:

    “ZK cryptography has massive potential for humanity — actually far beyond blockchain. We, in blockchain, are honored to be pioneering its first great use case – and hope this propels it to many other use cases.”

    Despite being in its technological infancy, ZK-proofs are becoming increasingly important for future digital identity solutions.

    Zk-proofs could be used as Europe’s new digital identity solution, to ensure a privacy-focused approach for users, according to Dr. Jonas Gross, the CEO of Hakata, who told Cointelegraph:

    “ZKPs have the potential to start a new paradigm of compliance that breaks down data silos around identity information.”
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