Matter Labs Yields to Backlash, Drops “ZK” Trademark Efforts

Matter Labs pulls all its ZK trademark applications.

Matter labs fist punching out zksync through a wall.
Created by Kornelija Poderskytė from DailyCoin
  • Matter Labs has pulled its ZK trademark applications.
  • The move follows significant backlash from industry leaders.
  • The controversy comes as the zkSync developers prepare for the network’s token distribution.

In every competitive setting, squabbles are bound to arise. The Ethereum Layer 2 space is no different.

At the center of the most recent conflict is Matter Labs, the developers of the zkSync Era chain. The firm found itself at the receiving end of backlash over the weekend after it was revealed that it had applied to trademark the term “ZK” in at least nine different jurisdictions.


Following the backlash, the firm has been forced to rethink its steps. Is it a little too late?

Matter Labs Folds

In a statement on Sunday, June 2, Matter Labs disclosed that it had pulled all its applications to trademark the term ZK.

The decision follows failed efforts to sway the crypto community with plans to hand over oversight of the ZK trademarks to “an ownerless” entity.

"it would be impossible to agree on a group of people perceived as credibly neutral by nearly everyone," the firm conceded in their statement.

Matter Labs’ decision has been met with mixed reactions. While some have hailed the team for listening to the community, others have argued that the damage has already been done.

Understanding the Backlash Over Matter Labs’ ZK Trademark Applications

ZK, short for zero-knowledge cryptography, refers to a field of cryptography that blockchain projects are leveraging to address scaling and privacy concerns. Underpinning the technology are zero-knowledge proofs, which allow one party to prove a statement is true without revealing the underlying data.


First conceived in 1985 by an MIT-linked trio, including Algorand founder Silvio Micali, the field has seen significant advancement over the years thanks to contributions from academia, startups, and researchers, many of whom several leading ZK developers point out Matter Labs had little to do with in united opposition to the firm’s trademark efforts.

"Matter Labs, the corporate entity developing zkSync, has filed trademark applications in nine countries to claim ZK as the exclusive intellectual property of Matter Labs. We condemn this behavior in the strongest possible terms, as a transparent attempt by a corporation to claim ownership over something that does not belong to it," their statement read.

They argued that ZK was a public good and should remain so. 

The recent dispute comes as Matter Labs gears up for zkSync Era’s token airdrop. The firm has made its intentions of using ZK as the token ticker clear despite another project, Polyhedra, calling dibs in February 2024.

On the Flipside 

  • The jurisdictions where Matter Labs filed its trademarks remain unclear.
  • Matter Labs maintains that its ZK trademarks are only for defensive purposes to protect against potential lawsuits for using the term.

Why This Matters

The recent controversy over Matter Labs’ ZK trademarks raised questions over the firm’s cypherpunk alignment. The debate is also likely to influence future crypto trademark and ticker practices.

Read this for more on the Matter Labs controversy:
zkSync’s Matter Labs Faces Pushback Over “ZK” Trademark Efforts

Learn how to migrate your Lisk token as the Ethereum Layer 2 mainnet launch edges closer:
How To Migrate Your Lisk as Ethereum Layer 2 Move Takes Shape

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Okoya David

David Okoya is a crypto news reporter at DailyCoin based in Nigeria. He covers various topics related to the cryptocurrency industry, including exchanges, regulations, and price movements, and strives to bring fresh angles to breaking news. With experience as a freelance crypto news writer, David upholds the highest journalistic standards, telling complete stories and answering lingering questions whenever possible.