Matter Labs has withdrawn its attempt to trademark the term “ZK” following widespread backlash from the blockchain community. The decision underscores the importance of keeping foundational cryptographic terms open for public use, fostering innovation and inclusivity. This move not only reflects community values but also influences investor perceptions and the broader Web3 ecosystem.

Matter Labs, the main force behind the zkSync protocol, has just withdrawn its disputed efforts to trademark the term “ZK”. This decision came after a strong outcry from the zero-knowledge-proof research community and other blockchain enthusiasts. Pioneers like Shafi Goldwasser and Silvio Micali expressed alarm, arguing that “ZK” should remain an open and accessible resource.

This uniform attitude reflects a broader commitment throughout the blockchain community to retain fundamental cryptographic principles free of proprietary restraints, supporting an open collaboration and innovation atmosphere.


“ZK” stands for Zero-Knowledge, which describes algorithms that allow one party to prove to another that they know a value without providing more information. Zero-Knowledge proofs are essential in blockchain for improving privacy and scalability, particularly in Ethereum Layer 2 solutions such as zkSync.

Matter Labs first intended to trademark the term “ZK” to strengthen its standing and identification with this pioneering technology. However, this decision generated worries about monopolising a generic word used in various cryptographic applications, generating concerns about the ramifications for the larger crypto ecosystem.

Following the publication of the trademark intent,  Goldwasser and Micali reacted quickly. Other executives, including Polygon co-founders Sandeep Nailwal and Brendan Farmer, expressed concern about the exclusivity of this approach. The conclusion among these personalities was clear: “ZK” should stay widely understood. They contended that trademarking such a core word would stifle innovation and contravene the open-source principles that many blockchain community members believe in.

Debates and Stakeholder Perspectives

Matter Labs’ effort sparked a series of heated disputes among the cryptographic community. Stakeholders ranging from project leaders to casual viewers were alarmed about the potential ramifications of privatising a phrase central to many open-source initiatives. The general view was that such a move would establish unnecessary obstacles and impede collaboration in the sector. 

Matter Labs’ attempt to trademark “ZK” coincided with significant advancements in the zkSync ecosystem, mainly as they prepared for a widely anticipated airdrop. The incident not only prompted considerable debate but also threw doubt on the upcoming airdrop, potentially impacting participant attitude and engagement.

Different stakeholders in the ecosystem, such as Polyhedra, expressed a preference for alternate symbols like “ZKJ” for their token listings, demonstrating the practical effects of such exclusive claims on operational strategy and market positioning. This dispute emphasised the delicate balance between intellectual property protection and maintaining an open and collaborative environment that promotes innovation and community trust in the cryptographic and blockchain sectors.

Operational Performance and Broader Impact on the Web3 Ecosystem

Despite the trademark battle, zkSync displayed extraordinary tenacity, maintaining outstanding operational performance. The platform maintained the most excellent seven-day moving average of transactions among Ethereum Layer 2 networks and solidified its status as an essential part of the larger Web3 ecosystem. This persistent performance under scrutiny demonstrates the strength of zkSync’s technology and its critical role in improving Ethereum’s scalability and efficiency—essential qualities required for the broader adoption of Web3 technologies.

The episode acted as a helpful case study for other projects in the field, emphasising the need for community consensus and open access to technology in building a healthy, productive Web3 environment. This scenario eventually contributes to a more prosperous, collaborative future for blockchain and decentralised technologies by guaranteeing that fundamental tools and terms are available to all, fostering growth and innovation across the sector.

Potential Investor Impact

Matter Labs’ trademark disagreement over the term “ZK” sparked debate in the blockchain community, but it also had consequences for investor attitudes and strategic investment decisions. Investors constantly monitor such changes since they can substantially impact the perceived stability and governance of technology platforms such as zkSync. The decision to attempt to trademark a core cryptographic word may have sparked initial concerns about Matter Labs’ attitude to open-source collaboration, which is highly respected in the Web3 field.

For potential and existing investors, the dispute highlighted the risks connected with governance decisions that could alienate the community or cause public relations issues. Yet, positively handling such concerns can restore or improve investor trust by demonstrating a company’s compliance with industry standards and responsiveness to community comments.

While withdrawing the trademark application may have avoided immediate negative consequences, it also teaches blockchain enterprises essential lessons about the broader implications of their business strategies on investor relations and market positioning within the ever-changing Web3 ecosystem.


Kelly has carved a niche in the dynamic world of Web3 over the past three years, combining her talents in marketing and writing to become a standout Web3 copywriter. Her journey in this innovative field is distinguished by her profound engagement with the decentralized technology landscape. Kelly’s creative prowess, coupled with her deep understanding of Web3, enables her to create compelling narratives that resonate deeply within the blockchain community. Beyond writing, Kelly’s marketing acumen has been instrumental in elevating various Web3 marketing projects, making them prominent in the realm of digital innovation.