After the Curve Finance attack that took place on Sunday, a block generated by a MEV (Maximum Extractable Value) bot recorded a $1 million MEV block reward. On July 31st, an Ethereum core developer using the name “eric.eth” explained that this was a result of the exploitation of Curve Finance pools that occurred on Sunday.
Today has produced some of the largest MEV reward blocks in Ethereum’s history.— eric.eth (@econoar) July 30, 2023
Slot 6,992,273: 584 ETH
Slot 6,993,342: 345 ETH
Slot 6,992,050: 247 ETH
Slot 6,993,346: 51 ETH
What are MEV Bots?
In Ethereum, a series of transactions are executed within a block and these transactions are processed in a specific order. However, the sequencing between transactions is under the control of miners or block producers. Miners make choices while determining transaction fees and adding transactions to blocks. It is at this point that some opportunistic actors or MEV (Maximal Extractable Value) bots can exploit the situation by altering or manipulating the order of transactions to gain additional profit.
So how does this happen?
These types of bots can observe pending liquidation transactions and also pre-emptively initiate the purchase of liquidated assets at a discounted price. In exchange for allowing a MEV (Maximal Extractable Value) bot to front-run their transactions, block producers offer a pathway to specialized organizations to earn additional income. This extra income is referred to as “block reward.”
Leads to Great Controversy
However, this situation also raises questions about the ethics and moral dimension of sharing MEV rewards among miners. MEV rewards can include funds obtained through hacked means, leading to significant debates within the community.
For instance, in April, a Metro-themed trading bot had made millions of dollars using “sandwich attacks” during the memecoin frenzy. Such events further highlight the ethical issues surrounding MEV bots and block rewards.
Such Opportunities Are Inherent In Blockchain
Some users argue that the use of potentially illicit funds to obtain MEV rewards is unethical, while others defend such opportunities as one of the normal gains that can occur in an open and competitive environment inherent to blockchain.
As the debates about MEV bots and block rewards continue, experts suggest that Ethereum and other blockchain projects may attempt various measures to prevent such exploitations and ensure a fair ecosystem.