In a recent development, a single Miner Extractable Value (MEV)-boost relay block on the Ethereum Beacon Chain paid a 689 Ether reward worth $1.28 million. This is one of the largest rewards seen in recent months and raised concerns among experts in the industry.
Lido, a liquid staking solution on Ethereum, received the reward from block number 17007842 on the Beacon Chain, which was finalized on April 9. The block contained 47 transactions and was built by beaverbuild.org, according to transaction data. The reward almost matched Lido’s most recent high of 691 Ether on March 20, which was the largest reward received at the time.
MEV-boost relays are able to extract value by aggregating blocks from multiple builders to select the one with the highest fees. These centralized relays have been used to exploit Ethereum users, with MEV bots extracting more than $1.38 billion from users attempting to trade, provide liquidity, and mint non-fungible tokens (NFTs), according to MEVBlocker.
One of the most common types of MEV exploits is the “sandwich” attack, where an attacker places a large trade on either side of a target’s transaction, manipulating the price and profiting from the price change.
Martin Köppelmann, the co-founder and CEO of Ethereum-based infrastructure platform Gnosis, has urged Ethereum users to use services like MEVBlocker to prevent their transactions from being exploited. He expressed his concerns about the rising number of MEV-boost relays and the impact they can have on the network’s decentralization and security.
MEV-boost relays stem from the concept of Proposer-Builder Separation (PBS), which was introduced by the Ethereum research organization Flashbots in 2021 in the lead-up to Ethereum’s transition to proof-of-stake in September. Separating the role of proposers from block builders is intended to promote more competition at the consensus level, further decentralize the Ethereum network, and strengthen censorship resistance.
Ethereum’s Censorship Issues
However, Ethereum has encountered several censorship issues since The Merge took place, including compliance with standards laid down by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), although the number of compliant blocks has since fallen. There are currently 10 active relays, with Flashbots responsible for relaying more than 50% of the MEV-boost blocks since MEV was introduced in 2021.
In conclusion, the recent MEV-boost relay reward has highlighted the concerns surrounding the increasing number of MEV-boost relays and their impact on the network’s decentralization and security. Experts have urged users to take precautions and use services like MEVBlocker to prevent their transactions from being exploited. With Ethereum’s transition to proof-of-stake, the use of MEV-boost relays is expected to decrease, leading to a more secure and decentralized network.