MEV Strategies

Course Content
Module 1: Introduction to MEV
Maximal Extractable Value, or MEV, is a concept that is becoming increasingly important in the world of blockchain technology. It refers to the maximum revenue that a miner, validator, or any other participant in a blockchain network can extract from a block by reordering, including, or censoring transactions. The concept of MEV is rooted in the unique structure of blockchain transactions. When a user initiates a transaction on a blockchain network, it is not immediately added to the blockchain. Instead, it is first placed in a pool of pending transactions, known as the "mempool." Miners or validators then select transactions from this pool to include in the next block. The order in which transactions are included in a block can have significant implications. For example, in a decentralized exchange, the order of transactions can affect the price of a token. This creates an opportunity for miners or validators to manipulate the order of transactions to their advantage, extracting additional value in the process. This is the essence of MEV. However, MEV is not limited to transaction ordering. It also includes other forms of manipulation, such as transaction censorship. For instance, a miner might choose to censor a transaction if they can benefit from it not being included in the blockchain. Understanding MEV is crucial for anyone involved in blockchain technology. It has implications for the security, fairness, and efficiency of blockchain networks. Moreover, as we will explore in later modules, it also raises important ethical considerations. In the next section, we will delve deeper into the importance of MEV in blockchain technology, providing you with a solid foundation for the rest of the course.
0/3
Exploring MEV Use Cases
Front-running Front-running is a prevalent use case of Maximal Extractable Value (MEV) in the blockchain ecosystem. It is a strategy that takes advantage of the transparency and immutability of blockchain transactions. In this section, we will delve into the concept of front-running, its implications, and how it is facilitated by MEV. What is Front-running? In traditional financial markets, front-running is an unethical practice where a broker executes orders on a security for its own account while taking advantage of advance knowledge of pending orders from its customers. In the context of blockchain and cryptocurrency, front- running takes a slightly different form but is based on a similar principle. In blockchain, front-running occurs when someone (usually a miner or a bot) sees a pending transaction in the mempool (a pool of pending transactions) and decides to create a similar transaction with a higher gas price. This is done with the intention of having their transaction confirmed before the original one. This practice is particularly common in Decentralized Finance (DeFi) platforms, where it can be used to gain an unfair advantage in trades, lending, liquidations, and other transactions. How Does MEV Facilitate Front-running? MEV plays a crucial role in enabling front-running in blockchain transactions. Miners, who are responsible for adding new transactions to the blockchain, can choose the order in which transactions are added. They can also decide to include or exclude certain transactions. This power gives miners the opportunity to maximize their profits by prioritizing transactions that offer higher rewards, which often leads to front-running. For example, if a miner sees a profitable arbitrage opportunity in a pending transaction, they can create a similar transaction with a higher gas fee to ensure it gets added to the blockchain first. This way, they can extract the value that would have otherwise gone to the original transaction creator. Implications of Front-running Front-running has significant implications for the fairness and efficiency of blockchain transactions. It can lead to a loss of potential profits for regular users and can also contribute to network congestion and higher transaction fees, as users try to outbid each other to get their transactions confirmed first. In the next section, we will explore other use cases of MEV, including arbitrage and liquidations, and discuss how they are influenced by front-running and other MEV strategies.
0/3
MEV Maximal Extractable Value
About Lesson

4.1    Different MEV Extraction Strategies

In the world of blockchain technology, MEV (Maximal Extractable Value) represents the total amount of profit that can be made by a miner or validator through their ability to include, exclude, or reorder transactions within the blocks they produce. This ability to manipulate transaction ordering opens up a range of strategies for extracting MEV. In this module, we’ll explore some of the most common strategies and delve into how they work, their potential benefits, and the risks involved.

 

Front-Running

 

Front-running is a strategy that takes advantage of the public nature of blockchain’s mempool (where pending transactions wait to be confirmed). In this strategy, a miner or validator observes a profitable transaction in the mempool and then creates their own transaction with a higher gas price, ensuring their transaction is confirmed first. This strategy is most commonly used in decentralized exchanges, where traders try to outbid each other to buy or sell assets at the best price.

Sandwich Attacks

 

Sandwich attacks are a more complex form of front-running. In this strategy, a miner or validator observes a large transaction in the mempool that is likely to impact the price of an asset. They then create two transactions: one to buy the asset before the large transaction is confirmed (the ‘front’ of the sandwich), and another to sell the asset after the large transaction has impacted the price (the ‘back’ of the sandwich). The large transaction is ‘sandwiched’ between these two, allowing the miner or validator to profit from the price swing.

 

Priority Gas Auctions (PGAs)

Priority Gas Auctions (PGAs) are a strategy where users bid against each other to have their transactions included in the next block by offering higher gas prices. Miners or validators can take advantage of this by prioritizing transactions with higher gas prices, thus extracting more value from the block they produce.

 

Liquidation Arbitrage

 

In decentralized finance (DeFi), users can take out loans by providing collateral. If the value of this collateral falls below a certain threshold, it can be liquidated. Liquidation arbitrage is a strategy where miners or validators monitor these loans and, when they become under- collateralized, quickly submit a transaction to liquidate the loan and claim the collateral, often at a discount.

Each of these strategies presents its own set of potential rewards and risks. In the next section, we will delve deeper into these, providing you with the knowledge to navigate the complex landscape of MEV extraction.

 

    Potential Risks and Rewards

In the realm of MEV extraction, each strategy carries its own potential rewards and risks. Understanding these can help miners, validators, and even regular users make informed decisions when interacting with the blockchain ecosystem.

 

Front-Running

 

Rewards

 

The primary reward of front-running is the potential for immediate profit. By outbidding other users, miners or validators can secure profitable transactions, such as buying or selling assets at the most favorable prices.

 

Risks

 

The main risk of front-running is the potential for loss if the market moves against the miner or validator’s position. Additionally, this strategy can contribute to network congestion and increase transaction costs for all users, potentially leading to a negative perception of the blockchain network.

Sandwich Attacks

 

Rewards

 

Sandwich attacks can yield substantial profits, especially when large transactions are involved. By capitalizing on price swings, miners or validators can buy low and sell high, securing a profit margin.

 

Risks

 

Sandwich attacks require precise timing and accurate prediction of market movements, which can be challenging. If the market doesn’t move as expected, the miner or validator could end up making a loss. Additionally, like front-running, sandwich attacks can contribute to network congestion and higher transaction costs.

Priority Gas Auctions (PGAs)

 

Rewards

 

PGAs can be a lucrative strategy for miners or validators, as they can prioritize transactions with higher gas prices, thus increasing their earnings.

 

Risks

 

The main risk associated with PGAs is the potential for a ‘bidding war’, where users continuously outbid each other, leading to inflated transaction costs. This could deter users from the network and negatively impact its overall health and reputation.

Liquidation Arbitrage

 

Rewards

 

Liquidation arbitrage can yield significant profits, especially during volatile market conditions. Miners or validators can claim under-collateralized loans at a discount, potentially making a profit when they sell the collateral at market price.

 

Risks

 

This strategy requires constant monitoring of the market and quick action when loans become under-collateralized. If the market moves against the miner or validator’s position, they could end up holding collateral that’s worth less than the loan they liquidated. Additionally, this strategy can contribute to market instability and exacerbate price crashes.

In the next module, we will delve into the technical aspects of MEV, providing you with a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that enable these strategies and the dynamics that influence their risks and rewards.

Join the conversation
Bookmark
0