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Flashbots Meaning

Jun 22, 2024 | Updated Jun 22, 2024
Flashbots is a research and development institution that mitigates the adverse negative effects of maximal extractable value (MEV) on the Ethereum network.

What Are Flashbots?

Maximal extractable value (MEV), originally known as miner extractable value, is the maximum value that a validator or miner can extract from block production. Block producers use this strategy to optimize their profitability by excluding, including, or reordering transactions in a given block. MEV also benefits other network participants, known as searchers, through liquidation, arbitrage, and front-running

However, MEV transactions can often harm the network by centralizing power and creating inequalities, causing network congestion,and high gas fees. What’s worse, MEV transactions can also be exploited for nefarious purposes, such as manipulation, attacks, and censorship.

Flashbots emerged in November 2020 as a potential solution to this MEV crisis. This research and development organization aims to reduce the negative impact of MEV transactions on the Ethereum ecosystem by taking MEV transactions off-chain and directly connecting searchers and block producers while maintaining privacy.

How Does It Work?

Searchers examine the entire network and mempools seeking MEV opportunities. When they find such an opportunity, they create a transaction(s) for it. Then, rather than broadcasting this MEV transaction to the entire Ethereum network or mempool, the searchers submit it to the Flashbots server. By bypassing public mempools, it prevents malicious entities from seeing these transactions and manipulating them.

The Flashbot then sends the transaction details to the network’s validators, where the validators bid on the transaction in a private auction for the chance to forge a block on it. The validators can also include non-MEV transactions in the block containing MEV transactions. 

Put another way, by bundling transactions away from the main network and directly sending them to block producers, Flashbots mitigate harmful MEV practices such as front-running, sandwich attacks, and back-running. In summary, its primary focus is to: 

  • Democratize access to MEV revenue
  • Make MEV activities more transparent
  • Make the distribution of MEV revenue fairer

While Flashbots make Ethereum more transparent and permissionless, it is not entirely transparent since the process of creating MEV is still a mystery for users. Moreover, it is only one of the many solutions to the MEV issues.

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