protecting and empowering the Ethereum community against frontrunning and censorship

[email protected]
Twitter @pmcgoohanCrypto

a way forward

The following thoughts on reducing toxic MEV are written in good faith based on many years worth of study in this area and with the best interests of Ethereum users in mind.

Zeromev always encourages people to do their own research, and will under no circumstances take responsibility for any losses.


Please see Zeromev-Geth, our interim solution to reduce frontrunning and harmful network centralization.


These ideas are designed to:


only use ethereum mainnet for token deposits and transfers

Ethereum mainnet is becoming an increasingly hostile place to do business.

The Ethereum Foundation under the guidance of Flashbots are currently on a path of maximizing MEV extraction the majority of which has been shown to involve frontrunning and censorship.

While your tokens and direct token transfers are safely secured by the distributed nature of Ethereum consensus, popular use cases such as token swaps and NFT trades are extremely vulnerable to toxic MEV.

Please consider avoiding such activities on Ethereum mainnet altogether wherever possible.

mainnet MEV protection vulnerabilities

If you do decide to use order-sensitive smart contracts on Ethereum mainnet, understand that there are currently no dependable solutions to protect you from toxic MEV in that environment. See here for further explanation and examples.

In short, mainnet protections must rely on trusting miners who are the very actors that benefit from toxic MEV. Miners are incentivized to make such protections fail at the point they start saving users money. Some miners have taken that decision already.

If you do decide to use mainnet MEV protections, please set transaction parameters assuming that you are still vulnerable (eg: tight slippage on a DEX swap).

use a first come first serve (FCFS) layer 2 for everything else

A quick look at the zeromev frontrunning explorer clearly shows how miners profit from users by reordering their transactions (frontrunning and censorship).

By using a Layer 2 network (L2) that enforces the time order of transactions, most harmful toxic MEV can be avoided.

Choose a First Come First Serve (FCFS) L2 with a high Total Value Locked (TVL) that ensures they have a lot at risk reputationally, legally and financially should they choose to exploit you.

Ethereum miners are similarly trusted for transaction ordering, but are unaccountable and anonymous. Worse, the majority now run software designed to maximize the exploitation of MEV and are not worthy of your trust.

Avoid L2s that offer bribery ordering or have dubious or exploitative MEV policies.

For example, Arbitrum offers FCFS ordering, and has made it clear that frontrunning will not be tolerated, whereas Optimism has looked to extract MEV from users by design.

looking to the future

We hope the ideas above empower you to take effective action today to protect yourself against toxic MEV.

The following organizations are at the forefront of efforts to mitigate toxic MEV in a fully distributed setting: