In terms of other works that can help provide context on MEV, Charlie Noyes’ work for Paradigm MEV and Me is an excellent primer, and Philip Daian’s MEV… wat do? is also a real thinker.
A current topic of conversation is providing Chain Reorganization / Time Bandit Attacks as a Service.
Charlie Noyes’ article I posted above describes Time Bandit Attacks as such:
MEV Can Harm Ethereum
MEV inherently encourages consensus instability.
Imagine there are two miners, Sam and Dan, who are paid a $100 reward for each block they find. Sam has found 3 blocks, the first of which contained our $10,000 Uniswap arbitrage.
Now, Dan has a choice: he can either mine on top of Sam’s 3 blocks, or he can attempt to re-mine the first block in order to take the Uniswap arbitrage for himself. The $10,000 is much more lucrative than the $100 block reward, and Dan is more rational than honest, so he decides to re-mine the first block.
While Dan’s at it, since the current longest chain is height 3, he also re-mines the second and third blocks (and captures any MEV that was in those, too). After the re-org, Dan owns the longest chain and he and Sam can progress from the third block.
This is known as a “time-bandit” attack: if block rewards are small enough compared to MEV, it can be rational for miners to destabilize consensus.
Our example was a two-party system. In the real multiplayer world, it is possible that every rational miner would attempt to re-org the third block and essentially halt progress. However, this could destroy the value of the miners’ hashrate investments. If we see this behavior at all, it will more likely be in the form of shorter, more frequent re-orgs that do not halt progress entirely.
A conversation has been developing on twitter, stemming from discussions around searchers (MEV researchers/developers). A quick selection:
@edgararout indicating they’ve begun the work, and links their repo
Philip Daian shares his thoughts:
Its an enormously complicated issue.