EIGEN Riches Tempt Ethereum Devs, Even as ETF Approval Nears

Bradley Keoun

MEV SNIPING! It’s not clear exactly what started it all, but top Ethereum developers locked horns on the social-media platform X, in an intense and almost uncomfortable-to-observe debate touching on the practice of maximal extractable value, or MEV – essentially, the use of sophisticated trading bots to frontrun user transactions at the point of execution. On May 16, Ethereum core developer Péter Szilágyi tweeted about his despair over the lack of progress in pushing to solve some of the blockchain’s most vexing issues. “Voila, the banking system recreated,” he wrote. One of his points was that Ethereum had “glorified” MEV, remarking, ostensibly in sarcasm, that it was “futile to fight against MEV, so might as well lean hard on it, right?” (As chronicled in last week’s issue of The Protocol, even U.S. government officials now appear to characterize MEV as standard operating procedure on the blockchain.) Ethereum Foundation researcher Dankrad Feist retweeted Szilágyi’s post with the comment, “This is such a lazy take if you can’t also tell me what your supposed solutions are that let local block producers extract MEV.” A back-and-forth ensued, and then Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin chimed in, tweeting that “I’m really proud that Ethereum does not have any culture of trying to prevent people from speaking their minds, even when they have very negative feelings toward major things in the protocol or ecosystem.” Buterin, who is known to write long, interrupted his work on a project in Kenya to bang out a 3,000-word-plus essay breaking down the issues, concluding: “I also do not think that the situation is anywhere near as hopeless as Peter’s tweets imply.”

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