The staking economy is a thriving industry, offering over $12 billion in rewards, with $600 million attributed to Maximal Extractable Value (MEV). At Chorus One, we deeply recognize the significance of MEV for both validators and investors, which has fueled our commitment to continuously optimize our infrastructure to ideally integrate with the Ethereum MEV pipeline.
MEV serves as a gateway for validators to maximize the value extracted from transactions within a block. As early as 2019, the research paper "Flash Boys 2.0," authored by Ari Juels and Lorenz Breidenbach, shed light on its real-world impact, particularly in decentralized exchanges and user experiences. The cumulative value of MEV extracted on Ethereum alone surpassed $78 million in early 2021 and has skyrocketed to an astonishing $600 million in 2023.
MEV has become a cornerstone of Chorus One's research efforts. As one of the earliest and most influential contributors to MEV research, we conduct in-house studies and experiments to optimize MEV yield. Notably, we were commissioned by dYdX to produce an in-depth report on MEV within dYdX v4, and released the first public tracker of (pre-protorev) MEV on Osmosis (@chorusonemev). Furthermore, we have developed a customized version of the Solana client to capture MEV opportunities on the Solana network.
To achieve the highest possible MEV yield, employing effective infrastructure strategies is paramount. At Chorus One, we conduct a series of experiments to identify the most efficient combination of strategies, aiming to optimize our MEV performance. Below, we delve into the fundamentals of MEV extraction, exploring the solutions we implement to improve our performance.
In general, MEV empowers block producers to rearrange, include, or exclude transactions, providing advantages that can impact users. However, there is a subtle distinction in how MEV operates on Ethereum compared to other blockchain networks.
On Ethereum, the process involves a 'block builder' constructing the block, which is then passed on to a 'relay' before being proposed by a validator. This Proposer-Builder Separation (PBS) introduces a separation between the block producer and the proposer. As an Ethereum validator, Chorus One focuses on optimizing MEV rewards by fine-tuning our interaction with relays.
Conversely, on most other chains, validators themselves build the block and have the freedom to prioritize transaction sorting to maximize MEV rewards.
We continuously optimize our infrastructure to capture the highest possible MEV rewards.
The following graph illustrates our performance over a 60-day period. Over this time period, Chorus One nodes have captured close to 14% more MEV rewards per validator (ETH) when compared to the weighted industry average, observed on Lido.
*Please note that this is a snapshot, and that MEV rewards fluctuate as a function of variance and market conditions. Please visit Rated Network to view the latest figures.
This process of continuous infrastructure optimization highlights the significance of employing a combination of well-established best practices to achieve higher MEV rewards. By utilizing specific methods in tandem, validators can effectively maximize their MEV yield. More on this below.
Before diving into Chorus One's approach, we briefly explore the process of extracting MEV. It involves key players with distinct roles:
Block Producers: They create blocks of transactions on the blockchain, deciding which transactions to include and their order.
Relays: A relayer is an entity responsible for checking blocks before passing them to the block producers. The relay confirms the builder blocks for validity and estimate the MEV-related value of each block. By tweaking how block producers/validators interface with relays, they can add value by optimizing MEV rewards.
Searchers: These individuals or automated bots constantly monitor the blockchain, searching for profitable opportunities to manipulate transaction order and earn additional profits through MEV.
DApps and Protocol Developers: Decentralized applications (DApps) and the developers who create rules for block producers support MEV extraction. DApps create opportunities for MEV extraction through their design, while protocol developers establish rules that enable block producers to capture MEV.
In simpler terms, block producers create blocks,relays check the blocks, searchers seek ways to profit by manipulating transaction order, and DApps and protocol developers provide the framework and incentives for MEV extraction.
Validators often employ similar solutions to increase rewards and actively seek optimization opportunities. For instance, MEV-Boost, an implementation of proposer-builder separation (PBS) developed by Flashbots for Ethereum, enables validators to maximize staking rewards by selling block space to builders in an open market.
MEV-Boost is free, open-source, and neutral software designed to democratize MEV while minimizing associated negative implications, such as consensus-layer security risks, centralization, or the risk of searchers going rogue. For more information on MEV-Boost software, visit https://boost.flashbots.net.
MEV plays a significant role in yield generation on networks like Ethereum, and as a result, our nodes are MEV-boost enabled by default.
With a team of in-house experts, we continuously adjust our infrastructure to optimally integrate with the Ethereum MEV pipeline.
1. Relay Selection
Relays are crucial intermediaries in the MEV extraction process, acting as trusted connectors between block builders and validators. Their primary role is to facilitate seamless data exchange and ensure the selection of the most lucrative bids for validators. We continuously conduct experiments to identify the optimal combination of relays (as shown in the relay market dashboard below) , aiming to establish efficient communication and achieve the highest valid bid submission to validators.
Our approach: By carefully selecting the best relays, we enable our validators to receive winning bids from all connected relays.
2. Latency Games
Exploring the dynamics between builders, relays, and validators is even more interesting with a new dimension: time.
Latency, the delay in data transmission, has gained significant importance for relays and the entire MEV supply chain, leading to notable consequences. It acts as a centralizing force within the MEV supply chain, with relays having shorter latency likely to be more successful in auctions. This preference encourages builders to prioritize sending their blocks to those relays.
Our approach: We optimize our connection to relays when requesting blocks by prioritizing payoff and minimizing the probability of a missed slot.
3. Infrastructure Optimization
On the infrastructure and hardware front, we prioritize optimizing the performance of our validators. Through the strategic selection of hardware, geographical distribution, and client implementation, we ensure that our infrastructure operates at its peak efficiency. This optimization enhances the rewards generated for our customers.
Our approach: We are actively investing in and expanding our infrastructure to further elevate performance and rewards.
TL;DR: More rewards, more revenue.
Through our unique solutions and ongoing research, we continuously push the boundaries to enhance the rewards obtained through MEV. Today, our MEV-boost enabled nodes capture significantly higher APR on staked ETH, surpassing the yield of the average validator.
To learn more about our approach to MEV, visit: https://chorus.one/mev-maximum-extractable-value
To stake with Chorus One, reach out to email@example.com and we'll get back to you.
About Chorus One
Chorus One is one of the biggest institutional staking providers globally operating infrastructure for 45+ Proof-of-Stake networks including Ethereum, Cosmos, Solana, Avalanche, and Near amongst others. Since 2018, we have been at the forefront of the PoS industry and now offer easy enterprise-grade staking solutions, industry-leading research, and also invest in some of the most cutting-edge protocols through Chorus Ventures.