On social networks, heated exchanges are debating the development of a tool that could prove to be very dangerous for the Ethereum network (ETH). This option would give miners the power to reorganize the blockchain, one of the basic principles of which is its immutability.
Exploiting the slightest benefit of blocks, even if it means turning everything upside down
The developer with the pseudonym @EdgarArout on Twitter has created a lot of controversy within the Ethereum network community. He is indeed working hard on a tool that aims to give miners the ability to rearrange the blockchain of transactions, to get additional transaction fees.
As Cryptoslate explains, the miner extractable value (MEV) in Ethereum’s code is made up of rewards considered conventional, namely transaction fees and block validation rewards, but also includes “unconventional” profits.
The latter would come from reordering transactions, inserting transactions and censoring transactions in the block produced by a miner. The problem with trying to extract any profit from the SRM is that this involves going back and partially rewriting a block that has already been validated.
Playing the sorcerer’s apprentice with the stability of Ethereum
Many voices have therefore been raised to point out the great danger that such a possibility could create. An ambassador of the Chainlink project – @ChainLinkGod – denounced there something that could create instability in the blockchain, when a great opportunity to recover the SRM would present itself to the miners. This could even go as far as slowing down and pausing block validation while miners “fight” to recover any SRM.
For Mudit Gupta, developer of SushiSwap, this could even be much more serious and be the cause of 51% attacks on the Ethereum blockchain:
“Imagine being able to go back in time on a blockchain. Executing transactions at minute-old fees, re-exploiting DeFi protocol flaws for your benefit, (…) It’s like nuclear bombs – it’s too dangerous and it shouldn’t happen (…) It actually amounts to a 51% attack, presented as a service. We can’t stop people from creating/offering this service. What we can do is make it less viable. Removing rewards for orphan blocks and increasing rewards for normal blocks can help.”
Again, the immutability of a blockchain is a very foundation of distributed ledger technology. While being able to go back and retouch transactions may have “legitimate” use cases, the price to pay would be far too great compared to the risks created, with all the ill-intentioned exploits imaginable.