Roughly 45% of all Ethereum blocks currently being validated use the MEV Boost Relay flash bot and are compliant with US sanctions, according to Ashan Finney, CEO of blockchain development agency Labrys.
In an interview with Cointelegraph on September 30, Finney noted that while reports indicate that 25% of all blocks confirmed since the merger align with US sanctions, this is a late number and the current number is likely to be closer to one. every other block.
Feeney noted that MEV-Boost relays are regulated entities, often located in the United States, that “control certain transactions in the blocks they create, specifically Tornado Cash transactions.”
The CEO also noted that there is a financial incentive for auditors to use the MEV-Boost relay, which will lead to its increased use, noting:
“The problem is, from an auditor’s point of view, these guys are paying them to do it. So if you want to make more money, just enable this feature, and as an auditor, you kind of increase your ROI.”
MEV-Boost relays are central devices designed to efficiently extract the maximum recoverable value (MEV). Since Flashbots are the most common, MEV-Boost relays effectively allow validators to outsource block production and sell the rights to create blocks to the highest bidder.
On September 28, Labrys released the MEV Watch tool, which can inform auditors that MEV-Boost relays are compliant with OFAC sanctions. Referring to the machine’s motives, Finney said:
“We are just trying to draw the attention of those who don’t know that by running this program, they are likely to contribute to network censorship.”
Feeney noted the worst-case scenario, often referred to as strict censorship, where “nodes will be legally forced to drop all blocks that have any of these transactions in them.”
“This means that no matter how long you wait, no matter how much you pay, you will never get to the point where authorized transactions are included in the blockchain,” he explained.
He also noted that even in the case of soft censorship, when authorized transactions are eventually verified, it can take several hours and require high priority fees, resulting in an unsatisfactory user experience.
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These findings were backed up by Ethereum researcher Tony Warstetter, who published a study on September 28 indicating that of the 19,436 blocks verified by Mev-Boost Relay Flashbot, none included any Tornado cash transaction.
How many blocks of different MEV Boost relays contain Tornado Cash transactions. Source: Tony Warstater.
Fear of censorship was widespread prior to the merger. Speaking to Cointelegraph, Merkle Science Principal Investigator for Crypto Compliance and Forensics, Coby Moran, suggested that the high cost of becoming an auditor could lead to the consolidation of validation nodes into larger crypto firms that are much more exposed. government sanctions.