Ethereum R&D Firm Flashbots Shares Details About Its Next-Gen Block Builder

After teasing Suave at this year’s Devcon, Flashbots outlines how the plug-and-play solution will transform the way validators earn MEV.

AccessTimeIconNov 23, 2022 at 7:03 p.m. UTC
Updated Nov 23, 2022 at 7:25 p.m. UTC
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Ethereum research and development firm Flashbots released new information Wednesday on “The Single Unifying Auctions for Value Expression” (Suave) – its vision for a new kind of blockchain that would radically transform the process by which chain-operators (i.e., “validators”) earn value across different networks.

According to Flashbots, Suave, a so-called sequencing chain, will be geared towards completely decentralizing the block-building process. By the firm’s description, it would be a “plug-and-play” solution that “unbundles the mempool and block-builder role” from existing blockchains.

In addition to maximizing the revenue that validators earn for operating blockchains, Flashbots hopes Suave can ameliorate rising concerns around transaction censorship, exploitative MEV practices and slow transaction execution.

Flashbots co-founder Philip Daian announced Suave earlier last month in Bogota, Colombia, at Devcon, the biggest Ethereum conference of the year.

As part of today’s update, Flashbots announced its first planned milestone will be to share a prototype for its “Execution Market,” where users can submit their transactions, and Suave will run simulations to return as much MEV as possible to validators. Flashbots also plans to release a Suave testnet chain to begin testing its new features.

The Flashbots research and development team has been working on ways to curb the potential harms of Maximal Extraction Value (MEV) within the Ethereum ecosystem. MEV refers to the additional income that block builders and validators receive as a result of including or reordering transactions within a block. One of the tools that validators can use to circumvent malicious MEV practice is by using MEV-Boost, a middleware component that Flashbots built, which allows validators to request blocks from a network of builders.

Right now, the way to earn MEV, mainly through MEV-Boost, has a centralizing effect. Validators connect to MEV-Boost through relayers, like the one that Flashbots runs, to earn MEV. About 91% of blocks relayed have used MEV-Boost; of those, 78% have used the Flashbots relayer. In August, Flashbots’ relayer started censoring Tornado Cash transactions to comply with U.S. Treasury Department sanctions, but decided to make open source its MEV-Boost relayer code so that others could develop their own non-censoring relayer options.

With Suave, Flashbots hopes to improve the block-building process and further decentralize MEV, allowing validators, users, and third-party “executors” to maximize their revenue, while also maintaining a fair ecosystem.

How does Suave work?

Suave’s aim is to decentralize and democratize block builders around MEV.

In today’s blogpost, Flashbots said Suave’s architecture would be set up in three parts.

The first part, the “Preference Environment,” will collect “preferences” from users – messages which “express a particular goal or unlock a payment if the user’s conditions have been met.”

The second part, the “Execution Market,” will allow third-party “executors” to earn MEV by competing with one another “for the right to turn a preference into a transaction (or bundle) and fulfill the users’ preference at the best price possible.”

The final part, the “decentralized block building network,” will turn these transactions into blocks that can be added to a blockchain while maximizing MEV for builders and validators.

These three components make up what will be called the Suave Chain. The chain will be EVM-compatible, meaning it will work with blockchains built using Ethereum’s core technology stack.


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Margaux Nijkerk

Margaux Nijkerk reports on the Ethereum protocol and L2s. A graduate of Johns Hopkins and Emory universities, she has a masters in International Affairs & Economics. She holds a small amount of ETH and other altcoins.

Sam Kessler

Sam is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for tech and protocols. He reports on decentralized technology, infrastructure and governance. He owns ETH and BTC.

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