Blocknative Releases New Ethereum Mempool Explorer, to Help With MEV Protection

The tool, which was released just a few weeks after Blocknative had to cut back on its MEV-Boost relay services, could ultimately help reduce instances of block-level manipulation and protect users from front-running bots.

AccessTimeIconDec 7, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Jan 26, 2024 at 3:53 p.m. UTC
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Blocknative, a blockchain infrastructure company that cut staff in October after suspending work on a major business project, is releasing a new tool to examine the "mempool" of pending transactions awaiting processing on Ethereum, an effort that could ultimately help to reduce instances of block-level manipulation and protect users from front-running bots.

The real-time explorer tool is called ethernow.xyz, which gives insights into Ethereum mempool data and the block building process, and Blocknative CEO Matt Cutler described it as the Etherscan for pre-chain data.

The tool, made possible through a grant from the Ethereum Foundation, is supposed to solve "observability" challenges – helping researchers to understand why certain transactions fail or succeed, and how they are added to certain blocks.

"Protocol developers can provide real-time visibility into application usage and predict increased or decreased volatility," Cutler told CoinDesk over Telegram.

The tool was first presented at the Columbia CryptoEconomics Workshop in New York on Wednesday.

Slide from Matt Cutler's presentation on the new mempool explorer. (Blocknative)
Slide from Matt Cutler's presentation on the new mempool explorer. (Blocknative)

Before transactions make it onto a block, they are added to a mempool, which is like a waiting room for transactions, before validators come in to organize them into a big group of transactions known as blocks. During this time, there are ways for third-party players to come in and organize these transactions in certain ways that could maximize some profits, known as Maximal Extractible Value (MEV).

Ethernow could ultimately help wallet providers give end-users feedback on transaction status, and provide suggestions for MEV protections, as well as help stablecoin issuers monitor potentially problematic transactions earlier in their lifecycle, Cutler told CoinDesk.

“It's the first real-time interface to see the inner workings,” Cutler told CoinDesk in an interview “But there are many opportunities for us to enhance and grow it.”

In October, Blocknative underwent a restructuring, resulting in a reduction of a third of its headcount, after ending its services related to its MEV-Boost relay due to poor economics.

At the time, Cutler told CoinDesk in an email that the company was “focused on extending our runway so that we have ample opportunity to pursue our Real-Time Observability thesis.”

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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.


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