A major Ethereum MEV (maximal extractable value) bot has fallen victim to an attack resulting in the loss of almost $20 million.
A validator apparently forced a series of transactions into one Eth block to steal funds that a bot had planned to gain by front-running. This validator carried out the attack. Validators are responsible for processing transactions and creating new blocks on the blockchain.
MEV flashbots use a technique called “sandwich attacks” to steal value from users by sending transactions.
This manipulates the underlying price of the asset, allowing the bot to steal the price difference from the user.
Blockchain auditor OtterSec explained that the validator responsible for the attack had funded their wallet from privacy layer. Aztec Network over two weeks ago, suggesting that it was a planned attack.
Peckshield, a blockchain sleuth, stated that three wallets currently hold $20 million in stolen funds., with eight linked addresses originally funded from Kucoin.
The attack could leave MEV extractors wondering which Ethereum validators are malicious, thus transforming the MEV ecosystem. Former Ethereum Foundation member Hudson Jameson said in a tweet
“that the attack has the potential to change the entire landscape of MEV extractors.”