Frontrunner Jones and the Raiders of the Dark Forest: An Empirical Study of Frontrunning on the Ethereum Blockchain [article]

Christof Ferreira Torres, Ramiro Camino, Radu State
2021 arXiv   pre-print
Ethereum prospered the inception of a plethora of smart contract applications, ranging from gambling games to decentralized finance. However, Ethereum is also considered a highly adversarial environment, where vulnerable smart contracts will eventually be exploited. Recently, Ethereum's pool of pending transaction has become a far more aggressive environment. In the hope of making some profit, attackers continuously monitor the transaction pool and try to frontrun their victims' transactions by
more » ... either displacing or suppressing them, or strategically inserting their transactions. This paper aims to shed some light into what is known as a dark forest and uncover these predators' actions. We present a methodology to efficiently measure the three types of frontrunning: displacement, insertion, and suppression. We perform a large-scale analysis on more than 11M blocks and identify almost 200K attacks with an accumulated profit of 18.41M USD for the attackers, providing evidence that frontrunning is both, lucrative and a prevalent issue.
arXiv:2102.03347v2 fatcat:cq67fsdlyfhcjmjd3g344nxlfa