Entering The Dark Forest
Gain insight into the difficult field of earn about how to research about MEV bots on-chain so you gain the knowledge and skills to start building your own!
The dark forest is harsh environment. A void full of relentless hounds drooling to seize every opportunity that they lay their eyes on. Without sufficient resources and knowledge, you’re sure to get eaten alive. Stripped of your precious ETH. For any new adventurer, allow me to pry open the doors into the shroud.
Before traversing into the land of the unknown you’ll need to gather intelligence to educate yourself on the predators of the forest. Wondering into the FlashBots and Good Job Searchers discords, you can read through all the chat logs to understand how operators think. You may even come across some gold nuggets of alpha that will help you develop your tools (e.g, algorithm and strategy discussion). However, when reading the logs, keep in mind that they could also be conveying false information. This is quite common as a competitor wouldn’t want to share their secrets with the (potential) opposition.
Crypto Twitter is another great place to learn from the best searchers directly. What I personally do is go through each tweet of an individual to see if I can pick out any pieces of information that are valuable (prepare yourself for a lot of shit-posts). A great example is Bert Miller’s threads on MEV. He goes into great detail step by step of how operations work.
Open Sourced Bots
What better way to understand the enemy than to study them directly. Open sourced bots are the single best way to learn to structure/design the tools you’ll use. In addition, they help you to grasp the mindset of how the operators think.
Some terrific repos I primarily studied are:
- Supercycled’s CakeSniper - Liquidity pool sniping frontrunner bot.
- Duckdegen’s ApeBot - Liquidity pool sniper bot.
- FlashBots’ Simple Arbitrage - Simple arbitrage bot, in TS.
- Libevm’s Subway - Simple sandwiching bot, in JS.
- Alcibiades’ MEV Bundle Generator - Graph based FlashBots bundle creator bot.
Go through each of these invaluable repos with the goal of understanding each line and function in-depth, then try to explain that architecture abstractly to yourself or to a friend. Then you’ll have a solid foundation of how profitable operators architect their bots. Keep in mind, they are open sourced for a reason - they aren’t profitable anymore, they don’t want to maintain it anymore, or something else.
Articles And Presentations
Articles are great resource to get a high-level and sometimes quite comprehensive explanations of scenarios that have occurred in the space. A great github repo containing a collection articles, podcasts and panels is Alpharush’s Awesome MEV Resources. Not only do these educate you, they give you inspiration to explore further, an under-looked advantage (at least this applies to me).
It’s an undisputed fact that practically doing something connects the dots of pieces of information you have floating in your brian. How else are you going to explore the forest without trying to create your own paths and learning from existing ones? When you wonder “how do I get there?” and there isn’t an avenue, you need to experiment and construct your own trail. Everyone starts from the same spot, some with more knowledge prior to starting than others. However, it’s a very steep learning curve that can only be scaled by actively attempting to climb. There’s no elevator to take you to the top. You got to go through the struggles of climbing. Overcoming the harsh conditions to reach the top. There’s a significant gap between theoretically knowing about MEV and actually doing MEV. When you go through the process of building bots you’re much better at explaining it simply since you understand the general inner workings of a bot’s architecture and how everything interconnects.
The path of MEV is a gritty one. Without dedication and perseverance you have no chance with this field. You can’t be half-arsed and expect to be profitable for an extended period of time or compete with other operators. However, it is an incredibly exciting environment that will surely challenge you. Keep at it, anon. Rise above. Have fun and don’t get wiped out <3.
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