Flashbots Co-Founder Warns Of Challenges In Departure Letter

Flashbots Co-Founder Warns Of Challenges In Departure Letter

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Co-founder of Ethereum infrastructure service Flashbots Alex Obadia has warned of serious challenges ahead for the company in a farewell letter posted on his Twitter handle. 

Obadia’s departure comes amidst sweeping personnel changes at Flashbots as the company looks to raise funds at a valuation of $1 billion. 

Serious Challenges Ahead 

Flashbots was founded to counter the negative consequences of MEV extraction techniques on Ethereum. Alex Obadia, one of the company’s co-founders and co-lead of the strategy division, announced his departure from the Paradigm-backed company. In a farewell letter posted on Twitter, Obadia offered his thanks and gratitude towards the company, along with the friendships built and lessons learned. However, he also used the letter to warn of serious challenges that lay ahead for the company. In the letter, Obadia stated that the system Flashbots was designed to protect was still vulnerable to centralization. 

“The system we committed to protect is still vulnerable to centralization from phenomena such as cross-domain MEV and exclusive order flow. To top it off, as we’ve grown into an incumbent, we now also need to protect the system against ourselves to avoid becoming the very Moloch we’re fighting against.”

Obadia was one of the earliest employees at Flashbot after it was founded in 2020 and held the formal title of “founding steward” of the company. However, he did not dwell on the reason why he was leaving the company, stating, 

“I leave for multiple reasons, some more personal than others, but really what it boils down to is that I feel my vision and values will be better served somewhere else. We’ve often had differing opinions within leadership, and that has been part of our strength. However, I believe we will now achieve better results going our separate ways.”

A Flashbots representative thanked Obadia for his contributions towards the company, Flashbots ecosystem, and the crypto industry in general. Obadia has suggested that he is open to collaborating with Flashbots in the future. 

A Fund Raise In The Works 

Flashbots creates software that facilitates the extraction of MEV or Maximal Extractable Value, which is extra profit that can be earned by strategically ordering how the transactions are organized into blocks that are written to the blockchain’s ledger. Flashbot’s MEV-Boost middleware is used by nearly all validators that help in Ethereum operations. Furthermore, the upcoming SUAVE network also aims to offer similar MEV-extracting functionality to other major blockchains. 

Flashbots is also on the verge of announcing a Series B funding round. The round will reportedly value the firm at $1 billion. It will help secure funding for MEV research and development as Flashbots works towards the launch of SUAVE and their vision to democratize and distribute MEV to other blockchains. 

Sweeping Personnel Changes

With the impending Series B funding round looming, Flashbots has also seen significant personnel changes. One of the most high-profile new hires is Andrew Miller. Miller joins the Flashbots team as a research lead and will work on Trusted Execution Environments and SUAVE. Miller is also well known for being one of the researchers who successfully broke Intel’s SGX code. This required a significant and massive overhaul of the secret blockchain and had security ramifications far beyond the crypto ecosystem. 

Miller has also been working as the associate director of the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts (IC3). He is also the assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, from where he will be taking a leave of absence as he gears up to take his new role with Flashbots. Other prominent hires joining Flashbots are Daniel Marzec, an engineer at Blocknative, another major MEV industry player, and Danning Sui, formerly the head of data science at the decentralized finance (DeFi) firm 0x. Marzec will be joining Flashbots as a research engineer, while Sui will lead the Flashbots’ data science team. 

So far, Flashbots has added 13 new team members over the past six months, taking the total size of the team to over 50. A representative for Flashbots stated, 

“Flashbots is working closer towards its goal to illuminate, democratize and distribute the dark forest.”

Dark Forest refers to the competition between different blockchain players to squeeze out MEV. 

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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