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Maximal Extractable Value
MEV stands for Maximal Extracted Value. It exists in all order systems and usually in various forms of arbitrage profits, made from including, excluding, or reordering the transactions in a block. In blockchains, MEV exists due to how all transactions are ordered and included into a block prior to commitment on-chain.
In Proof-of-Stake era of Ethereum, for example, MEV is a means for validators (formerly miners) to generate revenue outside of block rewards and fees through block proposing. However, searchers and relayers also exert significant control over the process of block proposing.
Automata has been researching & experimenting on implementations of MEV for many years.