Ethereum Development Firm Flashbots Eyes Unicorn Status as it Seeks to Raise $50M: Report

Ethereum research and development firm Flashbots is in discussions over a potential fund raise of up to $50 million, according to a report by The Block on Thursday.

The startup is aiming to raise between $30 million and $50 million at a valuation of $1 billion, according to the report, which citied people with knowledge of the talks. Crypto venture firm Paradigm has committed to leading the investment, the report added.

Flashbots aims to mitigate the issues associated with centralized Maximum Extractable Value (MEV) on the Ethereum blockchain.

MEV refers to the maximum value that can be extracted from block production in excess of the standard block rewards and gas fees. This carries the risk of placing two much control of the network in the hands of a few sophisticated actors with the MEV knowhow to capitalize on block extraction at the expense of regular users.

Flashbots has been working on ways to reduce the negative effects of MEV through MEV-boost, which allows validators to request blocks from a network of builders. The firm claims to account for around 60% of all Ethereum blocks, according to data on its website.

The system received criticism last year around accusations that it was censoring transactions tied to crypto mixing service Tornado Cash, which was sanctioned by the the U.S. government last August, after which Flashbots said it would open-source its MEV boost relay code.

Flashbots and Paradigm did not immediately respond to CoinDesk's request for comment.

Read more: Is Ethereum’s Censorship Problem Taking a Turn?