MetaMask, a well-known cryptocurrency wallet, introduces ‘Smart Transactions’ to address front-running on the Ethereum network.

MetaMask, Ethereum’s leading crypto wallet, is unveiling a groundbreaking feature this week aimed at mitigating the impact of maximal extractable value (MEV) on users. Known as ‘Smart Transactions,’ this optional feature introduces a virtual mempool, enabling users to pre-submit transactions before they are officially recorded on-chain. Powered by ConsenSys, the company behind MetaMask, this innovation aims to counteract certain MEV strategies while simulating transactions behind the scenes to secure lower fees.

MEV represents additional profits blockchain operators can extract by manipulating transactions before they’re confirmed, akin to front-running in traditional finance. This practice significantly affects Ethereum, driving up costs, slowing transaction speeds, and occasionally causing failures under specific network conditions.

Jason Linehan, Director of ConsenSys’ Special Mechanisms Group division, highlighted the significant issue of wasted funds due to MEV-related reverting and stuck transactions, labeling it as nonsensical from a user experience standpoint. MetaMask’s solution, the virtual mempool, echoes private mempools but is fundamentally distinct. It marks the initial phase of a broader roadmap to revolutionize MetaMask’s transaction routing on Ethereum.

Smart Transactions operate through MetaMask’s virtual mempool, where builders and searchers process transactions. Unlike Ethereum’s public mempool, these operators in the virtual mempool face penalties if they fail to execute transactions at MetaMask’s quoted prices. Linehan stated that 95% of Ethereum’s current builders and searchers have joined MetaMask’s virtual mempool program, set to roll out gradually this week. The technology builds upon Smart Swaps, which has been available for several months.

MetaMask’s virtual mempool, with its extensive network and innovative incentives, distinguishes itself from traditional private mempools. Linehan emphasized that besides offering better prices, Smart Transactions simplify tracking transaction progress within MetaMask, eliminating the need for external block explorers like Etherscan.

According to Linehan, Smart Transactions represent MetaMask’s initial step toward a broader vision, laying the groundwork for future developments such as intent-based architectures.