Solana Validators Punished as Network Protects Retail Users

Rumors of CME Not Launching Solana Futures Stir Market Speculation

Solana Foundation has removed several validator operators from its network delegation group, citing their involvement in sandwich attacks against users. 

Reportedly, the bad actors added mods to their validators to enable sandwiching on Solana.

Validators Stricken Off Delegation Program For Attacking Retail Users

The Solana network struck off several validators from the ecosystem’s delegation program as punishment for violating the Foundation’s best practices. According to reports, the bad actors added mods that enabled sandwiching on its retail users. 

A “sandwich attack” is a malicious form of Maximal Extractable Value attack where retail traders consistently receive the worst possible prices, while bad actors extract all the profits for themselves. MEV poses significant challenges for blockchain, impacting transaction security, efficiency, and fairness. It can also threaten network security by incentivizing miners or validators to engage in double-spending attacks or transaction censorship.


“Decisions in this matter are final. Enforcement actions are ongoing as we detect operators participating in mempools which allow sandwich attacks,” Tim Garcia, Solana’s validator relations lead, noted.

In May, Solana validators’ earnings from MEV surpassed those of the Ethereum blockchain. MEV revenue has been growing rapidly since mid-March, recently accelerating to record highs.

Read More: What Is Maximal Extractable Value (MEV)? Everything You Need To Know

In a follow-up post on X, Mert Mumtaz, co-founder of Solana RPC provider Helius, discussed the implications of the expulsion. According to the post, this action ensures that the foundation does not delegate to malicious validators who conduct sandwich attacks on retail users.

Notably, these operators will still be able to engage in their activities on the network, as Solana is a permissionless blockchain. However, they will not enjoy their usual privileges: the Solana Foundation Delegation Program aims to support validators by delegating SOL tokens to them, allowing operation without holding a substantial amount of tokens. Validators are selected based on performance merits.

“Most importantly, these operators can still do whatever they want; it’s a permissionless network—it just won’t be Foundation subsidized,” Mumtaz highlighted .

Read more: How to Buy Solana (SOL) and Everything You Need To Know

This resolve did not sit well with community members. It reawakened the argument that SOL blockchain is centralized. This discussion always comes up whenever the network shuts down for one reason or the other.

“Solana’s real scaling issue is trying not to expose how centralized it is while trying to protect the network from malicious attacks in the process,” noted Mike Three in a post on X.


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