SoK: Transparent Dishonesty: Front-Running Attacks on Blockchain

  • Shayan EskandariEmail author
  • Seyedehmahsa Moosavi
  • Jeremy ClarkEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11599)


We consider front-running to be a course of action where an entity benefits from prior access to privileged market information about upcoming transactions and trades. Front-running has been an issue in financial instrument markets since the 1970s. With the advent of the blockchain technology, front-running has resurfaced in new forms we explore here, instigated by blockchain’s decentralized and transparent nature. In this paper, we draw from a scattered body of knowledge and instances of front-running across the top 25 most active decentral applications (DApps) deployed on Ethereum blockchain. Additionally, we carry out a detailed analysis of initial coin offering (ICO) and show evidence of abnormal miner’s behavior indicative of front-running token purchases. Finally, we map the proposed solutions to front-running into useful categories.



The authors thank the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) for sponsoring this research through the Education and Good Governance Fund (EGGF), as well as NSERC through a Discovery Grant.


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Copyright information

© International Financial Cryptography Association 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer ScienceConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.ConsenSys DiligenceMontrealCanada

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