Ethereum-based decentralized exchanges witnessed a significant surge in trading activity last week as memecoins gained traction among crypto enthusiasts.
On April 19, the number unique traders on Ethereum DEXs hit 72,000 — a level not seen since the end of 2021 — according to data from The Block Pro Dashboard.
Memecoins have been enjoying a mini boom recently. The "Pepe the Frog"-themed token pepe, for example, saw an extraordinary surge short-term, skyrocketing by over 266 times in just four days. The team behind the coin seemed to have enticed users to forsake popular dog-themed tokens like dogecoin and shiba inu in favor of the popular internet frog meme.
"A spectacular price increase made people rush into memecoins like pepe, wojak and chad — all having a daily volume of $10 million to $100 million," said Simon Cousaert, director of data at The Block.
The prices of said memecoins have severely decreased since then, creating a feast for MEV bots. Short for Maximal Extractable Value, MEV is a technique that involves manipulating transaction sequencing to capitalize on profitable on-chain trades — such as arbitrage and re-ordering of transactions. "The activity of inexperienced traders caused hugely profitable opportunities for MEV bots," Cousaert said.
As The Block reported last week, an MEV trading bot operator who goes by "jaredfromsubway" spent over $1.1 million on Ethereum network fees and earned about $700,000 in profits front-running tokens and memecoins.
The increased DEX trading activity also led to a surge in Ethereum gas fees to around 73 gwei on April 19, now down to about 43 gwei. (A gwei is one-billionth of one ETH.)
NFT traders on Ethereum have declined
While traders on Ethereum DEXs surged last week, the number of NFT traders has declined to lows not experienced since July 2021.
"Generally, the NFT market has slowed down. Floor prices are dropping. Starbucks didn’t sell out its latest collection. The hype around Blur seems to be dying down a little. And, also, gas prices were high, which may deter people from trading," Rebecca Stevens, a data research analyst at The Block explained.
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