Blockchain gaming giant Axie Infinity hit by $625 million crypto theft

Axie Infinity makers Sky Mavis working with authorities to recover the lost funds

Developer and publisher Sky Mavis has revealed that approximately $625 million worth of cryptocurrency has been stolen from the Ronin Network that supports its flagship blockchain title, Axie Infinity.

The lost funds stolen consist of 173,600 Ethereum (ETH), which at the time was valued at almost $600 million, along with a further 25.5 million USDC, a cryptocurrency pegged to the US dollar. It is worth noting that since the time of the announcement the value of ETH has fallen.

Sky Mavis stated that the attack on its Ronin Network took place on March 23 2022, and was first noticed on March 29 when a user subsequently could not withdraw 5,000 ETH from the Ronin bridge.

Ronin “unlocks explosive growth for Blockchain gaming and collectible projects” according to Sky Mavis on their website, being a faster less energy dependant way authorising transactions on the full Ethereum blockchain. However it appears that it also the root of this particular theft.

Evidence suggests that the attacker was able to compromise a number of network nodes used to validate exchanges on the Ronin blockchain. In using less nodes to speed up transactions, such systems are theoretically more vulnerable to attack, as this new, potentially record-breaking theft has shown.

“Here for the long term”

At the time of writing the company has said that the majority of stolen funds have yet to leave the attacker’s account.

The firm has stated that it is working with law enforcement to recover the stolen funds from the hacker and that it will make sure that all of funds are either recovered, or reimbursed.

In order to prevent further exploits on the vulnerability Sky Mavis have taken the heavyweight step of halting use of the Ronin bridge and Katana Dex, meaning that while further incursion is not possible, users currently cannot access their funds.

Ronin is currently down while “our engineers work their magic“… Not a good look…

Despite reeling from what is currently projected to be one of the largest cryptocurrency hacks to date, Sky Mavis has stated that it is “here for the long term and will continue to build”.

Recently valued at $3 billion, Sky Mavis is one of the largest cryptocurrency game operators, with Axie Infinity being one of the most popular blockchain games on the market. However, the cryptocurrency hack may cause users to lose faith in the security of their funds stored in Sky Mavis’ economy, and may harm the firm in the long run.

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