On March 29, 2022, Sky Mavis announced that a hacker stole about $625 million in crypto assets from the blockchain it utilizes for “Axie Infinity”, the Ronin Network bridge. The Vietnam-based firm only learned of the heist after a user could not make a withdrawal six days after the breach. As a result, the company stopped transactions on the Ronin Network bridge.
Sky Mavis Reimburses Hacking Victims
However, in response to the hack, Sky Navis stated that $150 million in investments “will be used to ensure that all users affected by the Ronin Validator Hack will be reimbursed.” Almost simultaneously, a new version of the game, “Axie Infinity: Origin,” was launched. Firms like A16z, Accel, Animoca Brands, Binance, Dialectic, Paradigm and others in the Web3 and NFT realms were key in bailing out Sky Mavis. The Ronin Network bridge will resume once the security is upgraded and adequate audits have been conducted.
How the Ronin Hacker Stole Funds
The heist, according to Sky Mavis, was “socially engineered” for weaknesses during the mainstream adoption process. The thief utilized hacked private keys in order to forge phony withdrawals. Regarding the stolen funds, roughly 168,000 Ether or $540 million at the time of this writing are accounted for and in the wallet where the hackers left them.
Let’s remember that it is difficult to launder an amount of that magnitude. 2000 Ether was later moved by the attacker to privacy tool Tornado Cash. While the proper authorities try to get the stolen crypto back (173,600 Ethereum or $600 million and 25.5 million USDC), the 56,000 Ether snagged from the Axie Infinity DAO’s treasury is still “undercollateralized.”
In order to strengthen security on its proof-of-stake blockchain network, Ronin Network will increase the number of validator nodes from five to 21.
Axie Infinity Relaunches in Response to Ronin Hack
Prior to the theft, active daily usership on Axie Infinity dropped by 45 percent and multiple in-game economy problems had taken place. Nonetheless, the firm has released a preliminary version of its next game titled, “Axie Infinity: Origin” with another planned one, “Land,” later on.
Currently, Axie Infinity has over 2.2 million actively monthly users. 40% of them are in the Philippines and are using it as their full time job. “Origin” and “Land” will have more global appeal with its “ecosystem experience” and its new art, interfaces, mechanics, special effects and storylines.
A new feature is that users start off with three free “axies.” These axies will not allow players to earn but they will be able to try out the game for free. In the meantime, the current classic version of the game, “Battles v2”, will stay live until testing is done. Tokens awarded in the old versions will be moved to the new versions once the old ones are deprecated.
Will the reimbursement and new game launch put current and future Axie Infinity users’ minds at ease? We shall see.