Online Game Hit by Massive Crypto Heist

'Axie Infinity' says $615M was taken after criminals compromised blockchain bridge
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2022 4:19 PM CDT
Online Game 'Here to Stay' Despite Staggering Hack
   (Getty Images/lucadp)

(Newser) – A popular online game says it is "here to stay" despite one of the biggest cryptocurrency thefts on record. Vietnamese studio Sky Mavis says hackers drained cryptocurrency worth more than $600 million from the "bridge" that allows Axie Infinity players to exchange other cryptocurrencies for in-game currency or for Axies, NFTs of the game's axolotl-like cartoon creatures, the Verge reports. The blockchain network Ronin, also developed by Sky Mavis, says the theft occurred on March 23 but wasn't detected until Tuesday, almost a week later, reports Reuters. Ronin says the hackers made off with 173,600 Ethereum, worth around $590 million as of Wednesday, and $25.5 million in USDC, which is tied to the US dollar.

"It is one of the bigger hacks in history and we’re fully committed to continue building," Axie Infinity co-founder Jeffrey Zirlin said Tuesday. Axie Infinity was recently described as the biggest success story in the world of crypto-linked gaming, Kotaku notes. In its "pay to play to earn" model, users who invest in Axies can battle or breed them to earn in-game currency, which can be exchanged for cryptocurrencies via Ronin's bridge. The game, which is especially popular in the Philippines, says it has almost 3 million daily users and more than $3.6 billion has been traded on its marketplace.

The company says it is "working with various law enforcement agencies" and is "committed to ensuring that all of the drained funds are recovered or reimbursed." The hack is believed to be the biggest cryptocurrency theft in history, Gizmodo notes. Bitcoin worth around $71 million at the time was stolen from the Bitfinex exchange in 2016, but it was worth $4.5 billion when federal investigators made two arrests in the case last month. (Read more cryptocurrency stories.)

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