Axie Infinity Recovered Hack Money

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$30 Million in Stolen Crypto From Axie Infinity Breach is Recovered by Investigators

Axie Infinity Recovered Hack Money
Axie Infinity Recovered Hack Money / Image Credit: CRYPKYP
Source: Decrypt
1662710369 09 Sep / 07:59

One of the biggest DeFi hacks of all time, the Ronin network attack by Axie Infinity, is being reduced in scope by investigators. Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics company, revealed today that more than $30 million worth of the stolen cryptocurrency had been found.

At the official AxieCon conference in Barcelona, Chainalysis announced the information and published a blog post outlining its findings. The company claims Chainalysis could follow the money as it was laundered and transmitted to centralized exchanges. According to the U.S. Treasury, the money was allegedly stolen by North Korea's Lazarus hacker organization.

Following their arrival at exchanges, where the hackers reportedly sought to trade the tokens for fiat money and subsequently withdraw it, law enforcement authorities were able to seize the cryptocurrency cash, according to Chainalysis.

The theft of 173,600 WETH (Wrapped Ethereum) and 25.5 million USDC stablecoin from the bridge that links Axie Infinity’s unique sidechain to the Ethereum mainnet occurred on March 23 as part of the Ronin network hack.

At the time of the attack, all of that cryptocurrency was valued at $552 million, but by the time it was made public about a week later, its value had increased to $622 million. The stolen money is currently only worth roughly $307 million due to the crypto market meltdown in May and the bleak economic climate. As a result, about 10% of the stolen cryptocurrency has now been found by investigators.

According to Chainalysis Senior Director of Investigations Erin Plante, “This represents the first ever occasion that cryptocurrency stolen by a North Korean hacker gang has been seized, and we’re confident it won’t be the last.”

According to data from CryptoSlam, Axie Infinity, an Ethereum-based monster-battling game, is by far the most profitable cryptocurrency game to date in terms of total NFT trading volume—more than $4 billion. Most of that occurred in 2021 during a busy six-month period.

Axie Infinity’s NFT and token prices crashed in late 2021 and early this year as the game’s innovative play-to-earn economy failed due to an oversupply of reward tokens and waning interest. Axie Infinity: Origins, a revamped version of the game with a free-to-play option and changes to the rewards system, was later released by the game’s creator, Sky Mavis.

With only nine validators in all, five of which Lazarus acquired control of using stolen private keys, the organization was able to steal hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency without authorization during the Ronin bridge attack, which was attributed to insufficient decentralization.

Sky Mavis reopened the closed Ronin bridge in late June, and she fully reimbursed each user. However, a hole of 56,000 ETH remained in the Axie DAO’s treasury while law enforcement worked to retrieve the missing funds. The Axie DAO treasury would get all the seized cash, a Sky Mavis official confirmed to Decrypt today.

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