Pokemon-like NFT game Axie Infinity cheated out of $600 million

An ax offers feats of heroism to a monster in the hope that its life will be spared.

image: Heaven Mavis

Pokemon-style NFT fighter Axe Infinity was one of the biggestsuccess“ Stories in the world of crypto gaming. Now it is responsible for one of the biggest thefts in the history of technology. Gaming-focused blockchain Ronin Network announced earlier today that a Axe Infinity Exploit allowed a hacker to “swipe” around $600 million worth of cryptocurrencies from the network.

“There was a security breach on the Ronin network,” the company said announced on its substack. “Earlier today, we discovered that on March 23, Sky Mavis’ Ronin validation nodes and Axie DAO validation nodes were compromised, resulting in 173,600 Ethereum and 25.5 million USDC being withdrawn from the Ronin bridge in two transactions .”

The person responsible allegedly used hacked private keys to initiate the fraudulent withdrawals. How do you ask? According to Ronin, “The attacker found a backdoor through our gasless RPC node, which they abused to obtain the signature for the Axie DAO validator.”

Basically, the Ronin is “side-chain” for games like axis infinity uses “9 validation nodes” to prevent fraudulent transactions. However, in November due to overwhelming demand from new ones axis Ronin granted players special privileges to Sky Mavis, the company behind the game, so that it could sign transactions on his behalf.

Axies are struggling to earn a living in our future NFT hellscape.

Already published in 2018, Axe Infinity has exploded in popularity in certain areas of the internet with the rise of NFTs and market speculation surrounding blockchain gaming and the Metaverse. Part critter collectathon, part deck building battle game, Axe Infinity claimed 1.8 million daily users last year and broke $4 billion in lifetime NFT sales earlier this year. Now it seems to have paid a price for its rapid growth, trimming security corners to quickly serve new users.

“The Axie DAO has allowed Sky Mavis to sign various transactions on its behalf,” writes Ronin. “This was retired in December 2021 but allowlist access has not been revoked. Once the attacker had access to the Sky Mavis systems, they were able to obtain the signature from the Axie DAO validator using the gasless RPC.”

Ronin has apparently suspended accounts as it continues its investigation into the hack, meaning no one can get their money out, even if the price of RON, the network’s native token, did Reportedly down more than 25%.

Strange how cryptocurrency networks, championed for their security and decentralization, keep being breached. Last August, a hacker made off over $600 million by the Poly Network, although many of the funds were later returned. In January, hackers siphoned more than $30 million from in what the company originally described as a low-key “incident.” Most of these funds were also restored. It remains to be seen what will happen with the recent massive crypto breach. Pokemon-like NFT game Axie Infinity cheated out of $600 million

Curtis Crabtree

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