Hackers stole more than $ 600 million worth of cryptocurrencies from digital ledgers used by popular online gamer Axie Infinity, in a major digital cash robbery revealed Tuesday.
Interest in cyptocurrency has grown exponentially, along with its value, but the money has also become an attractive target for tech-savvy thieves.
Ronin Network said the attack, which targeted its blockchain, scored 173,600 ethers and $ 25.5 million worth of stablecoin, digital assets backed in U.S. dollars.
The transport was worth $ 545 million when it was stolen on March 23, but was worth about $ 615 million based on price on Tuesday, making it one of the biggest thefts ever in the crypto world.
“Most of the hacked funds are still in the hackers’ wallets, ”Ronin said in a note revealing the theft.
The team at Sky Mavis, maker of the Axie Infinity combat and trading game, discovered a security breach on Tuesday after users were unable to withdraw ether, according to the company.
Ronin is still investigating the hacking, but said that the hacker had held a private “key” to withdraw digital funds.
“We know trust needs to be earned and use every resource we have to employ the most sophisticated security measures and processes to prevent future attacks,” Ronin said.
“We are working with our law enforcement officers, forensic cryptographers and investors to ensure there is no loss of consumer funds.”
In Axie Infinity, players take part in battles using Axies like colorful blobs, and are primarily rewarded with a “Smooth Love Potion” (SLP) that can be exchanged for cryptocurrency or cash-or reinvested into the game’s Lunacia virtual world.
About 35 percent of Axie Infinity’s traffic-and the largest share of its 2.5 million daily active users-comes from the Philippines, where a high proficiency in English, a strong gaming culture and widespread use of smartphones have fueled its popularity, according to Sky Mavis.
To play the game, players need to buy at least three Axies first.
Axie is an NFT – a unique, unusable token, with a specific set of abilities and characteristics. Like NFT artwork, it is stored on a blockchain – a digital ledger that cannot be changed.
Axies can be bought, sold or rented to other players. Owners can also breed them to create new Axies that provide more value.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)