Axie Infinity's Ronin Network Loses Over $600M in One of the Largest Crypto Hacks on Record

The attack on the popular NFT video game occurred last week, and the company says it's "committed" to reimbursing players.

Julian Dossett Writer
Julian is a staff writer at CNET. He's covered a range of topics, such as tech, travel, sports and commerce. His past work has appeared at print and online publications, including New Mexico Magazine, TV Guide, Mental Floss and NextAdvisor with TIME. On his days off, you can find him at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque watching the ballgame.
Julian Dossett
2 min read
Computer screen filled with ones and zeros above a lighted keyboard
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Hackers made off with approximately $620 million worth of cryptocurrency from a network used to process in-game transactions for Axie Infinity, one of the world's most popular NFT video games. The company announced the hack in a blog post on Tuesday, and revealed on Wednesday that an ongoing investigation suggests the attack was "socially engineered" and not due to a technical glitch. 

The Ronin network serves as a bridge between Axie Infinity and the Ethereum blockchain and is used to conduct transactions and transfer cryptocurrency in and out of the game. The size of the theft makes it the second largest crypto heist to date, according to blockchain analysis firm Elliptic.

The attackers made off with 173,600 ether and 25.5 million usd coin, according to Ronin's blog post. The attack was also confirmed on Axie Infinity's Twitter page. Ronin said in its blog post that it is working with Chainalysis, a blockchain tracing firm, to track the stolen funds.

Sky Mavis COO Aleksander Larsen told Bloomberg that the company will reimburse players who lost funds due to the hack. "We are fully committed to reimbursing our players as soon as possible," Larsen told Bloomberg. "We're still working on a solution, that is an ongoing discussion."

Axie Infinity is a Pokemon-like video game played on a computer where players breed and battle digital monsters called "axies" that are linked to non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Players can earn cryptocurrency in the game, which can be traded on some cryptocurrency exchanges outside of the game. 

In 2021, $3.5 billion in NFTs passed through Axie Infinity, according to Business Insider India. The stability of Axie Infinity has been called into question, as the game's economy may require new players to buy in to keep it afloat. 

Sky Mavis didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.