Over $615 million was stolen from the network that powers the popular game Axie Infinity by crypto hackers

Axie Infinity, a popular blockchain game that allows users to earn money while playing, is linked to what could be the greatest decentralized finance (DeFi) hack in history.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Axie Infinity's Ronin Network revealed that it has lost about $615 million in USDC (a US dollar-pegged stablecoin) and ethereum, surpassing the $611 million loss of the DeFi protocol Poly Network in August 2021.

The security issue was revealed by Axie Infinity's official Discord and Twitter accounts, as well as the game's underpinning network, Ronin Network. DeFi networks are attempting to reproduce traditional financial systems such as banks using cryptocurrency. The majority of them are based on the Ethereum blockchain.

After a user was unable to withdraw 5,000 ether on Tuesday, the incident was identified. However, the assault occurred on March 23, when exploiters utilized hacked private keys to create bogus withdrawals, according to the blog post, which also stated that other key validator nodes were hacked.

The hack stole 173,600 ethereum and 25.5 million USDC from the Ronin bridge in two transactions, according to Ronin, which can be seen on Etherscan. At current rates, the project is estimated to have lost $615 million.

Because cryptocurrency users do not always operate within a single blockchain ecosystem, developers have created cross-chain bridges that allow users to transmit cryptocurrency from one chain to another. The Ronin bridge connects Axie Infinity to other blockchains, such as ethereum, in this example.

Players could deposit ethereum or USDC into Ronin's wallet and use it to buy non-fungible tokens (NFTs) or in-game cash through the bridge. They might then cash out the money by selling their in-game assets.

The stolen money is on the move, according to Blockchain Intelligence Group analysts. According to the business, about $17 million in ethereum has already been transferred to exchanges such as FTX and Huobi.

In an email, Adrian Hetman of Immunefi, a bug bounty and security services platform for the web3 sector, said, "Bridges are really difficult to get properly, and the attack surface is substantially bigger than in conventional DeFi projects."

Bridges, according to Hetman, are "still a developing sector," and the industry hasn't yet defined best practices for their use.

Bridges won't be around much longer in crypto, according to Vitalik Buterin, the developer of Ethereum, since there are "basic constraints to the security of bridges that hop across several 'zones of sovereignty.'"

Axie Infinity is a blockchain-based game that allows players to acquire and breed digital "Axies." Axie Infinity, unlike standard pay-to-play games, allows players to earn money by selling their Axie NFTs to other users.

Sky Mavis, the developer of Axie Infinity, stated that the company is committed to recovering or reimbursing all of the cash that have been drained. Users are unable to withdraw or deposit funds at this time.

"We're working with law enforcement agencies, forensic cryptographers, and our investors to ensure that no user cash are lost," Ronin added.

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