• Before the $622 million hack, Axie Infinity CEO moved $3 million in tokens

  • In March, the bridge connecting Axie Infinity’s Ronin network sidechain to Ethereum was hacked for $622 million in cryptocurrency, making it one of the greatest DeFi thefts in history. Now, the CEO of the Axie studio has stated that he removed millions of dollars in tokens from Ronin before the hack was revealed.

    A crypto wallet controlled by Sky Mavis CEO and co-founder Trung Nguyen transferred around $3 million worth of the game’s AXS governance token from the Ronin network to crypto exchange Binance.

    Nguyen’s token transfer occurred barely three hours before Sky Mavis reported the Ronin network hack, about a week after the attack, which shut down network access until late June.

    “At the time, we (Sky Mavis) understood that our position and options would be better the more AXS we had on Binance,” she said. “This would give us the flexibility to pursue different options for securing the loans/capital required.”

    Moore went on to say that cash were transferred from Nguyen’s personal wallet so that AXS short sellers “would not be able to front-run the news,” and that suspicions of other intentions surrounding the nature of the transfer were “baseless.”

    The Ronin network hack occurred on March 23, however it was not identified for several days. It was finally revealed on March 29. The attacker stole 173,600 Wrapped Ethereum (WETH) and 25.5 million USDC stablecoins, totaling $622 million at the time of disclosure, but $552 million at the time of the attack.

    Finally, the attackers drained the cash via the bridge that connects Ronin to the Ethereum mainnet, gaining control of five of the network’s nine total validators and signing bogus transactions to transfer the assets.

    Sky Mavis reported on April 6 that it had secured $150 million in extra money in response to the hack in order to facilitate user refunds of stolen crypto currencies. On June 28, the Ronin bridge reopened, and all users were compensated. Sky Mavis is still hoping to recover the assets that the US Treasury claims were taken by the North Korean hacking group Lazarus.

    the $3 million AXS transfer with the assistance of pseudonymous YouTube user Asobs, who examined Ronin network transactions from the period preceding the announcement. Sky Mavis is said to have refused to clarify whether any wallets used for significant transactions belonged to business workers.

    Nguyen stated in a tweet thread today that the AXS tokens were relocated to Binance after conversations with the exchange, as Sky Mavis wanted to help with user liquidity while reinstating the bridge.

    “This story includes speculation of insider trading,” he wrote. “These accusations are baseless and false. In fact, the Founding Team even deposited $7.5M from a known Axie multi-sig wallet to Ronin Network prior to the bridge closing to avoid triggering any short-sellers watching.”

    Axie Infinity is the most successful cryptocurrency game to date, with over $4 billion in NFT trading volume and millions of daily participants at its height last year. However, the game’s play-to-earn economy began crumbling late last year ahead of the March hack, prompting a slew of modifications (and more to come) to help resurrect the monster-battling game.

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