Hackers stole more than $600 million worth of cryptocurrency from a digital ledger used by players of the popular online game Axie Infinity in a major digital cash heist that surfaced on Tuesday.
Interest in the cryptocurrency has grown along with its value, but money has also become an attractive target for tech-savvy thieves.
Ronin Network said the attack targeting its blockchain purged 173,600 ether and $25.5 million worth of stablecoins, a digital asset pegged to the US dollar.
It was valued at $545 million when it was stolen on March 23, but based on Tuesday’s prices it was worth around $615 million, making it one of the biggest thefts ever made in the crypto world.
“Most of the hacked funds are still in the hacker’s wallet,” Ronin said in a post revealing the theft.
The team at Sky Mavis, creator of fighting and trading game Axi Infinity, discovered a security breach on Tuesday after a user was unable to withdraw Ether, according to the company.
Ronin was still investigating the hack, but he said the hackers had captured private “keys” to withdraw digital funds.
“We know there is a need to earn trust and are using every resource at our disposal to deploy the most sophisticated security measures and procedures to prevent future attacks,” Ronin said.
“We are working with law enforcement officials, forensic cryptographers and our investors to ensure that there is no loss of user funds.”
In Axie Infinity, players participate in battles using colorful blob-like Axies, and are primarily rewarded with “Smooth Love Potions” (SLPs), which can be exchanged for cryptocurrency or cash – or The game’s virtual world can be invested back in Lunacia.
According to Sky Mavis, about 35 percent of Axi Infinity traffic — and the largest share of its 2.5 million daily active users — comes from the Philippines, where high proficiency in English, strong gaming culture and widespread smartphone use have fueled its popularity.
To play the game, players must first buy at least three axes.
An Axi is an NFT – a unique, non-fungible token with a special set of capabilities and characteristics. Like NFT pieces of art, they are stored on a blockchain – a digital ledger that cannot be changed.
Axis can be bought, sold or rented to other players. Owners can also breed them to create new axes that provide more value.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)