Axie Infinity creator Sky Mavis raises US$150 million to compensate victims of massive Ronin hack
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A week or so on from losing more than half a billion in an exploit on the Ronin blockchain, Sky Mavis has raised US$150 million in a Binance-led funding round.
Venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Dialectic, Paradigm and Accel also participated in the funding, along with Sky Mavis owner, blockchain-gaming studio giant Animoca Brands.
And, according to a Sky Mavis statement made yesterday, the raise, in addition to its own balance-sheet funds will be used to help reimburse Axie Infinity (AXS) users who lost money in the hack.
Dubbed the Ronin Validator Hack, it was an exploit that netted the attacker 173,600 ETH and 25.5 million USDC – worth more than US$585 million at the time of writing. It’s one of crypto’s biggest ever hacks, certainly the biggest GameFi crime to date.
You can read more about it here, if interested, but the TLDR on it is: the cross-chain bridge connecting the Ronin sidechain to the Ethereum mainnet was compromised after an attacker obtained the private keys to five of the chain’s nine validator nodes.
According to a CoinDesk report and Etherscan data, the attacker moved 2,000 ETH to privacy-focused crypto-mixing tool Tornado Cash earlier this week, in an attempt to cover tracks on the money trail.
1/ We've raised a 150 million USD funding round led by Binance.
The round combined with Sky Mavis balance sheet funds, will be used to ensure that all users affected by the Ronin Validator Hack will be reimbursed.https://t.co/oViPv4QrZ9
— Axie Infinity🦇🔊 (@AxieInfinity) April 6, 2022
The compensation fund is relieving news for Sky Mavis, Axie players/investors and the GameFi space at large, seeing as the popular gaming project remains the sector’s biggest with a market cap of US$4.2 billion. The Sandbox (SAND) is Axie’s closest rival in this regard, with a US$3.5 billion valuation.
In the current GameFi climate, the success of both of those projects is arguably important to creating a rising tide that could help lift many other blockchain-gaming boats.
— Crypto Gaming United | CGU (@CryptoGamingUtd) April 6, 2022
Sky Mavis wrote in its funding announcement that “the last eight days have been the hardest stretch of our four-year journey,” adding: “Thank you for your bravery, kindness, prayers, and words of support”.
The Vietnam and Singapore-based game developer also noted that the Ronin bridge will reopen once it has undergone a security upgrade and several audits.
“We strongly believe Sky Mavis will bring a lot of value and growth for the larger industry and we believe it’s necessary to support them as they work hard to resolve the recent incident,” said Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, CEO of global crypto exchange Binance.
Binance also said midweek that it’s now resumed deposits and withdrawals on the Ronin network after closing then partially resuming the service last week.
Sky Mavis today debuts its updated version of its game, known as Axie Infinity: Origin, allowing early-access users to test it out for free.
Axie Infinity: Origin is live in Early Access!
This is a very early version of the final product and we will be upgrading it quickly over the coming weeks and months.
— Axie Infinity🦇🔊 (@AxieInfinity) April 7, 2022