Axie users can’t withdraw assets from Ronin as cyberheist probed

Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 30 2022 06:59 PM

A blood donor plays Axie Infinity during a blood-letting activity in Quezon City on March 22, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
A blood donor plays Axie Infinity during a blood-letting activity in Quezon City on March 22, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News


MANILA - Users of the popular play-to-earn game Axie Infinity will not be able to withdraw their cryptocurrencies from the Ronin network while the hacking of the system is being investigated, a local official of the gaming company said on Wednesday. 

Ronin earlier said that hackers stole cryptocurrencies now worth almost $615 million from its systems. On March 23, unidentified hackers reportedly stole some 173,600 ether tokens and 25.5 million USD Coin tokens from Ronin. 

Ronin is developed by Singapore-based game studio Sky Mavis, which also owns Axie Infinity. 

The platform is used to convert the cryptocurrencies earned in the game, such as AXS and SLP, into other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum or the USDC stable coin that are easier to trade and convert to fiat cash. 

Nix Eniego, Axie Infinity Philippines lead, said the company is working to ensure that no users’ funds are lost. 

"We are actively investigating the situation and are in the process of discussing with Axie Infinity/Sky Mavis stakeholders about how to best move forward and ensure no users' funds are lost. We will continue to provide updates as we learn more,” Eniego said. 

He said that around 60 percent of Axie’s user base is in Asia–majority of which is from the Philippines.

The memo on the cyberattack said only Ethereum and USDC assets were compromised. Meanwhile, AXS and SLP, which can be earned in the Axie game, as well as RON assets, were ‘safe right now.’ 

Richard Laig, an Axie player, Axie users have no choice but to wait it out and hope for the best.

"Everybody who is playing Axie infinity really doesn’t have a choice because their assets are already in that ecosystem and all that is left now is just to have faith in the promise of Sky Mavis that they will make everybody whole, and that going forward they will improve their security,” Laig said. 

Sky Mavis said that hack has shown that Ronin is not immune from threats. 

“We know trust needs to be earned and are using every resource at our disposal to deploy the most sophisticated security measures and processes to prevent future attacks," the company said.

Laig, who is also a blockchain game developer, meanwhile said that despite the hack, Axie will continue to be popular. 

"I think it is here to stay. Axie was actually gearing up for its new update, Origins. Unfortunately the timing of this will likely have an effect on the launch of that new update. Everyone in the community is keeping a close watch on what happens from here.” 

During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, play-to-earn games like Axie exploded in popularity in the Philippines as thousands of Filipinos sought ways to weather the economic crisis caused by the outbreak. 

 

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