Crypto exchange Binance among investors to rescue victims of $615 million theft

LONDON (Reuters) – Crypto exchange Binance is leading investors’ contribution to the rescue of victims of a $615 million crypto theft, the company targeted in the robbery said on Wednesday.

Vietnam-based Sky Mavis, which operates Axie Infinity, said last week that it had suffered one of the largest cryptocurrency thefts on record, leaving users unable to withdraw their funds from the game.

Sky Mavis said it will make up for the lost funds through a combination of its balance sheet funds and $150 million raised by investors including crypto exchange Binance and venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

“Sky Mavis is committed to making up for lost money to our users and implementing strict internal security measures to prevent future attacks,” said Trung Nguyen, CEO of Sky Mavis.

Sky Mavis said that the hacked part of the network, the blockchain “bridge” called Ronin, which allows users to transfer funds to and from the game, will be reopened after a security upgrade and scrutiny that “could take several weeks.”

The company said the “funding round” would allow users to withdraw and deposit their money.

“We strongly believe that Sky Mavis will bring a lot of value and growth to the larger industry, and we believe it is necessary to support them as they work hard to resolve the recent incident,” said Changping Zhao, CEO of Binance.

Binance and Sky Mavis have not put a number on the $150 million that Binance will offer.

Sky Mavis’ game, Axie Infinity, allows 2.2 million players to buy and trade in-game assets in the form of NFTs, which they compete against each other to earn tokens.

“While racing for mainstream adoption, we made a few trade-offs that ended up leaving us vulnerable to this kind of attack,” said a blog post on Axie Infinity announcing the fundraiser. “It’s a lesson we learned the hard way.”

The $2.1 trillion crypto sector has long been plagued by hackers, which has seen an influx of investment during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In February, a crypto exchange called Wormhole lost $320 million in what was one of the largest cryptocurrency heists on record at the time. The crypto arm of Jump Trading, which recently acquired developer Wormhole, has offered the funds to replace the stolen funds.


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