After the enormous Ronin heist revealed on Tuesday, the long-awaited Axie Infinity: Origin will be released a week late.
Axie Infinity creator Sky Mavis disclosed earlier this week that its Ronin Network sidechain had been hacked, with $622 million in crypto assets taken from the bridge connecting Ronin to Ethereum. The designers have now decided to postpone a long-awaited update to the play-to-earn game due to the security vulnerability.
The alpha edition of Axie Infinity: Origin, a vastly enhanced version of the NFT-driven monster-battling game, was set to premiere today. The Origin launch has been pushed back a week to April 7 owing to the consequences from the exploit, which occurred on March 23 but was found and revealed earlier this week.
"While the game is ready for soft launch, we've opted to offer the engineering and security teams an extra window of time to thoroughly evaluate all consequences of the hack before requesting their full focus to support Origin's release," said Sky Mavis in a blog post.
Sky Mavis said on Tuesday that a hacker had stolen 173,600 Ethereum and 25.5 million USDC stablecoins via the bridge connecting its bespoke Ronin sidechain to Ethereum. Those crypto assets were valued around $622 million at the time of the revelation.
The real attack, on the other hand, occurred on March 23 and went undiscovered for many days. Sky Mavis said Tuesday that it was alerted to a problem after someone attempted to withdraw 5,000 ETH from Ronin but was unable to do so.
The vulnerability was carried out, according to the developer, when "hacked private keys" were used to seize control of five of the nine validators that sign transactions on the Ronin network. Once the incident was identified, Sky Mavis temporarily shut down the bridge and the Katana decentralized exchange (DEX) to prevent any more attacks.
The studio stated that it will "ensure that all monies are recovered or returned," and that it is working with law authorities, crypto forensic firm Chainalysis, and its investors to determine the next steps.
Sky Mavis also said that all monies still on Ronin are secure at this time. Because some assets were moved from the attacker's wallet to centralized exchanges, NFT LA co-founder Jeff Zirlin stated on Tuesday that "there's a potential they may be identified and brought to justice."
Based on the amount of the stolen cash at the time of the exploit ($552 million), the Ronin assault is the second-largest DeFi hack of all time, following only the $611 million Poly Network theft from August 2021. In that case, the hacker returned the majority of the funds, claiming that the whole thing was staged to teach Poly Network a lesson about lax security.
Axie Infinity: Origin is described as a significant improvement over the present game, in which players purchase and combat monsters offered as one-of-a-kind NFT collectibles. The fighting system in Origin will be revamped with richer graphics and more strategic gameplay, according to the developer.
It also introduces free-to-play components, allowing players to play with "starting" monsters without having to initially purchase NFTs. Origin will be released separately from the original Axie Infinity experience, however it will share the same NFTs. Sky Mavis stated in February that the initial version of Origin will not include token prizes.
Axie Infinity is the most popular crypto game to date, attracting millions of players and generating more than $4 billion in NFT trading activity. The game's play-to-earn economy, on the other hand, has suffered in recent months as Axie's token values, NFT prices, and trading volume have all dropped dramatically, necessitating a number of changes to the rewards scheme.