According to Chainalysis, investigators have been successful in recovering bitcoin valued at more than $30 million that was taken from the Ronin network operated by Axie Infinity. The value of crypto during the March assault was $552 million at the time, but as a result of a decrease in the value of crypto markets, it is now worth around $307 million.

Even though the Axie Infinity Ronin network exploits is one of the largest Defi hacks in history, investigators are making headway in mitigating the damage. Blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis just announced that more than $30 million worth of the stolen cryptocurrency has been recovered.

When did the announcement take place?

Along with the posting of a blog post about its results, Chainalysis broke the news at the official AxieCon event in Barcelona, where it had been kept under wraps until now. According to the company, Chainalysis was able to trace the cash, which the United States government was able to use. Treasury believes that members of the Lazarus hacking organization in North Korea stole the funds, which were then laundered and ultimately transferred to centralized exchanges.

After the crypto monies arrived at exchanges, law enforcement officers were able to collect them. It seems that the hackers had the intention of exchanging the tokens for fiat currency and then withdrawing the money, but they were unsuccessful.

Details about the grand theft

On March 23, a breach of the Ronin network occurred, during which 173,600 WETH (Wrapped Ethereum) and 25.5 million USDC stablecoin were stolen from the bridge that links Axie Infinity’s bespoke sidechain to the Ethereum mainnet. WETH stands for “Wrapped Ethereum.”

The total value of that quantity of cryptocurrency was estimated to be $552 million at the time of the assault, but it had increased to $622 million by the time it was made public about a week after the attack. As a result of the crypto market fall in May and the frigid circumstances that have persisted, the monies that were stolen are only worth roughly $307 million now. As a consequence of this, the investigators have already managed to retrieve around 10% of the stolen cryptocurrency.

Erin Plante’s response

According to the senior director of investigations at Chainalysis, Erin Plante, “This represents the first time that bitcoin stolen by a North Korean hacking outfit has been recovered, and we’re certain it won’t be the last.”

Axie Infinity is a monster-battling game built on Ethereum, and it is by far the most successful cryptocurrency game to date in terms of total NFT trading volume. According to statistics from CryptoSlam, the game has generated more than $4 billion in trading volume. The majority of it was generated during a frenetic period of activity that lasted for half of 2021.

Axie Infinity’s growing success in the market

Axie Infinity’s non-fungible token (NFT) and token values plummeted at the end of 2021 and the beginning of this year as a result of the game’s revolutionary play-to-earn economy struggling in the face of an excessive supply of reward tokens and waning demand. Since then, the game’s developer, Sky Mavis, has released an updated version of the game called Axie Infinity: Origins. This version includes a free-to-play option, as well as changes to the way prizes are structured.

It was determined that insufficient decentralization was to blame for the attack on the Ronin bridge. There was a total of nine validators involved in the attack, five of which Lazarus had gained control of through the use of hacked private keys. This gave the group the ability to illegally steal cryptocurrency worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Final Thoughts

Late in June, Sky Mavis restored the blocked Ronin bridge and repaid all individual users in full; nonetheless, a hole in the Axie DAO treasury amounting to 56,000 ETH remained even while law enforcement worked to collect the missing cash. Today, a spokesperson of Sky Mavis confirmed to Decrypt that all of the seized cash would be placed back into the treasury of the Axie DAO.