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Reuters report says Lazarus Group used Binance to launder stolen funds

In September 2020, hackers from the North Korean Lazarus Group broke into Slovakian crypto exchange Eterbase and stole currency worth roughly $5.4 million. Using only encrypted email addresses, the hackers opened at least two dozen anonymous accounts on Binance and used them to “convert the stolen funds and obscure the money trail,” according to a new Reuters investigation. According to the report, the interactions between the exchange and the well-known state-sponsored hacking group are part of a much larger picture …

Axie Infinity earned less than $1 million for the first time since early 2021

The blockchain-based game Axie Infinity brought in only $988,400 in revenue last week — the first week the play-to-earn (P2E) game has clocked less than $1 million since February of 2021.   Axie, the darling of the P2E world, experienced a meteoric rise in popularity in the summer and early fall of 2021. At its peak, the game accrued over $215 million during the week of August 8, 2021. In October of that year, Axie’s creator Sky Mavis had even …

The decline of Axie Infinity

Quick Take Axie Infinity was a pioneer of play-to-earn gaming and became immensely popular last year. But indicators of popularity — the average cost of an Axie, total NFT sales and daily active users — have since plummeted. What happened? This feature story is available to subscribers of The Block News Plus. You can continue reading this News Plus feature on The Block.

LootRush raises $12 million to make blockchain games easier to play

LootRush, a platform that aims to improve user access to blockchain games, has raised $12 million in seed funding. The round was led by crypto VC firm Paradigm, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz. Other backers include Y Combinator, Brex founders, and angel investors like the founders of Axie Infinity, Plaid, Wildlife Studios, Dapper Labs, The Chainsmokers, and Vivi Nevo. LootRush is trying to address three problems that game developers face when trying to get games to reach mass adoption, according …

Sky Mavis plans to become a ‘zero-trust organization’ after $600 million Ronin hack

Sky Mavis, the company behind the play-to-earn game Axie Infinity, said it is looking to become a “zero-trust organization” in the wake of last month’s $600 million attack on the Ronin network. This refers to a security stance in which the team will constantly scan for new threats that may be targeting the game’s creator Sky Mavis, the team said in a new post-mortem report published Wednesday.  “Our goal is to become a fully antifragile, zero-trust organization. Zero-trust is a …

Binance CEO says exchange seized $5.8 million from Axie hackers

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, CEO of the Binance crypto exchange, said his team was able to seize $5.8 million from North Korean hackers who last month stole $600 million from the Axie Infinity play-to-earn game. After the theft, US regulators identified the hackers to be the Lazarus Group, a North Korean entity associated with the regime.  CZ said in a Twitter post today that the exchange was able to recover $5.8 million from hackers who had moved a part of the …

US government connects North Korean hacking group with last month’s $600 million Ronin exploit

The US government drew a connection between the North Korean hacking unit Lazarus Group and last month’s exploit of the Axie Infinity’s Ronin sidechain network. The Treasury Department included the Ethereum address 0x098B716B8Aaf21512996dC57EB0615e2383E2f96 in a sanctions list update. The address had previously been flagged on EtherScan as “reported to be involved in a hack targeting the Ronin bridge.” Currently, the address holds 147,753.03 ETH, worth roughly $444 million at current market value. As reported at the time, the exploit resulted in …

Axie Infinity maker floats bug bounty program after $600 million Ronin hack

Sky Mavis, the studio behind the popular Axie Infinity game, has floated a bug bounty to unearth security vulnerabilities in its ecosystem following the theft of over $600 million from its Ronin network. Announced on Tuesday, the bug bounty covers two categories covering both smart contracts and web-related issues. Rewards for vulnerabilities with the ecosystem’s blockchain and smart contract infrastructure will range from $1,000 to $1,000,000 depending on the severity. Some of the prioritized smart contract vulnerabilities listed by Sky …

How a VC firm that turned $700K into $4B is betting on the future of crypto gaming

VC firm Hashed was founded in 2017 when a group of founders and engineers from South Korea pooled $700,000. Fast-forward five years and more than 500 investments later, and Hashed’s treasury now totals over $4 billion and it is still 100% owned by the firm. Crypto gaming is one of the main pillars of Hashed’s investment thesis, serving as the focal point of a $200 million fund announced in December. While Hashed is actively investing in the emerging Web3 gaming …

Play-to-earn game Axie Infinity: Where does the money come from?

Quick Take Axie Infinity is a play-to-earn game that hands out SLP tokens to its players. The game currently gives out 187 million SLP tokens per day, worth $3.3 million. But where does this value come from? And is it sustainable? This feature story is available to subscribers of The Block Daily. You can continue reading this Daily feature on The Block.