Following Hack, Sky Mavis Reopening Ronin Bridge With Enhanced Security

The Axie Infinity developer had shut down the bridge after North Korea-linked hackers stole $625 million from the network in March

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Blockworks exclusive art by Axel Rangel

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key takeaways

  • The bridge will reopen on June 28th with more validators
  • Sky Mavis raised $150 million in a funding round led by Binance to restore the stolen funds

Barely three months after popular blockchain-based game Axie Infinity’s asset transfer protocol was breached for more than $500 million, the so-called crypto bridge is set to reopen. 

The speedy reopening was aided by a Binance-led $150 million funding round meant to help Sky Mavis reimburse users on the play-to-earn gaming platform. The company claims to have undergone multiple audits and upgraded its security since the March hack, but it remains to be seen whether users will trust Ronin with their funds again.

In the game, the largest based on non-fungible tokens (NFTs), players battle to earn tokens that can be exchanged for other currencies through the Ronin bridge. Players without access to Binance have been unable to withdraw their tokens since the hack and subsequent shutdown.

The hackers wrested control of the Ronin bridge’s validator nodes and stole 176,300 ether and 25.5 million USDC. The exploit was one of multiple recent transfer protocol hacks, with Wormhole and Horizon also suffering heists in the hundreds of millions this year.

“While racing for mainstream adoption, we made some trade-offs that ended up leaving us vulnerable to this sort of attack” Sky Mavis said in a blog post.

Following the funding round, Sky Mavis underwent an internal audit and two external audits. The company also pledged to increase its validator nodes from nine in-house operated validators to 21 more-decentralized validators. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao is optimistic that enhanced security measures will restore belief in Sky Mavis.

“We have seen the tremendous work and growth of the Sky Mavis team since working together on the Axie Infinity project on Binance Launchpad,” Zhao said in a statement. “We strongly believe Sky Mavis will bring a lot of value and growth for the larger industry.”

Sky Mavis has promised to return all stolen user funds when it reopens the Ronin bridge on June 28. It remains unclear how many users will resume use of the product. 

The Axie Infinity influencer “cloudwhite” told Blockworks he believes most gamers hoping to withdraw their funds from Axie have already found a way to do so. The remaining users should continue to use the Ronin bridge once it reopens.

“The good news is we’ll know which way things swing in less than a week,” cloudwhite said.


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