The co-founder of Axie Infinity has lost nearly $10 million in a crypto hack

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Two personal crypto wallets of Axie Infinity co-founder, Jeff “Jihoz” Zirlin, have been compromised with a hack of 3,248 ETH, equivalent to about 9.7 million dollars. 

The attack was confirmed today by Zirlin himself on his official X profile. 

Crypto hack against Axie Infinity co-founder

Zirlin confirms that it was an attack on his personal wallets, emphasizing that it had nothing to do with the Ronin chain.

Indeed, the issue occurred on the Ronin Bridge. 

Ronin is a blockchain created specifically for gamers, and Axie Infinity is a game based on this blockchain. 

This is an EVM blockchain, compatible with Ethereum, and in fact Zirlin had some ETH stolen from the Ronin bridge.

However, it should be noted that there is no evidence that this bridge has had any issues, nor that Ronin’s chain has been compromised. The problem seems to be limited to Zirlin’s two compromised wallets.

The co-founder of Axie Infinity explains that the private keys of those wallets have actually leaked, and that this has nothing to do with Sky Mavis’ operations.

Then he adds that he will continue to move forward in this “magical journey”, with the mission of bringing economic freedom to all Internet users, starting from gamers.

Once they took possession of Zirlin’s ETH, the stolen tokens were “washed” using Tornado Cash to cover their origins.

The story of Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity has nothing to do with this hack, but it should not be forgotten that two years ago in March another similar attack had seized some hacked private keys of addresses on the Ronin Bridge, allowing the attackers to even take possession of 173,600 ETH and 25.5 million USDC.

At the time, the total value of those tokens was about 625 million dollars, making it one of the largest thefts in the history of cryptocurrencies.

However, that attack directly hit the validation nodes of the Sky Mavis network, the publishers of Axie Infinity and Axie DAO.

The hackers actually breached Ronin’s cybersecurity, while in yesterday’s case there was no breach. 

Since then, there have been no reports of Ronin’s cybersecurity being breached, also because they took steps to strengthen it in order to make it more resistant to attacks. 

Instead, in Zirlin’s case, “only” the private keys of two of his addresses seem to have been intercepted, allowing them to be emptied. This time the blame seems to be solely his, while the Ronin network remained safe. 

The AXS token

Axie Infinity has its own token, AXS, whose market value has not been affected at all by the hack on its co-founder’s wallets. 

It must be said that the price of AXS has been suffering for some time now, so much so that it is still down by -95% from its highs.

In particular, it was the 2022 hack that caused a collapse from which the price of AXS has never been able to recover. 

The token made its debut on the crypto markets in 2020 at around $0.18, months before the last major bull run began. During this run, its market value skyrocketed to an astonishing $165, with an incredible +90,000% increase in just over a year. 

However, it must be said that already in November 2020, when the great bull run began, the price had risen to $0.5, so this is the reference price to calculate the gain during the bull run: +33,000%. 

At that point it was more than obvious that there was a speculative bubble ready to burst, and so it happened starting from the end of November 2021. 

Before the 2022 hack, the price had already dropped below $50, but the worst was yet to come. 

Indeed, in April there was a further collapse that brought it first below $20, and then by the end of the year to $6. 

The collapse then continued in 2023, with a descent even to $4. Although at that point the price was still much higher than the initial one in 2020, it was enormously lower than the highs of 2021. 

During the mini-bull run at the end of 2023, the price of AXS has risen a bit, so much so that it is now settling at $7.7, which is even higher than the lows of 2022 but not by much.