Binance recovers $5.8 million linked to Axie Infinity hack

Binance, through its CEO and Founder, Changpeng Zhao, has announced it has recovered $5.8 million worth of stolen funds originating from last month’s hack against Axie Infinity bridge, the Ronin Network.

According to CZ in a tweet, the funds were distributed to over 86 accounts. He stated, “The DPRK hacking group started to move their Axie Infinity stolen funds today. Part of it made to Binance, spread across over 86 accounts. $5.8M has been recovered. We done this many times for other projects in the past too. Stay #SAFU.”

This development is a win for the cryptocurrency space as the narrative of the industry being used by hackers and scammers to launder money has made rounds, especially in 2021. The recovery of the Bitfinex funds as well as this recovery by Binance, goes to show that the cryptocurrency space provides a level of transparency that has never been seen in the world.

What you should know

  • Axie Infinity’s sidechain, the Ronin Network, was hacked and it resulted in 173,600 Ether and 25.5 million USDC stolen from the network.
  • As previously reported by Nairametrics, the $625 million exploit of the Ronin network is one of the largest in the crypto industry.
  • U.S. security officials tied the hack to North Korea’s “Lazarus” hacker group.
  • Ronin Network, the Axie Infinity bridge that saw the exploit, said in a blog post that the FBI had linked Lazarus with the validator breach and that the Treasury Department sanctioned the funds.
  • In March, the attacker moved the entirety of the funds into a wallet and so far, about 8,251 Ether, worth $26.4 million, has been moved to different addresses so far.
  • Earlier in April, out of the 8,251 Ether, the exploiters used the privacy tool Tornado Cash to convert stolen funds to ether and other cryptocurrencies. 1,400 Ether of the 8,251 Ether was passed through this privacy tool.
  • In the past few days, activity over the past week from the exploiter’s main address shows several thousand ether (ETH) were moved in the past few days. The wallet continues to hold some $285 million worth of the asset at writing time.
  • Sky Mavis, the Vietnam-based gaming company that created Axie Infinity, was able to raise $150 million to reimburse victims of $625 million hack.

The hack on the Ronin bridge is bigger than the total value of the hacks seen in 2021. In 2021, according to data from The Block research, the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) space lost a little over $610 million to exploits. $355 million, representing 58.20%, was lost using flash loan attacks while the rest ($255 million, representing 41.80%) was lost using other forms of methods, like exploiting a bug in a given protocol.

To add, this attack makes it the largest in the entire cryptocurrency space. It surpassed the amount lost in the Poly Network hack, which totaled $611 million.

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