Less than two months after one or more hackers managed to steal nearly 320 million dollars (289 million euros) in cryptocurrencies, another platform of this decentralized economy suffered a spectacular theft, the amount of which, at the current price, this time amounts to more than 600 million dollars (543 million euros).
On Tuesday, March 29, the Ronin network announced in a press release that security flaws had allowed attackers to carry out unauthorized transactions to transfer very large sums: 173,600 ether (ETH) and more than 25 million USDC ( a cryptocurrency whose price is modeled on the US dollar and less prone to sudden rises and falls).
The Ronin network is a cryptocurrency system on which the very popular video game is based. Axie Infinity, in which one can notably earn money. The theft revealed on Tuesday March 29 concerns the “bridge” (“bridge” in English) from Ronin, a tool that allows conversions from one cryptocurrency to another.
According to Ronin’s press release, an attacker managed to trap the transaction validation system, which in theory prevents fraudulent transfers of cryptocurrencies. The person behind this hack managed to compromise private keys used by Ronin and Sky Mavies, the parent company ofAxie Infinityto validate large transactions and, thus, steal vast amounts of cryptocurrencies.
The hack took place on March 23 but was not discovered until the following week, after a user contacted Ronin to explain that he was unable to withdraw funds in ether on the network. In its press release, Ronin explains that it is in discussion with Sky Mavies investors to ensure that users can recover the funds that were stolen from them.
A Critical Cryptocurrency Sector
“Bridges” are a very important and sensitive element of the cryptocurrency ecosystem: funds are deposited there to be exchanged for other cryptocurrencies, but the initial sums used remain guaranteed. If the latter disappears, then the cryptocurrencies exchanged can lose their value. On February 2, the Wormhole Bridge suffered a hack that allowed one or more attackers to carry out fraudulent transactions and steal nearly $320 million in cryptocurrencies. At the time, one of Wormhole’s main investors bailed out the platform so as not to endanger the funds that had been converted.
The “heist” suffered by Ronin is one of the largest in the history of cryptocurrencies, like the one which, in 2021, caused Poly Network, a decentralized finance platform, to lose $600 million. . For the company Elliptic, specialized in the analysis of the cryptocurrency market, it is this theft which remains to this day the most important: if the funds stolen from Ronin today amount to nearly 615 million dollars, their value was 540 million at the time of the hack, on the 23 March.
In a separate case, on February 8, US authorities announced the arrest of two people suspected of wanting to launder funds stolen from the Bitfinex platform in 2016. At the time, nearly 120,000 bitcoins – worth approximately $72 million – had been stolen. Today, their virtual value is approaching 5.6 billion dollars, or about 5 billion euros.