Norway returns almost $6m in funds stolen from ‘Axie Infinity’

Norway returns almost $6m in funds stolen from ‘Axie Infinity’
People & culture
'Axie Infinity' was a cultural phenomenon at its height. Credit: Shutterstock / JOCA_PH
  • Sky Mavis, originator of the game, thanked Norway and the FBI.
  • About $40 million in separate stolen funds is still frozen.

Norway returned almost $6 million in stolen crypto from the $620 million hack of the online game “Axie Infinity” in 2022, according to a post on X by Sky Mavis, the blockchain company behind the game.

Sky Mavis thanked the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime for freezing, recovering and returning $5.7 million in stolen assets.

It also expressed gratitude to the FBI in the US for its “tireless effort to track down and recover these assets.”

When the “Axie Infinity” launched in 2020, it pioneered the concept of play-to-earn, an idea that people could earn money playing video games, DL News has reported.

For those in developing countries, playing the game could earn them more than local minimum wages. It attracted millions of players, some of whom made their livings from the game. At its height, the game became a cultural phenomenon.

Then in early 2022, the game’s tokens lost most of their value amid a larger crypto collapse, the number of daily players dwindled, and the chain it was built on, called Ronin, was hacked by North Koreans in one of the biggest cyber-heists ever.

Recovered assets

“About 15% of recovered assets will be used to cover costs and expenses incurred by those involved in the recovery efforts,” including blockchain forensic firm Chainalysis, lawyers and accountants, Sky Mavis wrote in the post.

The remaining 85% of recovered funds will be deposited into the “Axie Infinity” treasury.

Join the community to get our latest stories and updates

The company added as a reminder that about $40 million in separate assets have been frozen by the law enforcement authorities, though the timing of their recovery is uncertain.