No matter how decentralized cryptocurrencies claim to be, there’s always going to be a paper trail to follow, and one such trail was left behind by Axie Infinity CEO and co-founder Trung Nguyen, who had apparently moved $3M worth of the game’s AXS cryptocurrency from its ecosystem to Binance just hours before announcing it was hacked for $620M worth of crypto and freezing its blockchain.
The details of the digital wallet transaction were initially discovered by a YouTuber by the name of Asobs, who zeroed in on the public transaction details and shared them in a video. The transaction was independently verified with help from two associate professors of mathematics at Winthrop University, which was later confirmed by Axie developer Sky Mavis as performed by Nguyen after data were presented.
An emailed statement from Sky Mavis spokesperson Kalie Moore rebuts the idea that Nguyen was up to anything shifty, however. “At the time, [the company] understood that our position and options would be better the more AXS we had on Binance. This would give us the flexibility to pursue different options for securing the loans/capital required,” the statement reads in part. “The Founding Team chose to transfer it from this wallet to ensure that short-sellers, who track official Axie wallets, would not be able to front-run the news.”
Nguyen also put out some tweets that repeated the same statement while also calling the hack “a learning experience.”
On top of the CEO’s wallet transactions, Asobs also found similarly large AXS token reshuffling from wallets believed to be owned by other Sky Mavis employees. When presented with these data, Moore wouldn’t confirm whether these wallets belonged to employees and called leaps to those conclusions nothing more than “speculation.”
Further reading on the Axie hack:
And further reading on crypto MMOs: