Welcome to Around the Blockchain, Huobi Learn’s daily rundown of the crypto markets.
Blockchain project Ronin — known for its affiliation with blockchain game Axie Infinity — has been hacked in one of the largest crypto heists in history. The hackers made off with 173,600 ETH (worth around $591,242,019) and $25.5 million worth of USDC in two separate transactions after finding a backdoor in the gas-free RPC node run by Axie Infinity owner Sky Mavis. The company will now raise the threshold for validator node consensus to 8 out of 9 and eventually increase the number of validators. It is also working with Chainalysis, “law enforcement officials, forensic cryptographers” and its investors to recover or reimburse the stolen funds. The Ronin bridge and its affiliated Katana DEX have been deactivated for the time being.
Nasdaq-listed software firm Microstrategy has obtained a $205 million BTC-collateralized loan to buy more BTC through a subsidiary, Macrostrategy, from Silvergate Bank’s Silvergate Exchange Network (SEN) Leverage program. The agreement entails Macrostrategy using the loan proceeds to buy BTC, pay fees and interest, and cover expenses related to the loan transaction or for its or its parent company’s general corporate purposes. So far, Microstrategy has already acquired 125,051 BTC for its treasury.
Blockchain parsers yesterday flagged 11 transactions totaling 11,325 BTC moving from unknown wallets created in 2014 to a large number of recipient addresses. The stash of BTC, worth $540 million today, may be linked to the theft at the now-defunct crypto exchange Cryptsy. Cryptsy CEO and founder Paul Vernon was indicted in Jan for stealing $1 million from Cryptsy-controlled accounts in 2015. The BTC stash sat idle for nearly 7 years and is suspected by some to be under the purview of the US government, while others may have different theories as despite his indictment, Vernon remains at large.
Robinhood crypto lead Christine Brown has announced her resignation after 5 years at the firm. She tweeted yesterday that she would be “staying in the crypto space” but did not provide further details, merely saying she was “moving on to start something new” after calling her time at Robinhood “the greatest professional experience of my life”. Robinhood COO Gretchen Howard said the firm was “so grateful” to Brown for her contributions, and was “excited to follow her entrepreneurial journey going forward”.
Payments giant Visa has unveiled a Creator Program, which will help selected small business owners in fields like music, fashion and film expand their operations via the use of NFTs. The program is a 1-year immersion into the NFT world, with support from Visa revolving around technical and product mentorship, community-building, access to thought leaders, exposure to Visa clients and partners, and a 1-time stipend. One of the program’s first participants is former Major League Baseball second baseman Micah Johnson, who launched his NFT character Aku in 2021.
Show me the money
According to crypto intelligence firm IntoTheBlock, the number of large transactions on the Cardano blockchain has risen by more than 50 times this year. Since 1 Jan, large transaction volume (LTV) — aggregated volume from transactions of over $100,000 denominated in Cardano’s native ADA token — has increased from 1.35 billion ADA daily to 69 billion ADA (worth $81.4 billion). This marks one of the highest volume levels since mid-2018, which IntoTheBlock says indicates “increasing institutional demand”.