Axie Infinity co-founder and chief exec Trung Nguyen has denied that he engaged in insider trading shortly before the game’s parent company Sky Mavis announced it had been the victim of a monumental $600 million hack.
According to Bloomberg, between the attack in March and an official announcement, a wallet belonging to Nguyen shifted nearly 50,000 of the game’s native AXS token, worth around $3 million, off the Ronin blockchain and onto Binance.
Shortly after the transfer, Sky Mavis froze users’ assets, leaving them locked in the game.
Bloomberg speculates that this could have been the first step toward cashing out the tokens before they were locked down. However, Sky Mavis called this claim “baseless” and said that the funds were actually moved to Binance in order to steady the company’s finances, provide liquidity, and outwit those who might look to profit from the hack.
“At the time, we understood that our position and options would be better the more AXS we had on Binance,” a Sky Mavis spokesperson said (via Bloomberg).
“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,” (our emphasis).
According to blockchain experts and researchers working with Bloomberg, a number of other wallets thought to belong to Sky Mavis employees also made several sizeable transactions at this time. However, the company refused to confirm that this was the case, instead suggesting that these tokens may have belonged to business partners or contractors.
Shortly after Sky Mavis moved to clear up the confusion, Nguyen himself took to Twitter to vehemently deny any accusations of wrongdoing.
Calling Axie Infinity his “life’s work,” Nguyen said his team “were in close contact with Binance to discuss the closing of the bridge, and how to ensure user funds would be restored as soon as possible.”
He also calls any accusations of insider reading “false” and points out that the game’s founders actually deposited money into Ronin Network.