What Is Ronin?
What Is Ronin?

What Is Ronin?


Ronin is an Ethereum sidechain designed for gaming, offering faster and cheaper transactions. It's used by popular games like Axie Infinity and Pixels. There have been some security issues, but the creators are working on improvements and expansion.

  • Created by Sky Mavis
  • Has its own token called RON
  • Known for games like Axie Infinity and Pixels

In the wide world of crypto, there are now many blockchains specifically designed for gaming—but Ronin was among the first to launch.

Gaming blockchains are typically built to offer low transaction fees and a higher number of potential transactions, so they’re supposed to be more affordable and more scalable than blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Some gaming chains are also private, meaning that developers must gain approval from a blockchain’s creators in order to join its ecosystem.

Ronin is one of those examples—at least for now, though founders have said they intend to open it up sometime in 2024 for more studios to build on. In the meantime, games like Pixels and Axie Infinity are drawing players to the Ethereum sidechain. Here's what you need to know about it.

What is Ronin?

Ronin is a gaming-centric Ethereum sidechain designed to handle transactions at a much faster and cheaper rate than Ethereum's own mainnet. The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatible chain originally launched back in February 2021.

It originally launched a “proof of authority” blockchain (PoA), meaning individuals Ronin deems reputable run validator nodes, a type of computer software, to confirm transactions on its blockchain. One common criticism of the PoA method, however, is that a lot of trust must be placed in a smaller number of validators—so it’s less decentralized than other methods.

Hacker Drains $622M From Axie Infinity’s Ronin Ethereum Sidechain

Ronin, an Ethereum sidechain developed for the hit NFT game Axie Infinity, has been targeted in a hack that saw an estimated $625 million worth of cryptocurrency drained from its bridge. Developer Sky Mavis announced the news today, writing that the exploit took place on March 23 but only discovered earlier today. The attacker used “hacked private keys” to execute the exploit, per the team’s report, and thus was able to forge transactions to claim the funds. All told, the attacker took 173,600 W...

In March 2022, the Ronin’s bridge experienced a massive $622 million hack. The bridge connects Ronin to Ethereum. The U.S. Treasury blamed North Korean hackers for the attack—and some of the lost funds were eventually recovered. Affected users were fully refunded by the Ronin network and developer Sky Mavis in June 2022.

In April 2023, the Ronin blockchain switched to the delegated proof-of-stake mechanism (DPoS), meaning that it no longer operates as a PoA blockchain. DPoS allows for more decentralization, as now any Ronin (RON) token holder with at least 250,000 RON staked on its blockchain can “delegate” or select validators for the network.

What is RON?

The Ronin token, also known as RON, is the gas token for the Ronin blockchain. Ronin network users need a bit of RON to pay for transactions on the blockchain. RON can also be staked to participate in the blockchain’s aforementioned DPoS mechanism, or can be staked for other decentralized finance (DeFi) purposes.

What is the Ronin Wallet?

Sky Mavis’ Ronin Wallet is a crypto wallet for the Ronin blockchain ecosystem that exists as both a web browser extension and a mobile app for iOS and Android devices.

In early 2024, the mobile wallet’s developers announced new features in an effort to expand its capabilities, adding support for other blockchains like Ethereum sidechain Polygon and the EVM-compatible BNB Chain. It’s also added Binance Pay as a feature, which allows users to buy some of the Ronin ecosystem's tokens.

Ronin Gaming Wallet Now Supports Ethereum, Polygon, and BNB Chain

The Ronin blockchain’s official crypto wallet just got a massive upgrade. Sky Mavis, maker of the play-to-earn NFT game Axie Infinity and the developers behind the Ronin gaming sidechain for Ethereum, have added multichain support to the Ronin wallet mobile app for iOS and Android devices.  The Ethereum mainnet, the Ethereum sidechain Polygon, and Binance’s BNB Chain will now be accessible in the latest update, according to an image in the announcement. The new version of the app that began its...

What is Sky Mavis?

Sky Mavis is a crypto tech startup founded in 2018 that created both the Ronin blockchain and its flagship game, Axie Infinity. Sky Mavis has five co-founders: Trung Nguyen, Aleksander Larsen, Jeffrey Zirlin, Viet Anh Ho Sy, and Tu Doan.

According to Tracxn data, Sky Mavis has 26 institutional investors, with Animoca Brands and Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) among them. Sky Mavis has raised $311 million in funding at time of writing, per Tracxn, with its latest round a Series B that raised $150 million in April 2022. That round was raised to help refund Ronin users after the aforementioned hack.

How does Axie Infinity fit into Ronin?

Axie Infinity is a Pokémon-inspired play-to-earn game where players can fight each other in battles where they must pit axolotl-inspired creatures called “Axies” against each other. Every Axie is an NFT that can be bought and sold. Thanks to a recent update, some Axies can now be upgraded, too.

Axie Infinity NFTs Can Soon Evolve Like Pokémon—Here's How

Monster NFT characters in play-to-earn game Axie Infinity can soon be upgraded thanks to a major update that brings a “Stage 2” evolution to every Axie monster, details of which the game’s developers at Sky Mavis have exclusively shared with Decrypt. Over 250 different Axie “parts” can be evolved on any Axie NFT beginning December 14, upgrading the character’s battle strength and aesthetic look. “We’re turning Axies into digital collectibles that evolve as you play with them,” Sky Mavis co-found...

Which tokens are on Ronin?

The Ronin blockchain’s best-known tokens so far are RON, AXS, and SLP. AXS is Axie Infinity’s governance token. SLP, also known as Smooth Love Potion, is Axie Infinity’s main in-game currency and play-to-earn reward token.

In early 2024, Sky Mavis announced that SLP would be getting a rework including a capped token supply and a “stability fund” that will automatically buy SLP at specified times in an effort to keep the token’s price within certain target points. SLP can be earned in Axie Infinity by winning matches.

'Axie Infinity' Caps SLP Token Supply—Can It Revitalize the Play-to-Earn Game?

Sky Mavis’ play-to-earn monster battling game Axie Infinity has three different crypto tokens associated with its ecosystem. One of them, the reward token Smooth Love Potion (SLP), is getting a major rework as the game attempts to stabilize its earning model. A supply cap has been established for SLP, limiting the total number of tokens to 44 billion, the Axie Infinity team shared Wednesday. It's not a technical cap enforced by a new smart contract that governs the token functionality. Instead,...

Pixels is also set to launch its own PIXEL token soon on Ronin, while other games are likely to debut tokens in the future as they expand and hold airdrop campaigns.

Which games are on Ronin?

While Ronin’s most well-known game is Axie Infinity (which consists of Origins, Raylights, and Homeland games), there’s also games like Axie Classic, Project T prototype, and Defenders of Lunacian Land.

Beyond the Axie IP, Sky Mavis has begun to bring external game developers onto the Ronin blockchain, adding Pixels, Zoids Wild Arena, The Machines Arena, Tribesters: Island of Solas, and Civitas, to name a few.

PIXEL Token Launch 'Very Close' as Pixels Game Sets Play-to-Airdrop End

Pixels, a popular web-based farming and social game that uses Ethereum sidechain network Ronin, announced that it will end its Play-to-Airdrop 2.0 campaign on Friday, setting the stage for the long-awaited PIXEL token launch and distribution to players. The Play-to-Airdrop 2.0 initiative, which lets players climb the in-game leaderboard for a chance to earn PIXEL tokens, will finish tomorrow, January 19 at 3 p.m. ET, the developers announced Wednesday. In a livestream, Pixels founder Luke Barwik...

Pixels has been credited with helping to renew interest around the Ronin chain after migrating from Polygon in late 2023 and kicking off a play-to-airdrop campaign that concluded in January 2024. The game has driven a dramatic rise in active users on Ronin, arguably benefitting other games on the platform and driving refreshed enthusiasm around its prospects.

Edited by Andrew Hayward

Editor's note: This story was updated after publication to note additional Sky Mavis co-founders and to clarify that Ronin users affected by the bridge hack were fully refunded.

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