Sky Mavis, the developer of blockchain game Axie Infinity, says it will start reimbursing the victims of a $617 million hack that took place earlier this year. The attackers took $25.5 million in USDC (a stablecoin thats pegged to the value of the US dollar) and 173,600 ether, which was worth around $591.2 million at the time. The FBI claimed North Korean state-backed hacker groups were behind the attack.Impacted Axie Infinity players will be able to withdraw one ether token for each one they lost in the hack, Sky Mavis told Bloomberg (the company didn't mention a USDC reimbursement). However, as with other cryptocurrencies, the value of Ethereum has plummeted since the attack in March. Because of that, Sky Mavis will return around $216.5 million to users. It's possible that the price of Ethereum will rise again, but as things stand, affected users will get back around a third of what they lost.In April, Sky Mavis raised $150 million in funding to help it pay back the victims. The developer plans to reimburse affected users on June 28th, when it restarts the Ronin software bridge that the hackers targeted. Axie Infinity is widely considered the most popular play-to-earn game. Players collect and mint NFTs representing creatures that battle each other, Pokémon-style. These NFTs can be sold to other players, with Sky Mavis charging a transaction fee. By February, Axie Infinity had facilitated $4 billion in NFT sales.However, the NFT market has all but bottomed out, which has had a significant impact on Axie Infinity. For one thing, according to Bloomberg, the daily active user count dropped from 2.7 million in November to a quarter of that by the end of May.
Expect an Apple Music student plan to add slightly more to your college debt. As developer Michael Burkhardt and 9to5Mac have noticed, Apple has quietly raised the price of Music's student discount from $5 per month to $6 in the US and Canada, and from 5 to 6 in the UK. It's not clear exactly when or why the change occurred (we've asked Apple for comment), but it appears to have occurred within the past two days.The student tier was introduced in 2016 and offers the full functionality of Apple Music to those who qualify, just at a more affordable price. You currently get Apple TV+ as a bonus, but this is a "limited-time offer" that could vanish at any moment. In May, Apple hiked prices in countries like India, New Zealand and South Africa.The increase makes Apple Music a tougher sell. Spotify Student Premium is still priced at $5 per month in the US as of this writing, and it includes Hulu's ad-supported plan as well as Showtime. While there are still some reasons to pick Apple Music over rivals (such as tighter integration with Apple hardware), it might not be so enticing if you're trying to wring every last drop of value out of your subscriptions.
Think the computers at your office are overdue for an update? They probably don't compare to one of the European Space Agency's best-known spacecraft. The ESA is upgrading its Mars Express orbiter's MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ioniospheric Sounding) software 19 years after its June 2003 launch. For context, the original code was created using a toolset built for Windows 98 there are computers in museums that are newer than Microsoft's OS.The update promises to dramatically improve the Mars Express craft's efficiency. The initial approach gathered large amounts of high-resolution data that quickly swamped memory. With the new software, scientists can toss out unnecessary data. This lets MARSIS run for five times longer than before, and cover much wider swaths of Mars and Phobos in a given pass.The improvement should help explore the subsurface levels of Mars and Phobos in much greater detail. Researchers hope the extra resolution will let them quickly confirm signals hinting at liquid water near Mars' south pole. In effect, the MARSIS revamp will make sure Mars Express can continue its mission. Mars Express is most famous for discovering previous signs of liquid water on the Red Planet, but it's also known for capturing dramatic visuals of the martian landscape. While it won't necessarily make similar headlines as a result of the update, it should remain relevant where it might have become obsolete.