Sky Mavis teams with Google Cloud to secure blockchain network

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Sky Mavis has teamed up with Google Cloud to become a validator for its blockchain gaming network and enable it to scale in a secure and sustainable way.

Sky Mavis operates the popular Axie Infinity game, which uses non-fungible tokens to authenticate unique digital items.

Back in March, Sky Mavis reported that the Ronin Network which supports Axie Infinity was hacked. Thieves stole 173,600 in Ethereum cryptocurrency (worth $594.6 million) and $25.5 million in U.S. dollars, stealing a total of $620 million.

Now, at the AxieCon event in Barcelona, Sy Mavis said it will do a multi-year collaboration with Google Cloud to bolster the security of Ronin and advance its vision of building a gaming universe with interrelated, immersive, and rewarding experiences.

Google Cloud will become an independent enterprise validator for the Ronin network, joining a validator node pool that includes Animoca Brands, DappRadar, Nansen, and more. By running and overseeing a validator node on the Ronin network, Google Cloud will contribute to its collective security and governance, while taking on the role of monitoring validator uptimes.

Ronin is a blockchain network built using the Ethereum virtual machine (EVM) that was launched by Sky Mavis in February 2021 to speed up transactions and drastically reduce gas fees for its fast-growing user ecosystem, thereby allowing millions of in-game micro-transactions to occur seamlessly.

It operates on a Proof of Authority (PoA) consensus model, where validators are selected based on their credibility and are responsible for verifying, voting, and maintaining a record of transactions on the blockchain. As a part of Sky Mavis’ shift toward decentralization, it proposes new validators and puts them up for a vote. The current network then requires at least 70% of its existing validators to approve a proposal.

Sky Mavis is updating Axie Infinity: Origins.

Previously, Sky Mavis set up a temporary backdoor to handle more transactions. Sky Mavis left that backdoor available by accident, and hackers took advantage of it to steal the cryptocurrency and cash.

“Validators have the important duty of ensuring that transactions on Ronin are processed correctly. They also serve as crucial ecosystem partners and supervisors,” said Aleksander Larsen, COO of Sky Mavis, in a statement. “Google Cloud, which sits at the intersection of being a recognized contributor to the developer community and having deep technical expertise in blockchain infrastructure and running validators, was naturally one of the top choices. Google Cloud has been our strategic cloud provider since 2020, so welcoming them now as Ronin’s latest and 18th validator is a big deal for us, especially as we push toward our initial goal of having 21 independent validators securing the network.”

By building core offerings like Ronin, its proprietary Axie Infinity game titles, and Mavis Hub – a launchpad for new blockchain games – on Google Cloud’s scalable, secure, and sustainable infrastructure and low-latency network, Sky Mavis aims to establish Ronin as the default NFT scaling solution for gaming and open up more opportunities for users to turn their time and effort into real-world value. This means that third-party game developers can sign up with Sky Mavis to publish their games.

With Sky Mavis actively providing resources and support to help its community developers create and monetize compelling experiences on top of Axie Infinity and Ronin, Google Cloud will enable the scalable distribution of community-built games and other experiences created through Sky Mavis’ partnerships with major game studios. Given that a Ronin transaction is already engineered to be more energy efficient than a transaction on a Proof of Stake blockchain, Sky Mavis’ decision to run its platforms on the industry’s cleanest cloud will further reduce its ecosystem’s overall environmental impact, the company said.

Sky Mavis has also chosen Google Cloud for its content delivery network’s advanced load balancing and caching features, to deliver smooth and reliable experiences to users anywhere on any device – including those who earn income through Axie Infinity but live in rural areas with intermittent online connectivity.

“From our time in the Google for Startups Cloud Program to where we are today, Google Cloud and its partner Searce have provided us with the right support at every stage of our growth journey – whether it’s handling fluctuating traffic so that 2.3 million Axie NFT owners enjoy equitable platform experiences or introducing new mechanisms to drive sustainability across our digital nation,” said Trung Nguyen, CEO of Sky Mavis. “We very much look forward to our next phase of collaboration with Google Cloud and Searce, especially with their clear commitment to our industry and desire to support us and the wider community with relevant capabilities for born-in-Web3 applications.”

Google Workspace

Axie Infinity: Origins battle system.
Axie Infinity: Origins battle system.

Sky Mavis aims to hire 100 more people over the next 18 months. To continue attracting world-class talent and allow its centralized team of engineers in Vietnam to easily connect, create, and collaborate with their colleagues across the world, Sky Mavis has adopted Google Workspace.

Built on Google Cloud, Google Workspace brings together applications like Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet, Chat, and more, into a single, integrated workspace, with built-in enterprise-grade access management, device management, data protection, and data encryption, to establish a secure hybrid working environment.

Having tripled the size of its global team in the past year to accelerate its product roadmap and support the increasing volume of user-generated games and content within its ecosystem, Sky Mavis is also enabling its engineers to maximize their talent and make meaningful contributions to its user community.

“After a comparison of all options, we chose Google Cloud due to a number of core differentiators,” said Viet Anh Ho, CTO of Sky Mavis, in a statement. “One area in particular is Google Cloud’s open source heritage and managed Kubernetes service. Engineers at Google actually invented Kubernetes, so it’s only natural for Google Cloud to have the best autoscaling and automated application deployment capabilities. These free up our engineers to break new ground and delight users with interrelated and immersive experiences – all without disrupting active gameplay. Moreover, the Google Cloud services that we’re using are already battle-tested on Google products like Search and YouTube.”

From introducing new battle systems, balance changes, and seasonal leaderboards to opening a marketplace for trading Axie NFTs and launching co-created blockchain games on Mavis Hub – these are among the hundreds of development updates that Sky Mavis is releasing on a regular basis. At the same time, the company must ensure that it is synchronizing game states in real-time during multiplayer sessions and matchmaking players of similar skill levels. By automating application deployment and game server orchestration – with zero downtime – using Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), its technical teams can avoid manual backend configurations and focus on building engaging features and products.

“Sky Mavis is a strong example of how the cloud can enable blockchain technologies to yield innovation and value creation for individuals,” said Ruma Balasubramanian, managing director, Southeast Asia, at Google Cloud, in a statement. “Alongside Searce as our implementation partner, we look forward to working with Sky Mavis to accelerate its product roadmap and grow the Ronin network with secure infrastructure as its core. We’re also excited about the possibilities that could emerge from this latest collaboration – be it entertaining experiences for users or new business models in games distribution.”

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