Blockchain Gaming

Alien Worlds DAO Embezzled for $100k

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Not long ago, Alien Worlds dove head-first into their player-run, planetary DAO system. This system allowed players to elect Council members who would be able to put forth proposals for ways to use the planet’s allotment of TLM tokens. However, a couple of bad actors were able to game the system, and walk away with 4M TLM tokens, worth over $100k USD!

The Alien Worlds DAO system is a big feature the team has been hyping for a long time. And after a long wait, they finally pushed it out in Fall of 2022. Things seemed to be proceeding fairly smoothly, with regular elections, proposals, and grants. However, in February of 2023, some bad actors were able to abuse and game the planetary DAO system.

Player run DAO organizations are an ever-growing feature in web3 apps. But most of these DAOs usually have a developer buffer between them and any funds or actual gameplay changes. But not so in Alien Worlds. Each planet has a daily allocation of TLM tokens, that the Planetary Councils can apparently just send to themselves with three out of five votes!

The Steal

You can read a more detailed account about what happened in an investigative article from Cryptomonkeys. Cryptomonkeys are a popular, free NFT group on the WAX blockchain that are involved in Alien Worlds as players. In short, the bad actors were able to stake and vote for Councilors at the last minute, putting three puppet accounts onto the Council. And thus, with a majority out of the five seats, they quickly put forth and passed two proposals. These proposals weren’t even disguised. They just simply transferred millions of TLM tokens to themselves!

They tried to repeat the process on the planet Neri, but with forewarning, some players and groups were able to band together to keep them from being elected. However, as mentioned in the investigative report, if these embezzlers choose to use their stolen funds to leverage more voting power, it is likely that they cannot be stopped from repeating their steal on other planets.

the puppet Council accounts on Kavian

The Aftermath

Alien Worlds response to this incident? They merely shrug and say that the system is working as intended. They also mention that Kavian had built up a rather large storage of unused TLM tokens, and thus put themselves at risk. But this is a deflective, bullshit statement. Very much akin to claiming that a woman was ‘asking for it’ by wearing revealing clothing!

And if the system is setup so that anyone can just come in and throw out last minute votes and successfully elect a previously unknown candidate, then something is probably wrong with the system.

Interestingly, talk of this incident on the AW Discord is nearly non-existent. And the Alien Worlds team doesn’t seem to feel like doing anything at all. And sure, I can understand the philosophy that this is supposed to be a player run and governed feature, so its up the players to figure out solutions. But this is also a big, black eye for the Alien Worlds DAO system. And hopefully a cautionary lesson for other projects setting up their own DAOs!

The next planetary elections happen in just under three days from now, on February 26th. Will Afhe, Biff, and Jose manage to make another steal? They already hold the top three spots on Neri as well as Kavian. If more TLM tokens are embezzled away in this manner, this could have major repercussions and cause players to lose any faith they had in the Alien Worlds and its DAO system.

What is Alien Worlds?

Alien Worlds is a mining game on the WAX blockchain. Players can own land, use tools to mine for Trilium (TLM), the game token, customize their avatars, and send ships on missions to earn TLM and rare NFTs. Players can also earn TLM through mining, and then spend the tokens to upgrade tools and weapons. Alien Worlds recently introduced the first phase of Syndicates, a player run, DAO-based, planetary governance system. The DAOs can put forth proposals to help grow and expand the ecosystem.

To keep up with all of the Syndicate news, check out the Syndicate Underground articles in the Alien Worlds Medium feed.

In a notable cross-chain reach, the Trilum token bridges the Wax, Ethereum, and Binance blockchains, allowing the economies of all three chains to merge into one. Players can transfer TLM tokens back and forth on the networks using the official teleport page.

Read more in our full Alien Worlds guide here.

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Phil Hall has been a gaming enthusiast since birth and a crypto enthusiast since 2017. He enjoys new discoveries and sharing those with others via blogging and photography. You can follow him on Twitter or read his other articles on Medium.