Developer Behind ‘Evolved Apes’ NFT Project Makes Off With $2.7 Million

October 07, 2021, 9:30 AM AEST - 1 week ago

A non-fungible token (NFT) project on the OpenSea marketplace has been hit by a rug-pull of note, with the developer running away with US$2.7 million and leaving the community to rebuild from the ruins.

Found on the OpenSea NFT marketplace, the project is described as “a collection of 10,000 unique NFTs trapped inside a lawless land […] fighting for survival, only the strongest ape will prevail”, referring to the project’s hyped fighting game, which never materialised.

A week after the launch of the Evolved Apes NFT project, the developer, aptly named Evil Ape, vanished along with the project’s funds, which were siphoned in multiple transactions.

The Great NFT Rug Pull

The funds, attained from the initial public sale of NFTs and commissions on the secondary market, which were meant for project-related expenses, were stolen by the developer. Along with the disappearance of 798 ETH (US$2.7 million), the project’s official Twitter page and website have also been taken down.

An investor in the project who chose to remain anonymous stated that there were several red flags after the public sale that took place on September 24. Some of the main leaders vanished and communication with the community became conspicuous and unprofessional.

Investors active on the project’s Discord server contacted Mike_Cryptobull, who spent 3 ETH (around US$10,200) on 20 Evolved Apes, and was appointed as their existing investigator for the situation. According to Mike_Cryptobull, winners of the social media competition never received their prizes and the artists went unpaid.

What has happened is that Evil Ape has washed his hands of the project, taking away the wallet with all the ETH from minting that was to be used for everything from paying the artist, paying out cash giveaways, paying for marketing, paying for rarity tools, developing the game and everything else in between.

Mike_Cryptobull

Community Fights Back 

Even though the money is gone, the Evolved Apes community plans to carry on. Unlike with cryptocurrencies, NFT rug pulls leave behind JPEGs and a narrative surrounding them. Mike_Cryptobull explained in the report that he and others would build a new project called Fight Back Apes out of the ashes of Evolved Apes.

The new community notified Evolved Apes holders that they would be automatically approved for a Fight Back Apes token linked with the art from the old project:

We will become the Fight Back Apes, fighting as a community against our nemesis, Evil Ape.

Mike_Cryptobull

New Community to Use Multisig Wallet

Evolved Apes used a single signature wallet, allowing Evil Ape to manage the wallet as he saw fit without consensus from the community or other leaders. In opposition to that, Fight Back Apes stated they will be using a multi-signature wallet to ensure something similar doesn’t happen.

However, that doesn’t stop leaders from colluding and pulling a fast one again. Investors in new projects should keep in mind the golden rule of doing your own research (DYOR).

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