Developers Pull Off Third NFT Rug-Pull for $1.3 Million, ‘Verified’ Project ‘Big Daddy Ape Club’

January 22, 2022, 10:00 AM AEST - 4 months ago

The Big Daddy Ape Club, a non-fungible token (NFT) project on Solana (SOL), has pulled the rug on investors for 9,136 SOL (an estimated US$1.3 million), even though the project was verified.

One of the largest NFT rug-pulls in Solana’s history occurred on January 11, the scammer getting away with almost US$1.3 million in investor funds. Digital artist and NFT blogger Faith Orr described it as an especially harsh incident since “most rugs do the basic courtesy of leaving their victims with NFTs even if they don’t ever get listed on secondary markets”.

According to some, it might even be the same individual or group of people responsible for multiple rug-pulls that have happened in the past. Shortly after the incident, the project’s Twitter, Discord and website went offline, followed by Solanart verifying there had indeed been a rug-pull:

Verified Project Disappoints

Even though the project had been verified by Civic, the developers were still able to run off with the funds. Does this mean the devs were just extra-shady, or did Civic drop the ball? In its defence, Civic stated that it designed the program as a free service for creators to verify their real-world identities and build trust within their communities:

We are aware of the reported Big Daddy Ape Club rug-pull and that there are victims involved. We take this attack on the NFT community seriously, and are taking steps to offer all the assistance we can.

Chris Hart, Civic CEO

Civic CEO Chris Hart conceded that its solution doesn’t perform due diligence other than identity verification, and that no verification process is 100 percent effective all of the time. Civic’s verification process is mainly designed to protect participants in the case of an incident where identity information can be shared with relevant authorities in the event something happens.

The Civic Pass program works by verifying control of the project’s Twitter handle, oversight of the project’s domain, and identity verification of the project founders through ID document capture. The verification process also includes a 3D face scan of the person.

Civic Takes Steps Toward Recourse

Civic is now taking the next steps in order to solve this case, and in a statement to Decrypt said that “the identity of the individual who held themselves out as the founder of the BDAC project was verified through our program”, adding that “we are cooperating with law enforcement to assist in their investigation, but do not know how long their investigation will take”.

At the start of January, a decentralised P2E game on Solana turned out to be a rug-pull. Hopefully, the BDAC community can pull together after this one, as was the case with the Frosties NFT rug-pull on January 15.

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