One week after the launch of the Evolved Apes NFT project, the mysterious developer behind the project disappears and takes with them 798 ether, which is about $2.7 million.
The news was broken by Vice News, and according to the story, both the official Twitter account and website have been wiped clean showing nothing but a 402 error code. The money was taken from the initial public sale of the Evolved Apes NFTs and commissions, originally meant for project expenses.
As the name suggests, Evolved Apes are apes that are supposed to represent a character within the project’s story. Originally, the project was supposed to have a fighting game attached to it whose trailer is still on YouTube, for now at least.
Evolved Apes took their inspiration from the more successful Bored Ape NFT series, and since it went on sale, the project has had more than 4,000 apes sold.
Project Red Flags
Then on October 1, it all went offline and Evil Ape, the developer of the project, ran off with all the money. The red flags started to appear shortly before the rug pull. Users have stated that announcements after the launch date seemed “suspiciously unprofessional” and that several leads in the project were suddenly gone.
— 🦧🍀$$BK1881🍀🦧 (@SSBK1881) October 2, 2021
One particular Evolved Apes community member took it upon themselves to investigate and find out what happened. This member refers to themselves as Mike_Cryptobull, who spend over $10,000 on the Evolved Apes project.
NFT Rug Pull
According to Mike_Cryptobull, Evil Ape took the project’s entire coffer. The money made from the project was to be used for paying the artist who drew the apes, paying out cash giveaways in had held, rarity, game development, and everything in between.
Despite everything that’s happened, hundreds of sales continued to take place since Evil Ape ran away. Kotaku states that over $50,000 in sales were made, giving Evil Ape an extra 4 percent in royalties.
Fight Back Apes
The story doesn’t there. People were not content with moving on from their loss and not getting involved with NFTs again; although it may be a case of the sunken cost fallacy. In the aftermath, the people who were ripped off started a new project called “Fight Back Apes”.
It's amazing pic.twitter.com/JdfH1QsxF7
— nick (@JucheMane) October 5, 2021
So anyone who bought an Evolved Apes NFT is approved for a Fight Back Ape Token using the art from the old project. Essentially, people are putting more money into another similar-looking NFT project. Meanwhile, people have filed police reports in the United Kingdom complaining about Evolved Ape as the project was based in the U.K.
Unethical, But Not Illegal
Unfortunately for the buyers, complaining to the police may not warrant much police attention. An anonymous person talked to PCGamer about Evolved Apes and they state “People are trying to file police reports but [the] problem is this is unknown turf, and while unethical, not technically illegal.”
They say that they got what they paid for, which is the NFT. All the other stuff, like the game, has nothing to do with the purchase. Although the police may not do anything, members of the community might. A member from the Evolved Apes community told PCGamer that they are searching for Evil Ape to try to get their money back, by force if need be.