Evolved Apes
Source: OpenSea

Evolved Apes Rug Pull: NFT Creator Vanished With $2.7 Million

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Oct. 7 2021, Published 1:33 p.m. ET

Anything goes in a decentralized market, and that can be a good or bad thing for blockchain users depending on the situation. When it comes to NFTs, the sale of these assets can be very profitable or unfruitful. Unfortunately, buyers of the Evolved Apes collection are on the unfruitful side. They were victims of an NFT rug pull.

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Scams aren’t too rare in the NFT space. It can be easy to create fraudulent assets or simply not meet a project's expectations. The developer of the Evolved Apes collection has vanished with millions of dollars in sales from his NFT sales. Many people who purchased the assets are puzzled because the seller has completely vanished from the digital world.

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Source: OpenSea
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What is the Evolved Apes NFT collection?

The Evolved Apes series is an NFT collection that's actually still available on the OpenSea marketplace. The collection of 10,000 NFTs was supposed to be used for the Evolved Apes fighting game that was never created. In the fighting game, holders could battle their ape NFTs against one another in exchange for rewards in Ether.

The concept of the NFTs and the planned game was that the apes were engaged in a survival of the fittest. However, the game was never released. The developers and other contributors to the game stopped the development process. One of the reasons was that the developers were never paid.

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The revenue generated from the NFT sales was supposed to go towards developing the game, but it seems little revenue was used for it. The initial collection of 10,000 Evolved Apes NFTs was a huge success in September and sold out within 10 minutes. There was a website, Twitter page, and a Discord chat all dedicated to the NFT project. An Evolved Apes social community even started to grow.

Who is Evil Ape?

Ironically, the developer behind the Evolved Ape project goes by the pseudonym Evil Ape. The developer vanished and took 798 Ether from sales, which is worth over $2.7 million. The website and Twitter page don't exist now and Evil Ape is nowhere to be found.

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There were suspicions that the developer had been engaging in shady activity since the initial launch of the project. No one expected that it would get to this point. The digital assets are still being sold. Over 574 Evolved Ape NFTs have been sold since Oct. 1 totaling over 13.9 Ether or $47,230 in revenue.

The Evolved Apes community is holding strong and working to determine the next steps to take. The community has named itself the Fight Back Apes. It wants to create the NFT game that was never completed.

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Some members in the United Kingdom have even tried to file police reports against the scam. The Evolved Apes development team is based in the U.K. However, it will be difficult for those reports to manifest into anything. The NFT buyers got what they paid for and the blockchain space will be a difficult task to handle for local authorities.

Evil Ape still makes 4 percent royalties from resales of the NFTs, so there's an effort to make a separate collection of NFTs. The new collection would likely be called the Fight Back Apes.

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What is an NFT rug pull?

An NFT rug pull is essentially a scam where a developer will release promising digital assets on a marketplace. As the liquidity dies down, the person takes all of the liquidity for themselves. This tends to result in the NFTs having significantly reduced volume and the promises involving the project never suffice.

In March, a crypto artist who goes by the pseudonym Neitherconfirm released a collection of NFTs on OpenSea with appealing computer-generated portraits. Shortly after the listing, the artist changed the images of all the assets into literal carpets. The reason behind doing this was to point out the dangers of purchasing NFTs.

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