A project of profile photo NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) has become the center of grave accusations. Dubbed “Evolved Apes”, the set of digital assets created by anonymous developer “Evil Ape” has attracted hundreds of investors by promising much more than simple monkey art. But, it turns out, he disappeared from the networks, taking with it more than $2.7 million of the project vault.
Evolved Apes is described in the OpenSea non-fungible token marketplace as “a 10,000 NFTs collection the only prisoners inside a lawless land.” These monkey digital arts would be the basis of something that would later become a video game. “Fighting for survival, only the strongest monkey will prevail”, states the text of the project. However, these plans never materialized.
A week after the project’s launch, its developer Evil Ape, whose true identity was never revealed, simply disappeared, taking it with him. 798 ethers (ETH), or US$2.7 million. This money would be earmarked for project development and was raised from a series of initial NFT sales and related commissions. Unlike simple pieces of digital art, buyers of these tokens spent an average of $500 per asset thinking they were investing in a promising project.
Community on Discord discovers likely coup
However, a series of alerts began to emerge among the community. After initial sales in the last week of September, announcements related to the project began to sound unprofessional to investors.
Those appointed as leaders of the Evolved Apes project became increasingly absent. A buyer, who talked to Vice on condition of anonymity, he stated that, at that time, the community attributed these suspicions to the lack of experience of a team that would be carrying out its first major project. “We never expected this huge storm,” said the investor.
Going by the username “Mike Cryptobull”, he revealed that the Evolved Apes community initially discovered that winners of a social media contest held for marketing purposes never received their prizes on NFTs. Since then, the findings have become increasingly alarming.
On the project’s official server on Discord, the investor community came together to try to find out what was going on. Mike Cryptobull then became the lead of the investigation, as he explained to Vice. He had spent more than $10,000 on 20 monkey NFTs, money he hoped not only to recoup but also to turn into much more as the project got off the ground.
He compiled all his findings into a file and shared with the rest of the community. The news was bad. Evil Ape, the administrator and creator of the entire project, had simply disappeared. The report explains that he controlled the Evolved Apes central digital wallet. In the traces left on the blockchain network, Mike Cryptobull saw that Evil Ape had taken out and redirected 798 ETH to multiple addresses.
These cryptocurrencies “should be used for everything from paying artists, cash giveaways, marketing, tools, game development and everything in between,” the investor said in his report. Since then, no one has obtained any information about the Evil Ape, which appears to have disappeared from the internet.
Apparently, he deceived hundreds of investors. According to the project’s page on OpenSea (which is still up and selling), almost 600 sales were registered, transacting a total of 13.9 ethers (US$ 47,000), since Friday.
However, the project is not lost. The investor community does not intend to abandon the initial plan. As Mike Cryptobull explained to Vice, they plan to continue with the Evolved Apes, building a new project called “Fight Back Apes”, born out of fraud. NFT holders would automatically be approved to receive equivalent new initiative tokens, copies of the original artwork.
“We will become Fight Back Apes, fighting as a community against our nemesis Evil Ape. Although we have tried many ways to get in touch with OpenSea, we are still waiting for an answer… Evil Ape is still receiving 4% royalties [de cada venda], and that’s why we’re here to do NFTs to bring royalties back to the community.”
Josh CryptoBull, cofundador do projeto Fight Back Apes
With information: Vice