Evil Ape, the creator of the Evolved Apes NFTs, appears to have stolen $2.7 million in Ethereum from investors. Both the individual’s Twitter account and website have been deactivated.
The creator of the popular Evolved Apes NFT series appears to have fled with $2.7 million in investor funds. The creator’s pseudonym, “Evil Ape,” is no longer on social media, and the website has also gone offline.
The Evolved Apes series is a collection of 10,000 NFTs that are “trapped inside a lawless land,” where only the strongest apes will survive in a survival of the fittest scenario. It was intended to be a fighting game, but that has yet to materialize.
The 798 Ether that has gone missing was supposed to be used for project development and marketing. It appears increasingly likely that the funds were stolen.
The scam impacted a wide range of stakeholders in the Evolved Ape ecosystem, from users to NFT creators. The project’s artist had not been paid, and this was just one of many red flags indicating an impending rug pull.
One investor was blunt in his assessment of Evil Ape’s immorality in an interview with Motherboard.
“What has happened is that Evil Ape has washed his hands of the project, taking away the wallet containing all of the ETH from minting that was to be used for everything, from paying the artist to paying out cash giveaways, paying for marketing, paying for rarity tools, developing the game, and everything in between.”
However, there is a glimmer of hope. Holders of the NFTs will resurrect the series as Fight Back Apes. They can carry on the legacy of the NFTs as holders, and hopefully recover some of their lost funds. This new series will use a multi-sig wallet to ensure that Evil Ape does not have access to the funds.
Scams continue to plague the NFT sector.
While it has been extremely profitable for many, NFTs are not without risk. This includes security concerns, and the niche is even being criticized as a vehicle for money laundering. Many people in the industry are thinking about how to make the NFT space more secure, and incidents like this will only fuel that thought.
Individuals putting up artists’ works without their knowledge is one way NFTs can be compromised. For example, after the original Banksy website was compromised just a week before, a fake Banksy artwork sold for $336,000 on eBay.
NFTs are now well and truly entrenched in the mainstream, with celebrities and corporations alike using the sector to promote themselves. With such a high level of public participation, it will be critical that stronger safeguards are put in place to protect investors.