Evolved Apes creator disappears with crypto worth millions – and he’s not the first

The somewhat appropriately-named creator of the Evolved Apes project, Evil Ape, pulled off the heist of a lifetime – or something like that anyway. The details of what went on aren’t entirely clear yet – but those invested in the project realized that its creator had bailed with the equivalent of roughly $2.7 million in Ethereum.

Naturally, investors are left quite upset – despite the fact that the legality of this ‘theft’ is actually unclear. Why? Well, because those who invested did actually receive what they paid for – an NFT. The Evolved Apes NFT was eventually supposed to be usable in a fighting game. Rather than creating that, Evil Ape decided to bounce with the money. This rug pull is far from the first of its kind – but it is quite a notable one.

Evolved Apes

© Evolved Apes Inc

A name-brand scandal

One of the most painful NFT scams to date was when a fake Banksy NFT was sold to a collector for a whopping $300k in crypto. Fake or counterfeit NFTs are on the rise – legit NFT collections can’t be perfectly duplicated, but scammers can make them look extremely similar. Unsuspecting buyers who think they’re getting a deal end up with a hole in their pocket for their troubles, and a worthless NFT in their wallet.

In the case of the Banksy NFT, Banksy’s spokesperson revealed he had no involvement at all with NFTs, and so the one sold was a complete fake. Somewhat humorously, the anonymous user who bought the NFT was named Pranksy – however, the crypto that was paid by them for the NFT are, of course, gone. 100Eth were, at the time, worth just over $300k.

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Not all is lost

Another rug pull event hit the relatively popular Apymon project. Users were sold egg NFTs that could also be used as a sort of vault to store other things in them. The project was plagued with several issues including an early attempt of someone involved in stealing ultra-rare eggs. The person was not booted from the project – and as it turned out, they were ultimately the ones who ran away with an unknown amount of ETH worth several hundred thousands of dollars, leaving the moderators and community members who bought the eggs with little to nothing, other than egg NFTs that they couldn’t access anymore.

Somewhat unusually for a rug pull project, however, Apymon wasn’t then abandoned – the community took ownership of what assets they could, and a new team formed to try and salvage what was left. The project was rebranded as Apymon:Revolution, and while it by no means recovered the severe damage the rug pull caused, it continues to have over a thousand investors that are sticking with the project. It’s too soon to say whether the attempted save will work – but Apymon seems to indicate that a scam isn’t necessarily the death of a project… or at least not of every project that suffers this fate.