Imagine a land filled with disorder and lawlessness. Here, almost 10,000 distinct, unique apes struggle for survival and authority. They are called NFTs (Nonfungible Tokens), because only the strongest ape will survive.
This imagination became a scam, but thousands of investors in “Evolved Apes”, turned it into a reality. The anonymous developer, known as Evil Ape, was described on NFT marketplace Opensea to be “a collection 10,000 unique NFTs trapped in a lawless country”. He left behind no website nor Twitter handle.
Blockchain traces revealed that 798 ether, or $ 2.7million, had been siphoned in multiple transfers. These funds were supposed to be channelled toward marketing expenses. They had been obtained from the initial sale NFTs and secondary markets commissions.
“The Evil Ape has taken the wallet with all the Ethereum from minting and used it for everything from paying the artist to cash giveaways, marketing, buying rarity tools, development of the game, and everything in between,” stated Mike_Cryptobull (name has been changed), who was the leader of investigating the scam within the community. He had spent nearly $10,000 on 20 apes.
Some investors noticed that the scam was on the horizon with initial leaders departing and unprofessional announcements. They blamed their lack of experience and had no idea what lay ahead.
Final pull was when it became clear that the NFT winners of a similar social-media contest had not received their prizes and that the artist had not been compensated.
The project is still in progress and is being renamed “Fight back apes”. The project’s sales and volume on Opensea have not changed much since the fallout became public. 574 NFTs were sold, with a total value of 13.9ether ($47,230). Evolved Apes holders will automatically be approved for a Fight Back Apes token that is linked to the art from the old project. This token would help counter the evil apes.
Together with iFinex which runs the crypto exchange Bitfinex the firm reached a $18.5 million settlement with New York Attorney General. The settlement covers claims that the firm never had reserves to back stablecoins and that it had manipulated funds in order to cover $850 billion worth of losses.