A collection of 10,000 non-fungible tokens (NFTs) called the Evolved Apes has reportedly been completely wiped off from the internet. The anonymous developer of Evolved Apes, known as Evil Ape, has also vanished, leaving investors high and dry. Traces left on the blockchain however, revealed that a total of 798 Ether had been channelled out of the project fund in several transfers. On Thursday, September 7, the value of 798 Ether was $2.8 million (roughly Rs. 21 crores).
The Evolved Apes project was released as a game-type NFT – that allowed buyers to purchase any of the 10,000 available ape NFT tokens and fight to survive in a lawless land. Currently hyped up in terms of craze, NFTs are digital assets representing objects like art, music, in-game items, and videos among other unique items that can be bought using cryptocurrencies.
“What has happened is that Evil Ape has washed his hands of the project taking away the wallet with all the Ether from minting that was to be used for everything, from paying the artist, paying out cash giveaways, paying for marketing, paying for rarity tools, developing the game, and everything else in between,” a report by Vice.com quoted an investor as saying.
After the sale went live on September 24, investors in the Evolved Apes project had started to notice some anomalies. The community members, for starters, discovered that people who had participated in a marketing-focussed social media competition hadn't received their NFT prizes.
Later, it surfaced that the artist involved in creating these ape NFTs had also not been paid.
In order to piece the situation together, the investors in this Evolved Apes project got on a conference call only to realise later, that they had been duped.
An investor who goes by the pseudo name of Mike_Cryptobull was appointed by others, as the head of this mission to find this NFT scammer. As per the Vice report, Mike_Cryptobull had invested three Ethers, amounting over $10,000 (roughly Rs. 7.4 lakhs).
“We will become the ‘Fight Back Apes', fighting as a community against our nemesis Evil Ape,” Mike_Cryptobull told Vice, revealing his plans of tracking down this cyber fraudster.
Meanwhile, the Evolved Apes project is still verified on the OpenSea platform. Since Friday, October 1, over 574 ape NFTs have been sold from the project, amounting to a substantial volume of 13.9 Ethers i.e $48,887 (roughly Rs. 36.5 lakhs).
In recent days, these game-type NFTs have been gaining popularity in the crypto space.
Earlier this week, American venture capital (VC) firm Andreessen Horowitz led a Series B funding round for a Vietnamese gaming studio Sky Mavis – that created the popular NFT game called “Axie Infinity”.
NFT sales volume surged to $10.7 billion (roughly Rs. 79,820 crores) in the third quarter of 2021, up more than eightfold from the previous quarter, according to data from market tracker DappRadar, as the frenzy for crypto assets reached new highs.