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Evolved Apes NFT creator goes AWOL, steals $2.7M

Evolved Apes NFT creator goes AWOL, steals $2.7M

Last updated 12th Apr 2022
Disclosure

In a series of transfers, the creator of Evolved Apes, an NFT game in which apes fight for survival, siphoned off funds worth $2.7 million in Ethereum, blockchain traces showed.

The funds were supposed to be invested in marketing and used to cover expenses. They were derived from secondary market commissions and the initial NFT sale.

What is Evolved Apes?

Evolved Apes is set in a land typified by chaos and lawlessness. Just under 10,000 apes struggle here for survival and authority. They are designed as NFTs. Only the strongest ape will ultimately survive.

Ironically, this imaginary setting was realized when thousands of investors fell for the scam. Leading marketplace Opensea has described Evolved Apes as “a collection of 10,000 unique NFTs trapped inside a lawless land.”

What happened?

The game developer, who went by the moniker Evil Ape, stole just under 800 ether, equivalent to $2.7 million, in a series of transfers recorded on the blockchain. Then, he disappeared from the internet without a trace.

This was painful for Evolved Apes investors like Mike Cryptobull (not his real name), who spent about $10K on over a dozen apes. He has come to the fore of the community as leader of the investigation into the scam, saying:   

What has happened is that Evil Ape has washed his hands of the project taking away the wallet with all the ETH 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.  

The warning signs

Some investors noticed the red flags and pulled out of the project in time. Among the warning signs were unprofessional announcements and initial leaders leaving the platform.

The final blow came when it emerged the winners in a related competition on social media competition had not received their NFT prizes. The artist had not received compensation either.

The future of Evolved Apes

Repositioned as “Fight Back Apes”, the project will continue. In terms of sales and transaction volume, not much has changed since the scam occurred. The project sold 574 NFTs for 13.9 ether ($47,230) on Opensea.

Holders of the NFTs will be approved for a Fight Back Apes token connected to the works from the previous project automatically because the original narratives and NFTs remain. This is done in an effort to combat Evil Apes, the archenemy of Fight Back Apes.  

Daniela Kirova

Daniela Kirova

Daniela is a writer at Bankless Times, covering the latest news on the cryptocurrency market and blockchain industry. She has over 15 years of experience as a writer, having ghostwritten for several online publications in the financial sector.