Evolved Apes Rug Pull

From Quadriga Initiative Cryptocurrency Hacks, Scams, and Frauds Repository
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Notice: This page is a new case study and some aspects have not been fully researched. Some sections may be incomplete or reflect inaccuracies present in initial sources. Please check the References at the bottom for further information and perform your own additional assessment. Please feel free to contribute by adding any missing information or sources you come across. If you are new here, please read General Tutorial on Wikis or Anatomy of a Case Study for help getting started.

Notice: This page contains sources which are not attributed to any text. The unattributed sources follow the initial description. Please assist by visiting each source, reviewing the content, and placing that reference next to any text it can be used to support. Feel free to add any information that you come across which isn't present already. Sources which don't contain any relevant information can be removed. Broken links can be replaced with versions from the Internet Archive. See General Tutorial on Wikis, Anatomy of a Case Study, and/or Citing Your Sources Guide for additional information. Thanks for your help!

Evolved Apes

The Evolved Apes NFTs were overseen by an anonymous individual, who didn't even pay the artist who made them. In addition to the NFTs, the development of a game was promised. After collecting the funds from various individuals around the world, they simply disappeared. The community has vowed to rebuild the project as Fight Back Apes. Progress continues.

This is a global/international case not involving a specific country.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14]

About Evolved Apes

"Welcome to evolved apes, the place where we pay homage to our long lost brainless relatives. Ten thousand brain dead neanderthals have spawned on the face of planet earth. All in one place, watch as the chaos unfolds. In this uncontrolled wasteland, you have two choices fight or die. Those brave enough to enter this kingdom, these are your requirements."

"Equality does not exist in this kingdom, you will be judged on what you possess. That is why we have created a rarity system to help differentiate between which apes will be destined for the win. There are 100 total traits in the kingdom and these have been associated as either common, uncommon, rare or super rare. Depending on how unique your trait is the more power you will possess in the kingdom."

"Evolved Apes is described on NFT marketplace OpenSea as “a collection of 10,000 unique NFTs trapped inside a lawless land.” They are “fighting for survival, only the strongest ape will prevail,” it says."

"Do I own the Evolved Ape after purchasing? Yes, full intellectual properties are given to the buyer."

"The science team at EvolvedApe will be working on helping these brain dead Neanderthals develop basic functions. A serum will be airdropped to all holders of the project, allowing them to take their ape to the next phase of evolution. Will it work, that’s the question that’s been bothering everyone at the Ape labs…."

"Indeed, “Evolved Apes” had been one of the hyped NFT mints recently, with the 10,000-strong collection reportedly selling out in 10 minutes and the floor price rising steadily following the swift sale." "In addition to the cards, the developer, known to the community under the pseudonym Evil Ape, has promised to release a blockchain fighting game about the opposition of these creatures, “abandoned in lawless land”."

The Reality

The primary developer of the project was anonymous and used the nickname "Evil Ape"[15].

"Some investors have pointed out the misalignments with the project, stating that they were suspicious after investors noticed unprofessional announcements after the public sale on September 24."

What Happened

"Going by the moniker “Evil Ape,” the developer has allegedly lived up to the name by vanishing with 798 Ether (ETH) worth over $2.7 million from the project’s coffers." "Evolved Apes, a collection of 10,000 Ape NFTs anonymous developers known as Evil Ape disappeared with NFTs worth 798 ETH."

Key Event Timeline - Evolved Apes Rug Pull
Date Event Description
October 1st, 2021 4:21:02 PM MDT Disbelief Tweet Twitter user fashionkilla_op responds in disbelief at what happened to the Evolved Apes NFT project[16][17].
October 1st, 2021 11:43:00 PM MDT Criticism After Rug Pull Twitter user GucciBananasNFT criticizes another Twitter user BlockchainBoyy for their role in the scheme[18].
October 3rd, 2021 7:21:00 PM MDT SVS NFT Gen2 Presale Reservation Spots on the SVS NFT project are reserved and offered for victims of the Evolved Ape rug pull[19][20].
October 5th, 2021 1:40:00 PM MDT Criticism of Evolved Apes NFT Promoters Twitter user quotes from Vice[14] that “there were multiple red flags” in Evolved Apes early on, “but 99% of us were just blinded by the art" and includes pictures of Evolved Apes, implying that the art is not impressive[21].
October 6th, 2021 9:49:00 AM MDT CryptoNews Article CryptoNews reports that the anonymous developer behind the NFT project "Evolved Apes" has disappeared with $2.9 million in project funds, leaving investors in the dark. The developer, known as "Evil Ape," previously claimed that the NFT collection was part of an upcoming fighting game featuring the apes. However, the game has not materialized, and both the project's official Twitter account and website have vanished. Ethereum blockchain data reveals that the Evolved Apes wallet now has a balance of 0 after funds were siphoned into two new wallet addresses through transactions on September 24. The NFT collection is still listed on OpenSea, with prices starting at 0.005 ETH (about $18). Despite this incident, the overall NFT market has surpassed $10 billion in secondary sales, according to Messari[15].
December 16th, 2021 11:25:28 AM MST Bjørnar Kibsgaard Video Bjørnar Kibsgaard publishes a video on the Evolved Ape project, a rug pull. The images are still there, but they just don't have any value. Audience provide questions and answers on what a rug pull is, which has to do with the roadmap. A few community members are working on reviving the project. The Discord and different members are shared. Daz and Fight Back Apes are partnering together. A total of 20,000 new Fight Back NFTs will be created, with 10,000 to given to holders of the original Evolved Ape NFT. The remaining 10,000 will be offered for a public sale. There was concern about the rarity, which does not transfer to the new apes, so the new Fight Back Ape owners will get randomized rarity not related to their original rarity[22].
April 29th, 2022 10:35:00 AM MDT Inclusion In HanabiPlug List The rug pull is included in a summary list put together by Twitter user HanabiPlug[23].

Technical Details

The developer allowed minting of the promised NFTs, however disappeared without delivering a promised game to be developed. Others who helped including the artist who made the NFTs have no received any payment.

Total Amount Lost

The total amount lost has been estimated at $2,700,000 USD.

CryptoNews reports the amount as $2.9m[15].

Immediate Reactions

Reactions On Twitter

[17]

I can’t believe what just happened to #evolvedapes

"[T]he project’s storefront on OpenSea shows a tanked floor price of 0.005 ETH, significantly lower than the original minting cost. The decline in the floor price is no doubt linked to the current rug pull scandal rocking the project."


"Just a week after the Evolved Ape is launched, the anonymous developer behind the project has seemingly disappeared and gone dark on social." "The official website and Twitter handles of Evolved Apes were deleted." "Apart from allegedly siphoning all the project’s money, Evil Ape also took down the “Evolved Apes’” Twitter account and website."

"Investors who participated in the Evolved Apes social media competition had not yet received their NFT prizes and took to the community’s Discord chat to ask questions. One investor, Mike_Cryptobull, spent over $10,000 USD on now a worthless digital drawing. In a report he wrote to others affected by the cut-and-run incident, he said, “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 artist behind the actual drawings was in fact not paid, despite hundreds of sales of over $50,000 USD were made. Each of the Apes also netted 4% in royalties. OpenSea has yet to respond and there is no word on the Evolved Apes creator." "Investors appointed Mike_Cryptobull as the head of this “mission” to understand what was going on."

"The result of his work was a PDF file in which he presented all the facts collected about the project, informing the rest of the sad news that Evil Ape, who is the head of the Evolved Apes, is most likely a scammer and controls the wallet with all the money collected as part of the project."

"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."

Ultimate Outcome

Some members of the community formed a separate group to continue project development under the name "Fight Back Apes".

Criticism of NFT Promoters

[21]

Fight Back Apes Project

"But investors decided not to despair and continue to develop the idea of ​​Evolved Apes, calling it Fight Back Apes. Thus, the people who were promised to create a fighting game nevertheless became participants in the fight, but not with virtual monkeys, but with a very real scammer under the nickname Evil Ape."

"Some members of the NFT project are attempting to continue the development of the game, while efforts are underway to apprehend the alleged culprit." "Some members of the community have come together to continue the development of the project under the umbrella of “Fight Back Apes.”"

"The entities behind the new faction say they wish to create a more community-centric operating model for the project, including a multisig wallet, to prevent the repeat of another Evil Ape debacle." "With Evil Ape still receiving the 4% royalties on secondary sales, the current plan is to create a new project that will airdrop new NFTs to current holders."

Bjørnar Kibsgaard publishes a video on the Evolved Ape project, a rug pull. The images are still there, but they just don't have any value. Audience provide questions and answers on what a rug pull is, which has to do with the roadmap. A few community members are working on reviving the project. The Discord and different members are shared. Daz and Fight Back Apes are partnering together. A total of 20,000 new Fight Back NFTs will be created, with 10,000 to given to holders of the original Evolved Ape NFT. The remaining 10,000 will be offered for a public sale. There was concern about the rarity, which does not transfer to the new apes, so the new Fight Back Ape owners will get randomized rarity not related to their original rarity[22].

Total Amount Recovered

There do not appear to have been any funds recovered in this case.

Ongoing Developments

"Some members of the NFT project are attempting to continue the development of the game, while efforts are underway to apprehend the alleged culprit."

Individual Prevention Policies

Individuals are generally advised to choose projects with reputable teams, clear fund management, and realistic goals.

Avoid the use of smart contracts unless necessary. Minimize the level of exposure by removing or withdrawing assets whenever possible. Aim to choose smart contracts which have obtained third party security audits, preferably having been audited by at least three separate reputable firms. Pay attention to the audit reports, which smart contracts are covered, and whether the smart contract has been upgraded or modified since the report. Ensure that any administrative functions with the ability to remove funds from the smart contract are under the authority of a multi-signature wallet which is controlled by at least three separate and reputable entities.

Store the majority of funds offline. By offline, it means that the private key and/or seed phrase is exclusively held by you and not connected to any networked device. Examples of offline storage include paper wallets (seed phrase or key written down and deleted from all electronic media), hardware wallets, steel wallet devices, etc...

For the full list of how to protect your funds as an individual, check our Prevention Policies for Individuals guide.

Platform Prevention Policies

The funds were stored in the hands of an anonymous developer who disappeared with them. Funds should be held in a multi-sig wallet by known and trusted entities who can be held to account.

All wallets, minting functions, and critical infrastructure should be implemented with a multi-signature requirement, with a recommended minimum of 3 signatures required. This means that making important changes or approving spending will require the keys held by at least 3 separate individuals within the organization to approve. The multi-signature should be implemented at the lowest layer possible, all key holders should have security training, and all key holders should be empowered and encouraged to exercise diligence.

Work with other industry platforms to set up a multi-signature wallet with private keys held separately by delegate signatories from seven prominent platforms and services within the industry. Establish requirements for contributions by all platforms and services, designed to be affordable for small platforms yet large enough to cover anticipated breach events. Any breach event can be brought forth by a member platform or a petition of 100 signatures for consideration by the delegate signatories. A vote of 4 or more delegate signatures is required to release any funds, which could partially or fully restore lost funds based on their assessment.

For the full list of how to protect your funds as a financial service, check our Prevention Policies for Platforms guide.

Regulatory Prevention Policies

Better education combined with widespread assessment of platforms and projects can significantly reduce the success of fraud. Users should come to expect a level of diligence in all projects they use.

Create a standard tutorial and quiz for all new cryptocurrency participants, which is required to be completed once per participant. This tutorial and quiz should cover the basics of proper seed phrase protection, strong password generation, secure two-factor authentication, common fraud schemes, how to detect and guard against phishing attacks, how ponzi schemes work, as well as other risks which are unique to the cryptocurrency space.

All platforms should undergo published security and risk assessments by independent third parties. Two assessments are required at founding or major upgrade, one after 3 months, and one every 6 months thereafter. The third parties must not repeat within the past 14 months. A risk assessment needs to include what assets back customer deposits and the risk of default from any third parties being lent to. The security assessment must include ensuring a proper multi-signature wallet, and that all signatories are properly trained. Assessments must be performed on social media, databases, and DNS security.

Set up a multi-signature wallet with private keys held separately by delegate signatories from seven prominent platforms and services within the industry. Establish requirements for contributions by all platforms and services within the country, designed to be affordable for small platforms yet large enough to cover anticipated breach events. Any breach event can be brought forth by a member platform or a petition of 100 signatures for consideration by the delegate signatories. A vote of 4 or more delegate signatures is required to release any funds, which could partially or fully restore lost funds based on their assessment.

For the full list of regulatory policies that can prevent loss, check our Prevention Policies for Regulators guide.

References

  1. https://blog.insurace.io/security-incidents-in-october-cfed829449d0 (Dec 16, 2021)
  2. Evolved Ape (Dec 29, 2021)
  3. ‘Evolved Apes’ NFT creator allegedly absconds with $2.7 million (Dec 29, 2021)
  4. @FightbackApes Twitter (Dec 29, 2021)
  5. https://opensea.io/collection/evolved-apes-inc (Dec 29, 2021)
  6. "Evolved Apes" NFT Investors Scammed for Millions | HYPEBEAST (Dec 29, 2021)
  7. @The_DailyNFT Twitter (Dec 29, 2021)
  8. The creator of the NFT Evolved Apes collection stole over $2.7 million from investors - CoinShark (Dec 29, 2021)
  9. 7 new techniques for NFT theft. This is how they stole millions of Evolved Apes NFT (Dec 29, 2021)
  10. Explained: The Evolved Apes Rug Pull (September 2021) - halborn (Dec 29, 2021)
  11. 'Evolved Apes' NFT Developer Disappears Along with $2.7 Million in Ether of Funds | Tech Times (Dec 29, 2021)
  12. NFT Gaming Project EVOLVED APES Earn ETH Rewards, Win Ethereum in this Versus Fighting Game! - YouTube (Dec 29, 2021)
  13. https://mobile.twitter.com/FightbackApes/status/1461514823347458048 (Dec 29, 2021)
  14. 14.0 14.1 Investors Spent Millions on ‘Evolved Apes’ NFTs. Then They Got Scammed. - Vice (Nov 27, 2023)
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 NFT Project ‘Evolved Apes' Developer Disappears with USD 2.9M - CryptoNews (Dec 1, 2022)
  16. fashionkilla_op - "I can’t believe what just happened to #evolvedapes" - Twitter (Dec 29, 2021)
  17. 17.0 17.1 fashionkilla_op - "I can’t believe what just happened to #evolvedapes" - Twitter Archive October 1st, 2021 4:22:02 PM MDT (Nov 27, 2023)
  18. GucciBananasNFT - "@BlockchainBoyy happened 2 days after I said it was a rug. Shame on you and the company you keep. I would tag Evolved Apes but their Twitter has been deleted ofc." - Twitter (Dec 29, 2021)
  19. boosts - "Whoever has been affected by the @EvolvedApes project rug pull, we're planning to reserve some Gen2 presale spots for some of you, amount undecided until closer to release, but we welcome you to our @SVSNFT community." - Twitter (Nov 27, 2023)
  20. zyphaa - "I was affected by the @BallerApeClub rug pull, is there any chance I could get a presale spot? I lost 6 SOL, would love an opportunity to join a real team" - Twitter (Jan 14, 2023)
  21. 21.0 21.1 mattthr - "NFT scam marks:  “there were multiple red flags” in Evolved Apes early on, “but 99% of us were just blinded by the art"" - Twitter (Dec 29, 2021)
  22. 22.0 22.1 Bjørnar Kibsgaard - Evolved Apes (NFT Rugpull) Comes Back with Fight Back Apes! - YouTube (Dec 29, 2021)
  23. HanabiPlug - "This project was looking juicy and gave people in their private. Not Getting the WL felt lik you caught ur crush cheating on u with ur GF's husband. The developers dropped 10,000 fat ape jpeg and left everyone including the artists with hopium." - Twitter (Jan 13, 2023)