As we enter the Web3 era, we’re experiencing a series of paradigm shifts related to digital ownership, communication, and relationships worldwide. In this tech-fueled future, progress rockets forward in a dimension all its own. The rapid adoption and expansion of NFT collections are chief among these advancements, highlighting a broad spectrum of human achievement and, on occasion, unceremonious betrayal. Today, we learn the origin story of a group well-versed in both the highs and lows of NFT communities — former Evolved Apes victims who have since spun tragedy into a resurgence of hope. They are the Fight Back Apes (FBA). We’re joined by FBA founders and community leaders Mike (MikeCryptobull), Jen (Kalinfinity), Jamie (CryptoJamie), and Josh (JoshBull) to uncover the truth behind the Evolved Apes rug pull.

“Before the rug happened, the [Evolved Apes] community was highly engaged,” said Jamie. “We had a buzz in the group about how quickly the collection sold out and the rapidly increasing floor.”

“It was a super hyped community,” added Josh. “The most active discord I had ever been a part of before mint. So everybody in there was super excited because we all thought we were early to a great project.”

Trailers for a Street Fighter-inspired game featuring the Evolved Apes NFTs had been shared, engagement was at an all-time high, and the community was more eager than ever.

“The mint was very hype and afterward, the reveal was as well,” said Jen. “There had just been an activity contest for a week where the most active member of the community would get a 1/1 NFT and other prizes. The chat was crazy over it.”

But after all Evolved Apes had been minted, the hype train slowed as it approached a series of red flags. The collection leaders would disappear for days at a time, leaving holders high and dry as the community experienced a slow decay.

“So looking back with the benefit of hindsight there were a few things appearing,” said Mike. “The collection had sold out 10,000 pieces, and secondary sales were moving well, but there were competition winners that weren’t receiving their prizes, announcements and updates were slowing down, and the founders of the project had stopped appearing in the chat.”

“The community was getting stressed and over 100 members were on a voice chat one night talking about the project, and the issues happening,” added Jen. “Mike and I were speaking in the voice chat regularly, talking about our experiences IRL and business, and making suggestions. It was a great chat and a lot of members were very passionate. Eventually, some members asked me and Mike to go speak to the EA team and try to offer our help/suggestions and get to the bottom of the issues.”

“This all came to a head during a scheduled AMA,” said Josh. “Hosted by a single mod that couldn’t answer some of the basic questions and clearly was not in the loop. It was during this call that Mike and Kalifinity [Jen] became the de facto voice of the community by really pressing the mod for answers and refusing to be fobbed off. The rest of the community was clearly in agreement with our sentiment but there is always the underlying feeling that you don’t want to ‘FUD’ your own project.”

Certain something wasn’t right, the four holders banded together in search of answers.

“At first I refused to believe that it was a rug,” Josh continued. “I was sure there would be a legitimate explanation. But as we searched the blockchain and realized that all the minting money was being sent straight to an exchange, we knew something wasn’t right — and the more we found out the worse it got. When the evidence was too much to ignore, the realization was horrible. We felt sick because we knew we were the ones who had to break this news to the rest of the community.”

The hard truth shared with the community was that the Evolved Apes project had been rug pulled. Their investments, alongside their hopes for the project, were being siphoned into a wallet controlled by one founding member: the fittingly named Evil Ape. Only a week had passed since the initial drop, and the Evolved Apes collection was dead in its tracks. “I was obviously shocked, devastated, and actually hurt,” said Mike. “I had conversations with Kali, Josh, and Jamie and we decided we wanted to do something to bring value back to the people who invested.”

“The community strength was the main motivation,” added Jamie. “I also created a TikTok page and thought I should rally the community back together. I think our four skill sets really work well together.”

The four holders found themselves in leadership positions, set with the difficult task of reviving the once-vibrant Evolved Apes. With valuable input from the community, they set out to relaunch the project under a new name.

“We put it to the community and let them decide [the name],” said Josh. “Although we had been appointed as leaders, we didn’t want to make any decisions like that without involving the community that had appointed us.”

“From day one post-rug, we set a goal of being the biggest fightback ever,” added Jamie. “So Fight Back Apes made sense.”

During the first month, the newly created FBA server was tense. The community felt confused and betrayed by Evil Ape and the Evolved Apes founders. After a period of venting, anger, and regret, the community found a more supportive voice.

“We had a really close-knit community because we stuck together after the rug pull,” said Jen. “This wasn't the first rug pull or the last, they are all traumatizing in my opinion, but the difference is, in most cases, people also lose their community and are left on their own. We were there for each other and over 100 people answered the call to volunteer for various aspects of the project early on when we were trying to make something out of nothing.”

The story of the Evolved Apes rug pull went public, drawing the attention of the wider NFT community, including Ty Duperron, NFT Project Lead and CPO at Daz 3D.

“We did an interview with Vice Magazine,” said Jen. “Which ultimately turned into a lot of press coverage that talked about Fight Back Apes as well as the Evolved Apes rug pull. The news spread quickly onto hundreds of websites. Ty heard about it via Twitter and a member encouraged him to join the FBA Discord server. I started speaking to him in a DM and had no idea that it could lead to anything like the partnership we have now. It's not very often that big companies do something amazing like this for others.”

“It became clear very quickly, the best thing for the project was to partner with such a fantastic organization and group of people,” added Jamie.

The goals of the new Fight Back Apes collection involved relaunching with new artwork, community-driven decision-making, and a multi-signature wallet to prevent a rug-pull repeat.

“My favorite moment was the OG drop, it had Evil Ape’s head ripped off,” Jamie said, laughing. “It felt like a big ‘screw you,’ we are fighting back!”

“This was the first moment that things started to feel real,” added Josh. “People were actually getting something unique given to them as part of the project, which was art done by one of our very own community members.”

Having partnered with Daz 3D, the four Fight Back Apes founders were able to breathe new life into the project. Rising from the unforeseen rug pull and subsequent collapse of the Evolved Apes project, they did not falter — they fought back.

“I cannot wait to see what the community thinks of the lore and the world that we have created,” said Josh.

“We have come such a long way and I think the community is absolutely going to love it.”

“Our first AMA with Daz was a surreal moment and transferring the FBA [Discord] server into the Daz server recently made it all even more real,” said Jen. “I love seeing how excited everyone is about it all! This project is going to be so much more than Evolved Apes ever would have been. The best is yet to come and we want to be known as the biggest comeback in NFTs ever.”

“My hopes [for the project] are value, whether that be financial or just a space where the community gets what they initially deserved,” Jamie added.

“I want to add my thanks to everyone who has already supported us and continues to do so,” said Mike. “If you have a community group that would like to do an AMA, a Twitter space, a podcast, or anything where you would like a member of the team to come on, we would be more than happy to tell our story. I'm passionate about NFTs and the role they will play in our world's future digital age. The sooner we can all fight back against rug pulls and scams, the better it will be for us all. So come and support us, everyone loves a good story and ours might just be the best yet.”

The Fight Back Apes invite you to join the battle against scams and rug pulls, and support the new collection dropping in 2022. Get ready to Ape In!


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