1. Evolved Apes: $2.7 million
In late September, the Evolved Apes project launched and was described as “a collection of 10,000 unique NFTs trapped inside a lawless land. Fighting for survival, only the strongest ape will prevail.” The creators promised buyers a video game where NFT owners could pit their apes against one another in battles for ETH rewards. But, shortly after launch, the developers went quiet and took off with nearly $3 million. To add insult to injury it was later discovered that the project artist hadn’t been paid, and winners of a social media contest did not receive their NFT prizes.
2. Ethling: $2.6 million
This might be the most controversial NFT project on this list, but, recently, the developers announced the project would go into stasis. This comes after the devs felt there was no reason to continue to pump resources into a project that lacked a big community. For this reason, it seems best to describe this as a soft rug, but it does bring up the question of how long a project needs to be alive and supported by its initial developers as promised to a community for it not to be considered a rug.
3. Baller Ape Club: $2.5 million
The Baller Ape Club project went live with 5,000 unique apes available for mint for 2 SOL in early October. It was hyped up to be the Solano’s version of Bored Apes, where buyers could gather around a VIP lounge. It quickly sold out, but, shortly after, the Baller Ape club admins deleted the project’s Discord, websites, and Twitter accounts.
4. Famed Lady Squad: $1.5 million
The Famed Lady Squad is a profile picture NFT project that claimed to have been developed by an all-female staff. After its launch, the project quickly caught fire, gaining notoriety from big names like Gary Vee, who even mentioned the project in a New York Times article. But after some investigating by Fedor Linnik and Haley, it was discovered that the project was created by a group of Russian men. After some time, the developers finally came clean and admitted they were not females and decided to turn over the Fame Lady Squad contract to the Project Phoenix team, an NFT group led by women created to keep the Fame Lady Squad project alive.
5. CryptoRugs: $1 million
CryptoRugs is a collection of 5,555 unique NFTs, each commemorating a memorable hack or rug pull in crypto history. Shortly after selling out, the project’s developers went quiet and took off with the 275 ETH they got from sales. The community decided to come together and launch their own version of CryptoRugs to keep the project alive. As a result, the plan for MetaRugs was created, a place where CryptoRugs owners can trade in their rug for the community-driven project.
6. Pet Supply $1 million
A collection of Banksy impersonated NFT pieces went up for sale back in late February. The pieces were bought up by people who thought they had just discovered a secret Banksy work. But shortly after it caught fire, Banksy authenticator, Pest Control, determined that the project was fraudulent. This resulted in OpenSea banning the account.
7. Fake Bansky: $336,000
Another fake Bansky sale happened when the official Banksy website got exploited, with a pop-up announcing an NFT auction on OpenSea. The auction ended when Pranksy put in a 100 ETH bid. Shortly after the auction ended, the link to the auction was removed from Banksy’s website, and people came to realize that this piece was fake. Ultimately the ETH was returned to Pranksy, and the hacker said he pulled this stunt to prove a point.
8. Solana Towers $282,150
This project was supposed to bridge the gap between the metaverse and the NFT world. The project promised investors a virtual condo that they could buy rooms in via NFTs. After launch, like all rugs, the creators took down the website and Discord and deleted the project’s Twitter.
9. IconicsSOL: $138,000
A 17-year old was able to pull off a $138,000 rug pull when he got buyers to purchase 8,000 NFTs focused on “quality art.” The art promised was supposed to be 3D renders of figurines, but when buyers were delivered their pieces, they got emojis instead. Once the NFTs were delivered, the Discord was shut down, and the Twitter account was deleted.
10. Most NFT projects by influencers
Let’s be honest, it is not that controversial to say that most NFT projects by influencers are just quick cash grabs. This could be seen in the earlier days of NFTs when Soulja Boy released his “Soulja Collector’s Cards.” Nowadays, people like Logan Paul use Adobe stock photos of animals, put noses on them, and call it “art.”