On February 21st, Friendsies, a non-fungible token (NFT) collection that recently raised approximately $5 million, announced in an unexpected way that it would be taking a “pause” on its roadmap, sparking rumors in the community of a possible rug pull.
According to the Friendsies team, “the volatility and challenges of the market” complicated the project’s progress, so they decided to set it aside while the space continued to mature. They added that the team would be “waiting and watching for the right time and opportunities” to reappear and fulfill their complete vision, thanking everyone who believed in and supported the project from the beginning.
˙ᵕ˙ – Hi friends! We wanted to reach out directly to the community with an important update. As the project founders, we have decided that it would be best to put a pause on @fRiENDSiES_Ai and all future digital goods for the time being. We had the best intentions to make a
— fRiENDSiES (@fRiENDSiES_Ai) February 21, 2023
However, the decision made by the developers was not well received by the community, as many indicated that they were facing the possibility of a rug pull from one of the most promising NFT projects in the ecosystem. This might have been catalyzed by the fact that the project’s accounts disappeared – at least temporarily.
Friendsies, an NFT with a 3 ETH mint that was pumped by influencers like Farokh about a year ago, has officially rugged.
3700+ETH volume traded.
Had the backing of all your favorite influencers.
And they RUGGED. HARD. pic.twitter.com/hbcxjyQpj9
— HashBastards NFTs 🤑 (@HashBastardsNFT) February 21, 2023
Community Responds to the Possibility of a Rug Pull
Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III launched The Friendsies collection in April 2022 through a Dutch auction that started at 3.33 ETH ($5,510). Ultimately, the project was able to accumulate a total of $5.3 million from the minting of 10,000 NFTs, according to Twitter user ZachXBT, who indicated that it is unknown “how the funds could’ve possibly been spent.”
With the $5.3m @friendsies_ai hard rug earlier today it remains unclear how the funds could’ve possibly been spent.
There have been no announcements since September, no community treasury, and no P2E game.
The team blames “market volatility” as their rationale. pic.twitter.com/FM8ytum4Ur
— ZachXBT (@zachxbt) February 21, 2023
According to ZachXBT, the developers indicated in their roadmap that “1.25% of all royalties (~47 ETH) were supposed to be distributed back to holders,” but this never happened, and they made sure to leave no traces of it by deleting the roadmap from Discord.
For their part, NFT investor Tmagled argued that a year after being attacked for speaking poorly of the project, the rug pull he so strongly advised against was finally materializing.
i just wanted to catch the fake rug pump that i knew it was. meanwhile he hides behind the photo of a “monkey” too lmao
hes actually a completely braindead mule pic.twitter.com/L5QXy1yobu
— tmagled 🐅🦍 (@tmagled) February 21, 2023
Former NFT Exec of Mastercard Comes to the Rescue
Satvik Sethi, CEO of Joincircle, a social app focused on Web3 and former NFT product chief for Mastercard, spoke out on Twitter to make a public offer to Friendsies, proposing to take over the project to move it forward with a new team.
Making a public offer to take over Friendsies. I’ll install a new team and take the project forward with a different vision 🌩
The IP has so much potential and the holders deserve better. We just cannot keep letting stuff like this slide because it really is hurting the space.
— Satvik Sethi (@sxtvik) February 21, 2023
Sethi has yet to receive a response from the Friendsies developers, but many members of the NFT community have offered their support to continue the project.
It is worth mentioning that a rug pull (or the rumors of it) can be highly detrimental to investors. If such an event happens, they may lose their money extremely quickly, and it is hard to set legal responsibilities on a decentralized project. On the other hand, if rumors spread out and gain enough strength, the lack of trust might play against any possible plans that a team has to move forward. Both scenarios have happened before.
The Friendsies team later posted a tweet assuring its fanbase that they had no intentions to rug-pull investors, probably as a response to the massive influx of hate they were receiving:
We were overwhelmed with hate and threats & both our Twitter and website were attacked. Please understand our intentions and actions here are good. We are sorry if we let you down today with our communication, but we are not going anywhere. fRiENDSiES were designed as artworks
— fRiENDSiES (@fRiENDSiES_Ai) February 21, 2023
There is a lot of uncertainty in the community at this moment. Will Friendsies become the first NFT rug pull of 2023, will it move on after the “misunderstanding,” or will they accept Sethi’s offer to save the project? Right now, the only ones with the answer are the developers, and they have remained silent.