Superlative Apes team does a "slow rug pull" after drawing in $2.9 million

A colorful pastel Bored Ape illustration with half-lidded eyes, wearing a bowler hat and t-shirtSuperlative Ape #2127 (attribution)
The Superlative Apes NFTs are a collection of Bored Apes derivative NFTs that feature colorful pastels. The project amassed a large following (including, apparently, the rapper Eminem), and its first collection of 4,444 NFTs sold out after launching in December 2021, netting the creators 301 ETH (about $1.2 million at the time). They also sold most of their 8,888-piece Superlative Mutated Apes collection that launched in February, pulling in another 658 ETH (~$1.7 million at the time). The project featured a roadmap promising all kinds of things: a metaverse gallery, "access to our worldwide global tour", future minting passes, a cut of the project fees, and a project to fight global hunger.

The project has been plagued with issues including missed deadlines, accusations of plagiarism (somehow), and connections to another rug-pulled project. Additionally, a flawed staking contract required the team to have holders migrate their NFTs to a new contract—a slow and painful process that has resulted in most of the NFTs being "stuck" in a temporary contract. People who have questioned the project or accused them of rug pulling have been banned from the Discord and blocked on Twitter.

Despite the team's repeat (though very infrequent) claims that the project is still going and is not a rug pull, this appears to be a classic "slow rug"—that is, when a project team engages just enough to keep the community from accusing them of wrongdoing, while still effectively abandoning the project. On May 7, a former community moderator for the project stepped down, publicly stating that "the team has all but given up on the project, they come back every 4 weeks to put forth just enough 'minimal' (understatement) effort to not get sued", and accusing the project team of not paying them as agreed.