NBA player De’Aaron Fox is under fire for suddenly halting his ongoing NFT project: SwipaTheFox. The situation is a total disaster, with fans accusing the Sacramento Kings star of rug pulling after raising $1.6 Million. The 24-year-old explained that he is pulling the plug because he must fulfill his obligations to the team and their loyal fan base.
Before we cover how things went downhill, let’s have a quick recap. De’Aaron Fox started promoting his NFT venture SwipaTheFox last December 2021. Basically, the NFTs would serve as membership pass into a club. In the roadmap he laid out early this year, he promised scholarships, metaverse interactions and giveaways.
What really propelled the project was the community aspect. Fox created a Discord for the project, which provided an online chat room where users could interact with him personally. He was very active at the start and answered questions on a daily basis. By February 23, 3,000 people had signed up for Fox’s project, paying $400 for each NFT. It had raised an estimated 475 ETH, worth roughly $1.2 million.
Things took an ugly turn when Fox issued a statement on Discord, explaining that he had stretched himself too thin and would be unable to continue working on the project.
De’Aaron Fox’s NFT Drop: Rug Pull or Valid Reason?
After Fox’s statement, the team behind the project removed all chat records in the Discord channel. Similarly, they deleted all social media accounts and Fox turned off commenting abilities on his various social media platforms. To top it all off, an Ethereum wallet containing $1.6 million in funds for the project was mostly drained. The funds were redirected to various exchanges making it more difficult to trace.
In his latest tweet, Fox maintained that the main issue is the timing of the project. He wrote, “delegated certain aspects to the launch of the NFT in an attempt to partner with professionals. We weren’t happy with the execution and demand on my time and attention during the NBA season.”
De’Aaron Fox is leaving things open-ended and giving fans hope that this is not his last foray in the NFT scene. He said, “I look forward to doing this again the right way and adding value to my NFT holders. I’m excited to learn from the entire NFT community as well. The project will be updated at the conclusion of the NBA season.”
Meanwhile, the Sacramento Kings center is trying to appease the community with various consolation benefits. He said that he is giving all Swipa members in the Discord an All-Rookie and/or Green Team role a signed jersey as a small token of appreciation. In addition, he plans to buy back all of the Green Team and Super Fan members’ story pieces. As for the giveaways, Fox said that the team would honor them.
Understandably, the community is not happy with the situation despite the efforts of Fox and his team to make it up to them. One user slammed the NBA star for having the audacity to keep the funds and giving a vague promise that he’ll circle back to the NFT project after the season.
The real clincher here is that most of the NFT holders are fans of Fox and are new to NFTs. So they had no idea what to watch out for and they clung to the promises of their idol. Aside from the roadmap, the NBA star also made grand promises like sweeping the floor to drive up the value.
On the other hand, there are still other fans who think that Fox started the project in good faith. Then, he underestimated the amount of work required to keep the project running due to a lack of experience. He was definitely not working alone and it seems like there was an issue in terms of work distribution. So, he chose to take the easy route and walk away from the project.
Celebrity NFT Drops
The NFT community is disappointed with how things turned out. NFT influencer Beanie slammed the project and similar drops. He tweeted, “I’ve said it a million times and will say it again, avoid celebrity NFT drops.”
Meanwhile, the community is still baffled why Fox would do such a thing. As one user pointed out, his personal involvement and overall wealth made the community trust the project. His NBA contract is set to pay him $163 million over the next five years, so the amount in question is just peanuts. In addition, most felt that this project was a safe bet because Fox is a public figure.
Another celebrity embroiled in the same controversy is Lana Rhoades. The former adult film actress and influencer launched her own NFT enterprise a few months back. The concept raised $1.5 million in funding. She disappeared into thin air after quitting the NFT project and deleting her social media channels. Furthermore, most of the funds had been transferred out, leaving the NFT holders disappointed and baffled.
This issue is a reminder that due diligence instead of the hype should be the top consideration. NFT holders are appalled that despite the level of involvement of Fox and even his wife, the project still turned out this way. As one user pointed out, they spent hours making all kinds of promises personally.
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