The NFT project's developers said they weren't halting work on the 'AR/AI digital companions' or the promised play-to-earn game, just communications — which went over very badly.
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After an outpouring of anger amid accusations of a rug pull, the developers of the Friendsies NFT collection returned to Twitter to try and calm the storm.
"We were overwhelmed with hate and threats & both our Twitter and website were attacked," the developers said. "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."
The project's goal was to build a "Tamagotchi-like game that is play-to-earn," adding that they wanted to build "a digital landscape for your Friendsies to play, socialize, share and grow."
Saying the 10,000 custom-built Friendsies NFTs would allow users to create augmented reality and artificial intelligence digital companions, the developers promised a "community treasury, roadmap and royalties program."
The problems began in the early morning hours of Feb. 21, when the project's official Twitter account announced "we have decided that it would be best to put a pause on @fRiENDSiES_Ai and all future digital goods for the time being… For now, we have decided that it's best to allow the space to further mature." They added:
"We will be waiting and watching for the right time and opportunities to see the full vision become reality. We believe in digital goods and digital art and want to see it all continue to grow."
The project's Twitter account was then deleted and the two founders' accounts made private.
Rug Pull or Pause?
That led to immediate accusations that they had made off with the $5.3 million raised in an auction last March.
Pseudonymous Twitter crypto sleuth and "rug pull survivor" ZachXBT said:
"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."
He added that the developer said "market volatility" was to blame.
By that evening, the Friendsies Twitter account was back up, saying:
"To be very clear, we are not abandoning fRiENDSiES."
The intention, the Twitter thread said, was to be transparent about pausing "social engagement" not work on the project itself.
They added that the problem they had run into was that the third-party developers actually building the project had "shied away from Web3."