Tragedy or rug pull? Inside the collapse of a ‘charitable’ NFT project

Launched in November 2021, nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace Orica held itself up as an “ethical platform” benefitting artists, collectors and charities alike. At the time, the organization was involved in prominent projects — from building a school in Uganda to aiding victims of human trafficking to helping Ukraine. 

But less than two years later, the project’s founders have disappeared, and the marketplace’s user interface has gone offline. All that remains are the project’s charity efforts, which proved to be genuine, in tandem with allegations from disgruntled users that the developers orchestrated a rug pull. In a new revelation, co-founder Danial Zey breaks his yearlong silence, not only denying all allegations and insisting the project was “hacked” but also claiming that the project is still ongoing. Cointelegraph investigates. 

An ICO amid the bear market

According to initial coin offering (ICO) information site CryptoTotem, Orica ran a fundraiser from Aug. 14 to Sept. 14, 2021. It aimed to raise $3.1 million from the sale of its Orica (ORI) token. In its ICO, Orica promised to earmark 50% of the total supply of ORI for “NFT marketplace rewards.” Another 10% was supposed to be supplied to “advisors and partners,” 15% given to the team and 25% sold to investors. At launch, Aug. 21, 2021, the price of ORI rose to a peak of $3.638 per coin, then fell to $0.036 by Oct. 1, 2022, based on data from Live Coin Watch. 

The token no longer has tangible value at the time of publication, and its communication channels appear to have gone cold. A former user, who wished to remain anonymous, told Cointelegraph that the “[NFT] marketplace kind of dried out with not enough people using it and then very quickly everything went kind of offline including their website.”

ORI price chart. Source: Live Coin Watch

The philanthropy that survived 

In late 2021, the firm partnered with Austrian charity project Bbanga to help build a school for children in the Ssese Islands in Uganda. Bbanga…


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