NeoNexus founder pulls the plug on popular Metaverse NFT project

The founder of NeoNexus, a Solana-based NFT project, has stated the team is no longer developing the project, blaming the drop in Solana (SOL) prices for the decision.

The project’s founder, Jack Shi, took to the official Twitter account for NeoNexus, tweeting at 2 pm UTC on March 21 that it was no longer continuing the “healthy development” of the project, adding they would like to hand it over for the community to develop.

Estimates suggest that the project raised around 25,000 SOL for its NFT mints, which at today’s prices would be worth $2.2 million. With SOL prices climbing to over $150 around the time of the token mints, the project may have made an estimated $3.5 to $4.5 million.

NeoNexus is a Metaverse project, featuring both a planned utility and governance coin, it had sold over 4,000 “property NFTs”, with the project planning to offer a further 6,000 property NFTs, and character, vehicle, and accessory tokens planned for the future. The project currently has over 13,000 members in its Discord channel.

In a post on the project’s Discord, Shi wrote that the market conditions were to blame for the team halting development, with the project’s funds used to pay wages, tech infrastructure, business fees, and taxes.

“It has been incredibly difficult trying to grow and continue our project in this ecosystem and market conditions where the price of SOL has dropped so much and the activity, volume, and interest in the entirety of the Solana NFT space has decreased.”

Market conditions over the past few months have been choppy, with the price of SOL falling over 50% in 3 months according to data from CoinGecko. It hit a 90 day high of just over $200 in late December and since has steadily fallen to trade around the $80 mark.

Shi added that over 20 staff members of the parent company, Unlock Defi, had been laid off as of the end of March, and asked if a community takeover was possible.

Many commenters have accused the project of committing a “slow-rug”, building up the project only to exit, and take the funds months later.

Related: DeFi ‘Godfather’ Cronje quits as TVL and tokens tank for related projects

Pseudonymous crypto scam researcher and writer, “zachxbt”, shared screenshots of tweets Shi made in November, showing the founder sitting in a supercar and boasting of riding in a Lamborghini. Zachxbt used these images to question how the project could raise millions only to run out of funds in a few months.

Various NFT projects advertised their own offerings when responding to the NeoNexus tweet in an attempt to relieve the losses some investors may have shouldered due to the announcement. Many offered whitelists for upcoming mints to those who responded with “NEONEXUS” on their respective Discord channels.

At the time of writing, the websites for both the NeoNexus project and Unlock Defi were offline. Cointelegraph reached out to Shi and former employees for comment but did not immediately hear back.

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