Creator of rabbit AI assistant has hidden NFT past

Founders of rabbit r1, a supposed competitor to the smartphone, are also behind the launch of a failed NFT project that they’re reportedly hiding from the web. 

The $200 rabbit r1 was created by CEO Jesse Lyu and billed as the ‘future of human-machine interface.’ However, its sleek design and funky scrolling weren’t enough to woo techies and the device was roundly criticized on release. 

Now rabbit r1’s negative reception has brought attention to Lyu’s prior work on a failed NFT project called Gama. Lyu was CEO of Gama’s parent company, Cyber Manufacture Co., before it rebranded to rabbit Inc. in October 2023. 

Promotional material shared on Gama’s YouTube channel.

Gama claimed to be a ‘premium’ space-themed 3D platformer that incorporated NFTs and was pitched in 2022 as the metaverse of the future. However, barely two years later, the domain no longer works and the site can only be viewed via the Wayback Machine internet archive.

One post on X from AI advocate Andy Parackal claims that the Gama team has been deleting every YouTube video involving rabbit’s CEO. Fortunately, Parackal says he recorded one of Lyu’s interviews before it was wiped. 

He said, “We got the entire video; these guys are total grifters. I’ve been saying from day one that these guys are sketchy… They are trying to delete everything involved with Gama NFTs.” 

The reported Gama interview featuring Jesse Lyu.

Indeed the Gama YouTube channel does contain videos relating to the Gama project, but nothing including Lyu. 

Aaron Li, who claims to have built the technical systems behind Gama, told Parackal he wasn’t told to delete anything and that Parackal “may be overreacting.”

Li told Protos that Lyu’s team look to have developed an AI engine for Gama before using it for rabbit and that, “Naturally, GAMA was put on hold when the priority shifted.”

He added, “I believe removing videos promoting GAMA is the right thing to do… It sends a message on what the team wants to do and reduces the risk of scams in the name of Rabbit or GAMA.”

Li also said that he believes there was no deliberate attempt to hide, deceive, or scam, and that throughout his interactions with Jesse and his team, they appeared to be acting in good faith.

Rabbit Inc. CEO’s NFT history adds to growing complaints 

The rabbit r1 relies on AI to perform various tasks its creators hoped would eliminate the need to scroll back and forth between multiple apps. But it’s been met with growing criticism.

Tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee said in a review that the rabbit r1’s AI “hallucinates” and “confidently answers questions wrong.” He calls its battery life “brutally bad,” describes its scroll function as “super slow,” and complains about its restrictive touch screen. 

Read more: What it was like to have Quontic Bank’s metaverse pool party all to myself

The Verge also reported that rabbit r1’s operating system isn’t as unique from apps as rabbit Inc. makes out. Indeed, someone is reportedly running rabbit’s launcher as an Android app on a Google Pixel 6A

In response, rabbit told The Verge, “rabbit r1 is not an Android app… rabbit OS and LAM run on the cloud with very bespoke AOSP and lower level firmware modifications, therefore a local bootleg APK without the proper OS and Cloud endpoints won’t be able to access our service. rabbit OS is customized for r1 and we do not support third-party clients.”

A full response can be found on its X account. 

Protos has emailed rabbit Inc. for more information about Jesse Lyu’s NFT project and the reported deletion of videos and will update this piece if we hear back. 

Update May 3, 10:02 UTC: Added a response from Aaron Li discussing rabbit’s journey from the  Gama NFT project. 

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