Discover the Azuki NFT project of 10k anime-style avatars competing with the Bored Ape Yacht Club to become the top metaverse NFT collection.
The Azuki NFT collection of 10k unique avatars on the Ethereum blockchain has been a dominant force in the NFTs space since its launch competing directly with the biggest blue-chip players such as Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) for the top spot on OpenSea.
The Azuki collection is far more than cool hand-drawn PFP art, as every NFT functions as a key that unlocks the door to the project’s metaverse known as ‘The Garden.’ This blue chip project has one of the highest total trading volumes, and even the cheapest Azuki will set you back well over $20k, and the rarest have sold for over $1 million.
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The best way to think about Azuki is as a web 3.0 digital brand where the NFT avatars offer membership to The Garden. This exclusive metaverse-style club makes users eligible for airdrops, giveaways, raffles, and networking opportunities.
The anime avatars in the collection have unique features and rarity scores determined by their hand-drawn traits that range from samurai swords to cigarettes.
The Azuki BEANZ is a secondary collection that was released after the genesis mint to offer people a lower price point for joining the community. We’ll get into more details about the collection of 20k BEANZ NFTs later on.
Who Created Azuki?
A Los Angeles-based group of artists created Azuki at the web 3.0 start-up Chiru Labs. The core team has not been doxxed, but the Chiru Labs website does provide links to their social media pages.
ZAGABOND is one of the project’s four founders and is generally the main spokesperson. However, the website doesn’t single him out as the CEO or give him any other official title.
2pm.flow is a former Google/Y-Combinator and Azuki cofounder who regularly Tweets @2pmflow about Azuki and gives people tips about programming.
location tba is an ex-Meta software engineer who claims to be ‘racing’ Mark Zuckerberg to build the metaverse as an Azuki cofounder. On Twitter @locationtba, generally Tweets Azuki-related information and screenshots of rare BEANZ.
HoshiBoy is the fourth member of the Chiru Labs team and Azuki cofounder. On Twitter, @hoshiboyzen is generally much less active than the other team members, often going months without posting.
Arnold Tsang is the only cofounder that isn’t part of Chiru Labs. According to his LinkedIn, he was the lead character concept artist for Blizzard Entertainment and the former Character Art Director for Overwatch. On Twitter, @steamboy33 posts about Azuki and Overwatch regularly.
Wale Swoosh is the project’s researcher in residence. @waleswoosh is worth following on Twitter for thoughtful, long insights in the the market and the health of bluechip NFT projects.
Shortly after the project’s launch, the community became aware that Zagabond had previously worked on several failed NFT projects, including CryptoPhunks and Tendies. Some of the projects were considered rug pulls, and as a result, doubts about his plans for Azuki emerged. Despite the FUD, Zagabond and the team were able to dispel the concerns, and the project continued to move forward with the community’s support.
When Did Azuki Launch?
The Azuki collection was launched in January 2022 through a Dutch Auction where the mint price started at ETH 1 ($3.4k at the time) and declined by ETH 0.05 every 20 minutes. The price reductions were made redundant as the project sold out within five minutes.
As of February 2023, the total trading volume is ETH 386k, the floor price is ETH 15k, the unique ownership is 49%, and the creator fee is set to 5%. Anyone who minted an Azuki at launch has seen their investment in dollar terms 8x and 15x in terms of ETH.
In April 2022, the Azuki BEANZ collection was airdropped to Azuki holders. The 19.9k collection of unique beans was designed as companions to the Azukis and offered people a chance to enter The Garden at a lower price point.
As of Feburary 2023, BEANZ have a total trading volume of ETH 115k, a floor price of ETH 1.6, unique ownership of just 37%, and 5% creator fees.
What Makes Azuki Unique?
Every Azuki has unique hand-drawn traits and features. As with most PFP projects, some traits are rarer than others, and rarity often determines the value of the NFT.
The collection is broken down into four types:
- Human (90%)
- Blue (4.4%)
- Red (4.4%)
- Spirit (1%)
Beyond the four types, Azukis have a combination of 11 potential traits, including eyes, headgear, mouth, offhand, and clothing.
Azuki #9605 was sold for ETH 420 ($1.4 million) in March 2022, setting a new record for the collection. This spirit type Azuki is the second-rarest NFT in the collection, according to Rarity Sniper, with a score of 48213. It’s one of just 5 Azukis to have no clothing and one of just 14 to have the Golden Shuriken Offhand trait.
The spirit-type Azukis dominate the collections regarding the highest sales, with every highest sale in the top #15 attributed to them.
Interestingly, even though the Spirit Azukis get the most attention, the rarest Azuki is a Human. Azuki #2152 may not look as interesting as the Spirits, but because it’s the only Azuki with five traits, it has the highest rarity score. Despite its rarity score, it changed hands for a modest ETH 2.7 in 2022 and currently has no offers on OpenSea above the floor price.
What makes BEANZ unique?
The BEANZ collection contains 19.9k unique BEANZ broken down into 17 different types. The rarest types are Earth Bean (0.05%), Lightning Bean (0.05%), and Spirit Bean (2%). If you want a full list of tips, head to Rarity Sniper. BEANZ has a maximum trait count of 12 and a minimum of four.
Fun fact: Azuki beans are a type of sweet red bean are frequently utilized in Japanese cuisine.
BEANZ #4096 sold for ETH 90 ($148k) in May 2022, making it the highest-selling BEANZ as of February 2023. This BEANZ is from the extremely rare Earth Bean type and has a Monkey King Staff found on just 0.4% of the collection.
BEANZ #4096 sold for over $140k, making it the highest-selling BEANZ to date. Source: Rarity Sniper
According to Rarity Sniper, the rarest BEANZ is the ghostly #9466, which is the only BEANZ with four traits and one of just 0.3% to have a Spirit-Closed mouth. Despite its rarity, this BEANZ hasn’t been traded since the airdrop.
What Does Azuki Do?
Azuki was launched with the aim of creating a diverse web 3.0 brand with a constantly growing ecosystem fueled by IP rights, partnerships, and airdrops. As a result, it has multiple use cases.
Although the project has grown into much more than 10,000 cool PFPs, it’s still a valuable use case. The Japanese anime art appeals to many members of the NFT community and having a rare Azuki as your profile picture will certainly give you a name in many web 3.0 circles.
The team often refers to Azuki as a brand, not an NFT collection. What it means by this is that the idea of building a far-reaching brand like Bored Ape Yacht Club is at the heart of the Azuki ecosystem.
“The dream is for Azuki to have such big IP (intellectual property) that there’s an animated series, maybe even games and all kinds of merch,’ Tsang, one of the Azuki founders, told Forbes.
The Garden is an exclusive online community where Azuki and BEANZ holders network and collaborate on Azuki-related projects. They collaborate on merchandising, fashion, and media projects. The Garden is a similar concept to the BAYC Clubhouse.
The Physical Backed Token (PBT)
The PBT is Azuki’s attempt to make it easier to link on-chain ownership to real-world items.
The Ethereum-based tokens are inseparable from the physical item as the NFT cannot be traded separately from the physical item thanks to the so-called BEAN chip attached to the item, which verifies ownership in a process described as a Blockchain-Enabled Authentication Network (BEAN).
BEANZ and Merch
The PBT and BEAN chip verification process opened the door to exciting merchandising opportunities.
In October 2022, the Azuki team auctioned eight Golden Skateboard NFTs to the community with the promise that they could redeem them for physical skateboards in the future using the PBT system. The most expensive skateboard sold for over $400k.
Chiru Labs partnered with the AMBUSH fashion brand in November 2022. “Web3 technology is changing how we experience life. We are excited to explore how fashion and web3 can combine through this collaboration with Azuki and PBT “BEAN” Chip technology,” said Yoon, AMBUSH’S creative director.
AMBUSH and Azuki created a collection of hoodies and pendants embedded with PBT allowing their digital transfer and authentication. A raffle for the items was held on Azuki’s website on November 9th, 2022.
Azuki holders have a non-exclusive license to use, copy, reproduce, and display Azuki NFT art for commercial and personal use. Read the full Azuki license agreement to understand all the copyright terms and conditions.
Offering flexible NFT copyrights to the community means NFT holders are encouraged to increase the project’s publicity through their creative endeavors.
A Tweet from @FastandLucid, an Azuki artist, in February 2023 illustrated the depth of the Azuki ecosystem. The project has so far launched over half a dozen physical collections and collaborated with notable organizations such as Red Bull and Bili Bili.
2023 Twitter Hack
Arnold Tsang, cofounder, Tweeted on January 27th, 2023 warning his followers that the Azuki Twitter page had been hacked and no one should press on any of the links it posted.
Unfortunately, Tsang’s warning came too late, and hackers made off with $750k worth of ETH, USDC, and NFTs in under an hour. On January 28th, the Azuki team confirmed that the hack was over and an investigation had been launched.
How To Buy An Azuki?
The best way to purchase an Azuki or BEANZ is on OpenSea. In this example, we will focus on the main Azuki collection, but the process is the same for the BEANZ. Follow these steps to purchase an Azuki:
- Get a Crypto Wallet: Get an ETH-compatible crypto wallet like MetaMask.
- Connect to Marketplace: Visit the Azuki OpenSea page and connect your wallet.
- Explore: Browse the collection and use the filters to sort them by price.
- Buy: Purchase an Azuki by pressing the buy now button or submitting a bid.
Before purchasing an Azuki NFT, make sure you do you’re own research and follow the Azuki Twitter.
The Future of Azuki NFT Project
The Azuki collection sold out within five minutes of launching and immediately became one of the most traded collections on OpenSea. Despite some FUD surrounding the team in 2022, the project has gone from strength to strength by forming partnerships with major brands and using its PBT technology to change how web 3.0 companies merchandise.
With the ecosystem constantly expanding, Azuki is expected to continue to fight for the number one spot in the NFT space with other blue chips like BAYC and CryptoPunks.