Azuki NFTs: The Meteoric Rise to Blue-Chip NFT Status
Azuki NFTs are only a few months old, but they have already made a major impact on the NFT space. Azuki is one of the fastest-growing projects of all-time in terms of floor price, and the biggest NFT released so far in 2022.
The Azuki team’s goal of bridging the digital and physical world is highly appealing to collectors, who have already experienced massive gains in value of their NFTs and associated airdrops. The collection of NFT avatars give membership to “The Garden,” the world that Azuki is building with their community.
It’s a rare thing to achieve “blue-chip” NFT project status in a matter of months, but many believe Azuki has already claimed that status, especially after its NFT LA party where they airdropped all holders two Beanz.
What is Azuki NFT?
Azuki is a collection of 10,000 NFTs which went on sale on January 12, 2022, selling out in about three minutes. Whitelist mint was 0.5 Ethereum, with public mint at 1 Ethereum. With an Azuki NFT, you gain membership access to the Garden — “a corner of the internet where art, community, and culture fuse to make magic.” The project says their roadmap includes “exclusive streetwear collabs, NFT drops, live events, and much more.”
The members founding team, Chiru Labs, are located in Los Angeles, and have a background in “crypto, technology, and gaming.” Azuki, the team’s first project, aims to bridge the digital and physical world.
Their “mindmap” shows their ultimate vision: “to create the largest decentralized brand for the metaverse that is built and owned by the community.”
The Azuki NFTs were initially shown as red beans, which then revealed as Azukis about a week later. They are sometimes still referred to as “beans” in the community, alluding to the azuki bean, which is popular in East Asia.
The mint was unique in that the team came up with a new implementation of the ERC-721 Ethereum NFT standard: ERC-721A. Without getting deep into technical details, it allowed the minter to mint multiple Azuki NFTs for basically the gas cost of minting one. This innovation has already been used many other NFT projects after it.
The Azuki NFT Founders
The innovations with ERC-721A and the well-crafted brand and storytelling are a testament to the strong founding team behind Azuki. The team had impressive backgrounds in crypto, tech, and gaming before launching Azuki, bringing more validity to their project.
Zagabond leads the Azuki team and has previously worked in business development in Google and has previous experience in DeFi. Hoshiboy, leading design, is a two-time alumnus of startup incubator Y-combinator. The Azuki team’s two engineers have experience at Google and Facebook. Their product lead, Demna, also previously worked at Google. The team’s lead artist, Steamboy, previously led character art at Overwatch, which more than 50 million people have played.
Together, the Azuki founding team has more relevant background and experience than any NFT project released to-date.
Azuki NFT Traits and Art
In an interview with Forbes, one of the founders said that the Azuki art style captures “the rebellious nature of skateboarders.” Another said that Asian investors see the project as one of the first to resonate with them. The lead project artist Steamboy tweeted about his original sketch that was used for the art style, showing the evolution to the final product.
Azukis come in four categories: Human, Blue, Red, and Spirit. There are only 97 Spirits in the collection, making them the rarest. There are a variety of both male and female-presenting Azukis, each with highly unique traits.
“Golden” traits are amongst the rarest, and can be found in Clothing, Offhand, and Neck traits.
The highest ever Azuki sale at the time of this post was 420.7 Ethereum (about $1.4 million USD) on March 29, 2022, for a Spirit Azuki with Golden traits.
Bobu the Bean Farmer: Fractionalizing IP
The project selected Azuki #40 to buy for themselves, and named him “Bobu the Bean Farmer,” whose unique personality was also used in Discord communications leading up to launch. On February 10, 2022, the Azuki team announced they would be fractionalizing the Bobu token as part of an experiment with decentralized IP, controlled by the Bobu holders.
Anyone in the public could purchase these fractions, which was a great entry point for those without Azukis.
The 20,000 fractions went on sale for 0.01 Ethereum each. After the main Azuki project skyrocketed in late March, Bobu saw a rise in prise up to 0.4 Ethereum. It has now settled back down at 0.19 Ethereum at the time of this post.
Bobu also has his own Twitter account. More plans for how this fractional token of this Azuki will be used will released in the future, but is likely to be driven by the community.
Something Airdrop and Beanz Reveal at NFT LA
On March 30, 2022, Azuki held an exclusive Garden Party event IRL as a part of NFT LA week. Lines were reported to be hours long as demand for the event was high. Rumors were swirling of an announcement of a collaboration with a large streetwear brand.
Instead, attendees (and all other holders) were airdropped two mysterious NFTs for each Azuki they held. This was dramatically announced on stage at the Garden Party event, saying to the crowd: “And one more thing: check your wallets!”
After airdrop, the price of “Something Official” was instantly 3 ETH, soon reaching 4 ETH within the day. Soon after, on April Fool’s Day, the package image cleverly revealed into a pile of dirt. This led many to speculate about what it could be, as the Azuki floor continued to rise alongside it.
A day later, the “Something Official” collection changed into “Beanz Official,” as Beanz were revealed to be coming soon. Beanz are an expansion of the Azuki universe, with a nearly 20,000 supply. The floor of the collection briefly passed 7 Ethereum after switching to the Beanz placeholder image, and has now come down to 5.3 Ethereum as of posting.
That’s pretty substantial volume for a mysterious airdrop, and an added value of over 10 Ethereum to holders just for holding one Azuki.
Azuki Rise in Popularity
Azuki’s floor has gone from 11 Ethereum on March 21 to an all time high of 34.5 Ethereum on April 2, a 213 percent increase over that time period. It has settled down to 27 Ethereum at the time of this post.
This is one of the fastest-growing NFT project floors to reach 30 Ethereum in recent NFT history — perhaps ever.
Azuki’s clear communications, highly professional website, thorough Discord and Twitter posts, quality of art, swanky IRL event, and early airdrops have added more value than many other NFT project. The community is extremely strong, and those who invested early have already been substantially rewarded.
This project growth has been compared to the pace of the Bored Ape Yacht Club floor price growth. A graph from @punk9059 on Twitter shows a comparison in floor price of the two projects 85 days after mint.
Derivatives like Mutant Azukis and Kidzukis, along with other similar art-style projects, have suddenly spawned, riding the Azuki hype. This is similar to the wave of Bored Ape Yacht Club derivatives that became extremely popular once the BAYC floor price reached new heights.
TL;DR — Azuki NFTs
The Azuki community is growing larger every day, with 5,500 unique holders of the original NFT, and Beanz expanding the NFT collection. Since its launch on January 12, the project has been gaining massive momentum with collectors. Its clever approach to communications and airdrops, plus its clear mission and roadmap, has launched it to new heights in the space.
Everyone can find an Azuki NFT that appeals to their own unique personality. The founders have placed the bar high for the project, and aim to go even higher.
Those who can’t get in at the high purchase price of Azuki can look to Bobu the Bean Farmer for fractional ownership. One thing for sure — 2022 is going to be a banner year for NFTs, and Azuki has already been a big part of establishing that.
Check out Azukis for sale and browse them by rarity and floor price on MomentRanks.