Azuki NFT Collection: The Hype, Floor Price, and Roadmap Explained
If you spend any amount of time keeping up with NFTs, you should know the name “Azuki.” The project has enjoyed a meteoric rise and remains one of the most popular NFT collections in the business. But what makes it so special, and what should we expect for the future?
Even by the standards of NFTs and Web3, the rise of Azuki has been stunning. Since its launch in January 2022, the project has received so much hype that its first NFT drop sold out in a matter of minutes—and even a scandal about the controversial past of one of its founders wasn’t enough to slow it down.
So, should you get in on the buzz? Or should you hang back and take all the success with a pinch of salt? The decision is yours, but we’ll run through everything you need to know—including the story and vision behind the collection, how its floor price has changed over time, and the Azuki roadmap for the future. Let’s jump in.
What is Azuki NFT?
If we had to sum up Azuki in a few words, we’d say it’s an PFP NFT collection. That means a collection with the purpose of creating NFT avatars people can use as their profile pictures—something very popular among the blockchain community (and plenty of high-profile celebrities too). Other major collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) have the same focus.
There are more than 10,000 anime-inspired pictures in the collection.
Chiru Labs, an LA-based company made up of anonymous artists and developers with tech background, launched Azuki in January 2022. Its aim? To become the largest decentralied (i.e., completely owned by its tokenholders) metaverse brand. We’ll dive more into the collection itself and the team’s vision for the future shortly. But first, let’s get into the unusual story of Azuki.
When Azuki was launched, the timing was perfect. Other prominent projects like the Bored Ape Yacht Club were just starting to hit their peak, and Azuki was able to tap into the mood of the moment by giving off an air of mystery and elitism, especially with its high prices and complicated roadmap.
This stirred up so much hype that its Dutch Auction (an auction type where sale prices are supposed to drop gradually until they reach a fixed price) didn’t actually end up being a Dutch Auction at all. Instead, units sold out so fast that the price never dropped at all, and the collection sold out in three minutes.
Azuki went on to become one of the fast-growing projects in the NFT space, and raised eye-watering sums of money. On the day of the Dutch auction, it sold 8,700 NFTs at 1 ETH each, meaning that total sales for the day would have come close to $30 million gives the price of ETH at the time. And that’s not counting private whitelist sales from the team
As time went on, Azuki made around $300 million in secondary sales across various marketplaces (in part thanks to launching a secondary collection and earning 5% royalty fees from any resales). This became a virtuous circle—hype created more hype.
It did eventually hit scandal after one of its founders (known as “Zagabond”) admitted he’d been involved in three previous NFT projects that had been abandoned (Tendies, CryptoZunks, and CryptoPhunks). Many in the NFT community believed these projects had been scams and felt betrayed by the revelation—and matters became worse when it turned out CryptoPhunks had also been involved in a wash trade.
This happened in May 2022, around the same time the crypto and NFT markets as a whole were trending downward, so it’s tough to trace the precise impact of the statement—but what we can say is that the floor price did plummet shortly after the incident (more on this shortly).
However, against seemingly all odds, Azuki has managed to prosper and continue on. It’s still one of the biggest NFT projects around and still has a loyal community, even if it hasn’t quite returned to previous heights. Could that be due to its powerful roadmap?
To the average person with little to no knowledge about NFTs, it might seem like Azuki is just a collection of random images tricking people out of millions of dollars. But Azuki has always been a project with a vision, which has been a major contributor to its success (along with a strong community and unlimited supply of influencers propping it up).
At the time of Azuki’s launch, the project published its so-called Azuki Mindmap on Twitter.
This contained seven crucial elements:
- Vision and values
- Physical world
- Bridge between
- Connect your mind
Above all, the project was about a commitment to remaining decentralized and in the arms of its community while working creating its own metaverse—along with some manifestations in the physical world. In practice, this could include immersive 3D experiences and artwork exhibits combined with physical collectibles and merch, all of which would be available exclusively for the Azuki community. This has always put it a cut above less ambitious projects.
Azuki gave a conference in 2022 to give a taste of what was to come. It was complete with art installations, live music, and more.
Even if Azuki’s true strength comes from its vision and roadmap, at the end of the day, it’s still a collection of images. So before we round things up, it’s worth taking a moment or two to look at this aspect in more detail.
The 10,000 characters are all based around anime, although they contain a mix of distinctive styles. Each one has randomized traits (just like other projects such as BAYC)—for instance, one character may randomly have sunglasses, a sombrero, a sword, or just about anything else you can imagine. This makes sense since the images are used for profile pictures, because everyone wants something unique to express who they are.
The Azuki Beanz collection followed in April as a way for the Azuki brand to expand without diluting the value of its original 10,000. This secondary collection contains around 20,000 NFTs, resulting in a lower barrier to entry that allows more people access into the exclusive Azuki community.
The NFT floor price (the lowest-priced NFT in a collection) is the perfect way of tracing the story of Azuki we’ve seen already.
As mentioned, in the original Dutch auction, each Azuki went for 1 ETH. But by Feburarythen, the floor price increased to above 10 ETH. It went even higher in March, and soared above the 30 ETH mark in April. One Azuki NFT even reached 420 ETH, which was worth more than $1 million at the time.
However, around the time of the scandal and the NFT markets faltering as a whole, things started to change, as you can see on the graph below. After dropping from just above 30 ETH to below 8 ETH in a matter of days, the floor price for Azuki has stabilized at around the 7 ETH mark. But the bear market won’t last forever (touch wood), so who knows what could be to come? Will the strength of the Azuki project and vision be enoughto keep it a success, or will the Zagabond scandal hold it back?
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