Blue Chip NFTs 101 – Azuki, A New Kind Of Brand For The Future… And A Scandal

Azuki combines NFT culture and anime-style drawing. A global community works together behind the scenes. This is amazing. Azuki defines itself as a “decentralized brand for the metaverse.” This brand’s main product is a collection of 10K anime-style avatars in NFT form. The collection is also called Azuki and at inception was one of the NFT space’s biggest success stories… 

… until admissions and revelations by one of the project’s creators cast a shadow on Azuki as a whole. 

Let’s review the project’s history, its characteristics, and the revelations that changed it all.

Azuki’s Origin Story

This project is in operation since January 12, 2022. Azuki’s development team is Chiru Labs, their slogan is “Born in Los Angeles. Building for the metaverse.” Most of the members use pseudonyms and keep their identities private. A few use their real name, like Azuki’s co-creator and illustrator Arnold TsangToronto, Canada. He’s well-know for his participation in “Overwatch,” which Wikipedia describes as “a 2016 team-based multiplayer first-person shooter game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment.”

Community support is key to the success of this project. You can find more information on Azuki’s website, they use slogans like “A new kind of brand that we build together” and “A brand for the metaverse. By the community.” Ownership of one of the 10K Azuki NFTs gives the user access to The Garden. A virtual place Azuki promises “starts with exclusive streetwear collabs, NFT drops, live events, and much more that will be revealed over time.”

Azuki can be described as a digital brand. A “decentralized brand of the future.”

The NFT Collection seemed to be on the verge of becoming a classic. The initial success made their name recognizable and sent the collection’s floor price to double digits. The maximum floor price reached 22 ETH once. Today, it is at OpenseaIs 7.4 ETH the right amount? No matter what the reason may be, Azuki continues to move around. The total amount of transactions it has made is 260.2KETH.

We Need A Little… Controversy

Azuki’s turning point was, in fact, a Twitter Space. On May 10th, crypto influencer Andrew Wang interviewed  Zagabond, one of Azuki’s founders, who just like that revealed that he was part of a few NFT projects that didn’t end well. They almost sound like a rug pull and everyone was shocked. The collection’s floor price started falling and it hasn’t recovered yet. 

Although it was initially a mystery, the truth is that this phenomenon has been proven to be quite simple.CryptoslateThese were some of the Zagabond projects:

  • CryptoPhunks, The original CryptoPunk copycat. Larva Labs’ first DMCA removal of a collection. The CryptoPhunks were removed from OpenSea. Zagabond then gave the project back to the holders in July 2021.
  • Tendies, a project that failed to capture the NFT culture’s imagination and shut down in the middle of the minting process. 
  • CryptoZunks is a group that collects cryptozunks. Self-definition as “the first Punks to be generated on-chain with randomized attributes. Each Zunk is guaranteed to be unique from any Punk.” Apparently, it failed because of Ethereum’s expensive gas fees.

According to Cryptoslate, “Like the first two projects, this failed one was also a lesson. Zagabond said these three projects taught him that “blindly following the NFT meta doesn’t get you far.” He claims that all the lessons from these projects are now being applied to make Azuki a success.” None of that helped and the collection’s floor price went downhill. 

This begs the question: Were these simply rug pulling projects or were they simple failures with no bad intent? 

ETHUSD price chart for 09/08/2022 - TradingView

ETH price chart on Bitfinex for 09/08/2022 | Source: ETH/USD on

Azuki is Built For The Metaverse

The definition of metaverse in Azuki’s site is controversial, to say the least.

“The metaverse today is where we currently spend most of our time: Discord + Twitter. What can we do to make this a more memorable experience for Azuki member? What is the best way to get the brand noticed in the places where it’s most needed? More importantly, where will the metaverse be one year+ from now?”

Are social media and other forms of communication part of the metaverse or just social media? Azuki does not even know the location of the metaverse in one year. Blue-chip NFT collection blues are also building their versions and putting their chips on table. Is Azuki too late? Are Chiru Labs still quietly working? According to the company, they’re exploring the possibility of developing a game. “Few teams have the experience and background to build a genuinely great game with mass market appeal and scalability. Though the core team has the experience, it’s a huge endeavor nonetheless.”

The Azuki Collection is in decline, but it’s not dead. The team seems to have shaken the stink that Zagabond’s revelations brought, but did so in the middle of a bear market in which the whole NFT market is down. Azuki stopped them from losing their way. They stopped the bleeding.

Featured Image: Azuki banner taken from TradingView's site| Charts by TradingView

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