Author: Nancy, BlockingNews
From surviving a crisis in its entrepreneurial history due to the founder’s Rug project, to having its new work bought out by Holder in just over ten minutes, the strong consensus of the community is that Azuki’s standing at the forefront of the bear market is the key reason. But Azuki’s diamond hands may not have expected the birth of the new series Azuki Elementals to be a feast but rather a “double kill” of funds and faith.
Are the beliefs of Azuki holders still intact? How can Azuki regain community trust? Can small picture narratives still be told? BlockingNews interviewed several Azuki holders, some of whom avoided talking about it because of their interests, some who wanted to see the bullet fly a little longer, and others who revealed their true thoughts. Meanwhile, despite Azuki officials holding an AMA to share the latest response, they still failed to convince the community.
Azuki unveils multiple remedies and future plans
Facing the community’s accusations, Azuki’s official Twitter account explained that the teams have been trying to use the original Azuki column as the operating core of its universe, but this has not been clearly conveyed to the community. Based on Azuki’s position, Azuki holders will always have the highest priority and excess allocation in future rewards, airdrops, and experiences.
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Meanwhile, Azuki’s founder ZAGABOND.ETH and two other co-founders steamboy and location tba held an AMA activity on Discord at 9:00 on June 30. In the internal meeting, Azuki stated that the core focus of Azuki is not only to provide products, but also to provide experiences. At the same time, the team emphasized the importance of the OG series many times, stating that they are the primary access to Azuki and will be the center of Azuki’s universe and future plans, followed by Elementals and Beanz, with Elementals being a way for the external Web3 community to gain access to the second layer of the “garden,” with the core goal of building an attractive and huge IP, hence the child and animal characters. Also, the virtual city of Hilumia is only a small part of the Azuki legend.
Regarding the casting issue with Elementals, Azuki stated that it was inspired by NBA Top Shot and incorporated AI/social media elements, aiming to provide a social experience of live display for everyone, bringing immersion, but they admit they failed in this regard. At the same time, the team’s original intention in designing airdrops was to give everyone a chance to get rare NFTs, but they messed up in assigning appropriate weight to the ranking, making their mechanism too complex.
Additionally, according to multiple community members, Azuki proposed several remedial measures and future plans at the meeting, such as initiating a vote in the community to update the artwork (especially the background) of Elementals, including changing the original solid color background to a new relief background to make it more recognizable; launching a “Collector System” later, the rights given by this new system will be influenced by factors such as the series held by the holder, NFT rarity, holding time, and badges, and the behavior of the holder selling will affect the points earned (even if bought back); Azuki believes that IP/Web3 technology can subvert the anime industry, and they are collaborating with excellent animators to build anime, which is a different kind of anime that will have interactive experiences, such as using NPC interaction to mint tokens or collectibles, and the entire production process will be fully self-funded. The team and holders will have complete control over the animation and benefit from it, and the income will flow back to the Azuki project.
Meanwhile, Green bean will be used in the animation, but it is not tradable, only OG Azuki holders can receive it; Beanz series will also have its own roadmap, and the team will explore community content, as well as doing some short animations. In addition, Zagabond revealed that they are exploring a way to tokenize Azuki culture.
Furthermore, when holders asked Azuki how to reshape community trust, ZAGABOND.ETH did not respond positively, but said, “I am excited, the whole team is excited, we are all excited, so should you be.”
However, many holders do not buy the latest response from Azuki, such as KOL@JamesX, who said, “You can tell that the team itself has no new ideas about the points system or the tokens that everyone once expected. All the logic mentioned is what other projects have played out, more like pure speculation.”
Azuki holder @Alpies said, “The animation profit sharing is very ridiculous. Is there anyone who can make money by making animations now? It is all dependent on peripheral sales, and the target audience is still the holder. Changing the picture is something that the soil dog project party did. They did not consider it for more than half a year and now they want to change the picture. For the points system, Zagabond (founder) had said before that they would not do a Stake system.”
Long-term holders sell off and deep-rooted reasons behind community dissatisfaction
Although Azuki officials have stated that the initial goal of Elementals was to achieve community user growth, their various behaviors are in conflict with their original intention. The homogeneity and roughness of the content, technical errors, and suspected transfer of 2,000 ETH revenue to exchanges for shipment are causing Azuki to lose community “popularity.”
NFTGO data shows that during the Elemental series launch, the number of NFTs held for more than 1 year was reduced by about 550, a decrease of about 12.2%. According to Nansen data, a total of 132 Azuki holders who have held their NFTs for more than a year sold their NFTs, and the number of long-term holders who sold NFTs increased by 817%. In addition, 89 long-term owners have sold Beanz NFTs, and the number of long-term holders who sold Beanz NFTs has increased by 155%.
For example, Azuki’s major shareholders, @Christine郡主, @Alpies, and @Konger.eth, have all publicly chosen to liquidate their holdings of Azuki NFT series. Among them, Christine not only stated that even though she has experienced Azuki’s glory and decline, this time is different and she has lost trust in the team. As the founder of the Chinese community of Azuki, she also transferred the management rights of the Chinese group. Alpies stated that “the graphics of the first generation of Azuki are still unbeatable even today, with advanced color matching and strong design sense. However, this time the opening of the graphics is a devastating blow to OG loyal users. The bad color matching, the uncleaned graphics, and many directly copied first-generation models and traits, even the rare medals in the collector’s page can be obtained by purchasing the second generation. Selling completely unmatched products can be called naked fraud. It is impossible for users who have supported Azuki all the way with real gold and silver to accept it. Looking back, this Vegas event was a trap. It raised consensus through the conference, raised expectations through exquisite promotional videos, and caused FOMO through a 10-minute casting window. It delivered products that have nothing to do with delivery and promotional videos, and focused on not giving users time to think, successfully collecting 20,000 ETH. This fragmented narrative rhythm, including the extremely poor delivery of the second generation, makes me wonder if the team has internal problems.”
“Community has always been Azuki’s strongest weapon. Even though there have been many FUDs before, these community members have been a solid force in actively maintaining it, so now these members are iron powder left after experiencing several tests, but this time it really hurt everyone’s waistline. Moreover, many community members participated in the casting of multiple Elementals, with over a dozen or even dozens of them. This kind of performance by Azuki has a relatively big impact on the morale of the community. Once faith begins to collapse, it will have a relatively big impact on the whole community.” Allen Ding, founder of Ebunker and also an Azuki holder, told BlockingNews.
As a loyal user who got into Azuki because of its art style and production level, Allen Ding believes that the community’s dissatisfaction with Elementals and Azuki team is not unreasonable, and there are several main reasons: (1) from the Las Vegas conference to the coin issuance rumors, and then to the animation, the previous (market) expectations were too high, and there was a huge drop after the good news came. It can be said that Azuki’s latest animation can be called the most expensive animation, worth $38 million; (2) Elementals and Azuki are very similar, which has damaged the interests of the holders. Elementals disrupts the original rarity system of Azuki, which is a kind of harm for Azuki OG holders, especially for rare species holders. After all, before this, each rarity element of Azuki had a clear market price range, such as gold weapons, elements, and spirits. However, now Elementals and Azuki cannot be distinguished, and many of the new series’ attributes are still quite flashy, which makes Azuki’s original rare attributes less rare, while Elementals’ prices are even cheaper. In this case, it is equivalent to Azuki’s disguised inflation, which has increased the original total amount of 10k to 30k; (3) quality. The community is not very satisfied with the painting details and art style of Elementals, and the general evaluation is not as good as Azuki. For example, shadow processing, Traits (features and attributes) use Azuki’s ready-made ones, and even appear exactly the same. In the eyes of many members, the new series’ art style is not as advanced as before, like changing the painter, or Azuki’s stock, AI bulk production, etc.
Additionally, Allen believes that the release method of Azuki Elementals has also caused considerable damage to the community. This sale was sold out before the public auction, which reflects the strength of the community, but the opening chart falling below the casting price also directly and accurately hurt all loyal community members who firmly support Azuki, but in exchange for serious losses.
However, Allen still believes in Azuki. “Compared to other NFT projects in the market, I think Azuki is still at the T0 level. People make mistakes, let alone Zagabond and Azuki team, who are so young. Making mistakes is normal, so I am willing to continue to give them a chance. However, it is not appropriate for the team to be so eager to issue Green Bean. In the case of a short-term community morale downturn and a market environment that is not active enough, Green Bean is difficult to perform well in terms of price, and it will definitely divert some of the funds in the market, causing Azuki and Eelementals to further decline.”
However, for the PFP NFT market, which is already lacking in confidence, the failure of Azuki’s new work is another blow to the industry. However, in Allen Ding’s view, Web3 will definitely produce a successful IP, and the influence of this IP can spread to the Web2 world, most likely in the form of PFP. But this process is long, because it takes time to attract talented people to enter the industry. The emergence of a good project requires the right timing, place, and people. Currently, most of the PFP projects in the market are scythe products with clear harvesting purposes, and they lack soul and ingenuity.”
Anyway, for NFT projects like Azuki, only showing enough sincerity in their business planning can slowly regain the community’s trust on the verge of collapse.