Azuki’s life and death moment: OG exit, community division, and team suspected of cashing out

Author | Morii

Editor | Marco

Techub News Original (ID:TechubNews)

The first-line blue chip Azuki has turned a good hand into a bad one.

The Azuki community is experiencing a life-and-death moment.

At zero o’clock Beijing time on June 28th, while waiting to buy the official new NFT Azuki Elementals (hereinafter referred to as Elementals), the holders of the Azuki Chinese community chatted on Twitter sBlockingce, but gradually no one spoke.

Azuki’s Chinese community leader @Christine later tweeted that she refreshed the screen two hundred times before finally minting it; Twitter user @Vis.eth also said that his page kept reporting errors. Almost everyone who participated in the pre-sale encountered the same problem. Some people attributed it to technical problems, and some believed that the team deliberately cut off the pre-sale window within 10 minutes, which was actually to let everyone roll. Once there is a technical problem, 10 minutes can’t solve any problems at all.

This is just the beginning of this disaster.

At 9:15 Pacific Time, Elementals, which had prepared three rounds of sales, sold out within 15 minutes, and the team thus received a revenue of 38 million US dollars.

However, as the NFT art image of Elementals was revealed, buyers found that it was highly similar to the Azuki series, causing a sensation in the community. The floor price of the Elementals series quickly dropped from the initial 2ETH to a low of 1.32ETH; the Azuki series was also affected, causing the price to drop.

On June 29, on-chain analysts detected that Azuki had transferred 20,000 ETH (approximately 37 million US dollars) from the sale of the Elementals series to Coinbase Prime.

@Christine tweeted that she had emptied all of her Azukis.

The giant @Christian2022.mid, who owns more than 40 Azukis and more than 470 Beanz, said that it was unwise to destroy a billion-dollar project to gain a profit of 38 million US dollars. He also joked that he would spend 40 million US dollars to buy the entire company.

Why did this happen?

Just take a look at the art image comparison between Azuki and Elementals, and you may understand what they are talking about.

The first group is Azuki, and the second group is Elementals. Both have the same art style, and at first glance, they look like they belong to the same series. If you like this type of art style, mint one and set it as your social avatar, and others won’t be able to tell if you hold Azuki or Elementals. However, their prices are completely different. The floor price of Azuki was 17ETH before presale, while the initial floor price of Elementals was 2ETH. This greatly diluted the value of Azuki, and the appearance of Elementals triggered selling and price plummeting. This, in turn, caused holders to lose trust in the community.

KOL @0xSun said that if there was only this picture with no other action, he would feel scammed.

KOL @Xin.Sats jokingly provided crisis public relations skills for the Azuki team.

However, the launch of Elementals was highly anticipated by NFT players in the bear market.

1. First-tier blue chip Azuki

Azuki is a Japanese avatar NFT project launched by developer Chiru Labs in 2022. Due to its art style with Eastern aesthetics, it sold out in just a few minutes after its launch, raising over $29 million to become the NFT project with the largest transaction volume since Bored Ape Yacht.

In April 2022, following the first NFT series Azuki, Chiru Labs launched Beanz NFT, which was given the character of “Azuki’s partner”. The total circulation of this series is 20,000, of which 10,000 were airdropped to Azuki NFT holders.

Before the launch of Elementals, Azuki and Beanz were Chiru Labs’ two main brands. Chiru Labs mainly carried out IP cooperation, offline art experience, and other marketing activities around these two brands to expand community influence.

On April 12, Azuki announced a strategic partnership with IPX, the parent company of Line Friends, a well-known IP company in South Korea, to jointly create the Beanz NFT IP. The floor prices of Azuki and Beanz NFT rose sharply before and after this announcement.

In January of this year, Azuki announced the launch of “Hilumia”, a virtual city built by the community, where holders can explore and interact in this virtual space. Scenes in the virtual city include Slowpoke’s Toy Haven, Ember Square, Golden Skate Blockingrk, and Garden Express. After the news came out, the floor price of Beanz NFT rose by 69% in 24 hours.

With its diverse marketing, community cohesion, and ambition to create an immersive game metaverse, Azuki has become one of the few phenomenon-level NFTs that is still growing in the sluggish crypto market. As a result, the launch of Elementals was highly anticipated by the market.

Elementals is inspired by Azuki’s four elements: earth, fire, lightning, and water, and the rarity is divided into four levels and sold randomly. The total circulation is 20,000, of which 10,000 will be airdropped to Azuki holders, and the remaining 10,000 will be pre-sold on the 27th.

According to the pre-sale rules, the initial NFT series Azuki holders will participate in the pre-sale from 9:00 AM Pacific Time on June 27th, and the Beanz NFT series holders will participate in the pre-sale from 9:10 AM and enter public sales at 9:20 AM.

The sales method follows the Dutch auction model, starting at a price of 2 ETH, and the price will decrease by 0.1 ETH every five minutes until 10,000 NFTs are sold out.

Participants in the pre-sale must pledge 2 ETH before minting. If the minting fee is less than 2 ETH, the difference will be refunded. In the first and second stages of the pre-sale, Azuki and Beanz holders can mint one Elementals corresponding to each Azuki or Beanz without restriction, but in the public sales stage, each wallet can mint up to three Elementals at most.

Before the pre-sale, Zagabond, co-founder of Azuki, told the media, “This is our most ambitious artistic endeavor so far, and we are excited to tell the next chapter of the Azuki story with art and technology.”

Last Friday, Zagabond’s virtual image appeared on the screen of an event called “Follow the Rabbit” held in Las Vegas, accompanied by lively background music. He called on Azuki holders to check their wallets, causing cheers and screams at the scene.

Holder @Charlie G, who participated in the on-site event, said on Twitter that after Zagabond’s call, he checked his wallet and found two things inside, one is ElementalsBean (Elementals, whose artistic image has not yet been revealed, similar to opening a blind box), and the other is the soul-binding token Elementals Chip to commemorate the event.

Charlie said that the quality of the Elementals trailer launched at the Las Vegas event was higher than that of other NFT projects, and its ability to attract attention was ahead of its time.

However, it was discovered that the final product had nothing to do with the trailer.

@0xSun believes that if this set of replications of the first generation is really all the content of Elementals, and there is no subsequent action or disk protection, then this release can be said to have harvested nakedly.

@Xin.Sats said that he actually sold all of Azuki and Beanz before the pre-sale. The logic is that the sale of Elementals is actually a re-harvesting of old fans, and no new players and users are introduced into the circle.

“I prefer the approach of Pudge Penguin, selling toys on Amazon to expand outside the circle of users. Although it can’t be compared with Azuki in terms of the amount of money raised, one is to suck gold from the circle, and the other is to expand outside the circle of customers. Commercial logic and emotions I support the latter. To say more, the collapse of BAYC’s price is also the result of excessive harvesting of fans. Count the number of different series sold by Yuga NFT and Token, you know that these are assets that suck gold rather than generate cash flow.” Xin.Sats wrote.

2. Splitting, carnival and speculation

The holders of the foreign community are basically in a state of tearing, and the positive and negative views are fighting back and forth.

@spiritdao, as one of the well-known derivative communities in the Azuki ecology, has gathered a group of Holy Grail (extremely rare) holders, and responded very high-profilely when the Azuki official team remained silent: “We have been here, we won’t go anywhere. TTP (Trust the process, believe in the process). Let TTP become a new MEME among Azuki’s believers.”

Of course, there are also objections: because you have no other choice.

Some holders said that everyone should focus on the long-term, Elementals will not replace OG Azuki, and it is not time to sell (OG) yet. The community has done so much, made some mistakes in exploring Elementals, and should believe that they can solve this problem.

The other part of the holders expressed opposition, and exploration is one thing, but they have messed it up. This is clearly a cash-grabbing behavior. If the OGs only support the lazy plan to protect their interests, this community will eventually die.

Opponents claim that one thing is certain, Azuki has a hellish community, always working twice as hard to find reasons for the team’s lack of preparation, good execution and foresight.

There are also some holders who are only obsessed with aesthetics and craftsmanship, and don’t care whether their NFT is depreciating or not. They are most concerned about the details of the artwork and the emotional value it brings them.

As a watch collector, @AZhangerator shared his insights on the new artwork on Twitter as soon as he won Elementals at auction.

He analyzed the possibility of Elementals collaborating with lifestyle brands and hoped that the Azuki team would use the money they just raised boldly. If they could partner with luxury brands like this, it might bring new growth to the community and turn things around.

Some people even held “crushing” parties after obtaining the new NFTs. They “crushed” the Elementals Beans they had minted but didn’t like the artistic image of, and got an Elemental instead. This was similar to the experience of opening a blind box and caused a small frenzy on Twitter.

Others took advantage of the crisis and speculated on the market. It was reported that NFT collector Huang Lizheng bought nearly a thousand ETH to buy 394 Azuki Elemental Beans at an average price of 1.72 ETH when the Azuki ecosystem’s NFTs were all falling. He sold them all at a price higher than 1.98 ETH. He also bought 18 Azukis at an average price of 8.7 ETH and sold them all at a price higher than 9.48 ETH.

3. Delayed Response from the Project Party

On the afternoon of June 28th, the official Twitter account of Azuki finally spoke. The tweet explained the reason for designing Elementals like this, such as wanting to maintain consistency with the style of Azuki while expanding the Azuki universe. They admitted that this was a failed exploration, so they launched another new NFT, Green Bean.

Holders who have lost trust in the community don’t buy it.

@kalr94: First, you copied elementals from Azuki, and now you want to copy from red bean, just changing its color. Wow, you really made good use of that $38 million!

@Gee__Gazza: This is not the time to keep it mysterious. You basically didn’t say anything. You didn’t solve the problem of art reproduction, nor did you solve how Azuki can still maintain its collection value, while the value of everyone’s assets is declining… Please be more honest!

@DaybedNFT: Azuki’s next response will be to issue 20,000 horizontally flipped elementals.

Of course, the believers are still queuing up to reply TTP under the green bean’s GIF.

On June 29th, according to chain analysis by the analyst Yu Jin, Azuki transferred 20,000 ETH (approximately $37 million) from its Elementals series sales to Coinbase Prime about 8 hours ago. It is reported that Coinbase Prime is a large-volume brokerage platform under Coinbase, which provides cryptocurrency brokerage services to institutional clients.

Positive and negative views are still battling back and forth under this news:

Negative: I hope they enjoy their yacht, I paid the bill for them.

Positive: They will always convert minting income into USD, and gambling in the fluctuation of cryptocurrency market is not a serious project for them. Moreover, they have a company and need to pay salaries to their employees.

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