Original author: Nancy, BlockingNews
From successfully overcoming the crisis in its entrepreneurial history due to the founder’s Rug project, to having its new work completely purchased by Holder in just over ten minutes, the strong community consensus is that Azuki is the key reason for standing at the forefront of the bear market. However, Azuki’s diamond holders may not have anticipated that the birth of the new Azuki Elementals series would not bring the expected feast, but rather a “double kill” of funds and faith.
Are Azuki holders still faithful? How can Azuki regain community trust? Can small picture narration still be sustained? BlockingNews interviewed multiple Azuki holders, some of whom avoided talking about their interests, some of whom wanted to wait for the bullets to fly a little longer, and some of whom revealed their true thoughts. Meanwhile, even though Azuki officials held an AMA to share their latest responses, the community still didn’t buy it.
Azuki announces multiple remedies and future plans
In response to the surging accusations from the community, the Azuki official tweeted an explanation that the teams have always tried to use the original Azuki column as the core of its universe, but this has not been clearly conveyed to the community. Based on Azuki’s position, Azuki holders will always enjoy the highest priority and excess allocation in future rewards, airdrops, and experiences.
- What is liquidity mining in cryptocurrency?
- How will Lucid Finance leverage diversified assets and the Pendle ecosystem to revitalize the LSD stablecoin space?
- Viewpoint: BlackRock Bitcoin ETF won’t be approved unless Binance goes bust
At the same time, Azuki’s founder ZAGABOND.ETH and two other co-founders steamboy and location tba held an AMA event on Discord on June 30 at 9:00. 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 and said that they are the first-level 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 enter the “garden” second-level access permission, with the main goal of establishing a large, attractive IP with child and animal characters. In addition, the virtual city of Hilumia is only a small part of the Azuki legend.
Regarding the casting issue of Elementals, Azuki stated that it was inspired by NBA Top Shot and incorporated AI/social media elements to provide a social experience of live display for everyone, bringing immersion, but they admit that they did not achieve this. 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 the weight allocation for level distribution, making their mechanism too complex.
Additionally, according to multiple community members, Azuki also proposed several remedial measures and future plans in this meeting. For example, a vote will be initiated in the community to update the art (especially the background) of Elementals, including changing Elementals’ original solid color background to a new floating painting background to make it more identifiable. Later, a “CollectorSystem” will be launched, and the rights given by this new system will be influenced by different factors such as the series, NFT rarity, holding time, and badge held by the holder. The act of selling by the holder will also affect the points earned (even if bought back). Azuki believes that IP/Web3 technology can subvert the anime industry. They are working with excellent animators to create a different kind of anime that will have interactive experiences, such as using NPC interactions to forge tokens or collectibles. The entire production process will be completely self-funded. The team and holders will have full control of the animation and benefit from it, and the income will flow back to the Azuki project.
At the same time, Green bean will be used in the animation, but it cannot be traded, and only OG Azuki holders can receive it. The Beanz series will also have its own roadmap, and the team will explore community content and also make some short animations. In addition, Zagabond revealed that they are exploring ways to tokenize the Azuki culture.
Furthermore, when holders asked Azuki about how to reshape community trust, ZAGABOND.ETH did not give a positive response but said, “I am excited, the whole team is excited, we are all excited, and you should be too.”
However, many holders are not buying the latest response from Azuki. For example, KOL@JamesX said, “You can tell that the team has no new ideas about the point system or tokens that everyone expected. All the mentioned logic is played out in other projects and is more like pure fantasy.” Azuki holder @Alpies said, “The animation profit sharing is very ridiculous. Can you make money by making animations now? It’s all based on peripheral sales, and the target audience is still the holder. Changing the picture is something that the project side of Tugou did. They didn’t consider it for more than half a year and want to change it now. For the point system, Zagabond (founder) said before that they would not do the Stake system.”
Increasing Selling by Long-term Holders, The Deep-rooted Reason behind Community Discontent
Although the official statement from Azuki claims that the initial goal of Elementals is to achieve community user growth, their actions are contrary to their original intention. The homogenized and rough content, technical errors, and suspected transfer of 20,000 ETH revenue to exchanges for sales are causing Azuki to lose the “hearts” of the community.
According to NFTGO data, the number of NFTs held for over a year decreased by about 550 during the release of the Elemental series, a drop of about 12.2%. According to Nansen data, a total of 132 long-term holders of Azuki sold their NFTs, an increase of 817%. In addition, 89 long-term holders have sold their Beanz NFTs, an increase of 155%.
For example, Azuki’s big shareholder @Christine Junzhuo, @Alpies and @Konger.eth have publicly chosen to liquidate all their holdings of Azuki NFTs. Among them, Christine not only stated that even though she had experienced the highs and lows of Azuki, this time it was different, and that she had lost faith in the team. As the founder of the Chinese community of Azuki, she also transferred the management of the Chinese group. Alpies said, “The graphics of the first generation of Azuki are still unsurpassed even today, with advanced colors and strong design, but this opening graphic is a devastating blow to OG loyal users, with poor color matching, unpolished graphics, and many direct applications of first-generation models and Traits. Even the rare badges in the collector’s page can be obtained by purchasing the second generation. Selling completely non-standard products can be called naked fraud, which is unacceptable for users who have supported Azuki with real gold and silver all the way. Looking back, this Vegas event was a scheme, raising consensus through the conference, raising expectations through exquisite promotional videos, causing FOMO with a 10-minute casting window, delivering and promoting products that were completely unrelated to delivery and promotional videos, and playing a leading role in not giving users time to think. In this kind of disjointed narrative rhythm, including the extremely poor delivery of the second generation, I wonder if there are internal problems with the team.”
“Community has always been Azuki’s strongest weapon. Even though there have been many Fuds before, these community members have been a strong force in actively maintaining it, so now these members are iron fans who have gone through several tests, but this time it really hurt everyone’s wallets. Moreover, many community members participated in the casting of multiple Elementals, with dozens or even hundreds of them. This kind of performance by Azuki has a significant impact on the morale of the community. Once the belief collapses, it will have a significant impact on the entire community.” Allen Ding, founder of Ebunker and holder of Azuki, told BlockingNews.
As a faithful user who was attracted to Azuki by its art style and production level, Allen Ding believes that the dissatisfaction of the community with Elementals and the Azuki team is not unreasonable, for several reasons: (1) From the Las Vegas conference to the rumors of issuance, and then to the animation, the previous (market) expectations were too high, and there was a huge gap after the good news landed. It can be said that Azuki’s latest animation can be called the most expensive animation, with a value of $38 million; (2) Elementals and Azuki are very similar, damaging the interests of holders. Elementals disrupts Azuki’s original rarity system, which is a form of harm to Azuki OG holders, especially rare species holders. After all, before this, each rarity element of Azuki had a clear market price range, such as gold weapons, elements, and spirit bodies, but now Elementals and Azuki cannot be distinguished, and many of the new series’ attributes are still quite dazzling, which makes Azuki’s original rare attributes less rare, and Elementals are even cheaper. In this case, Azuki has become inflationary, turning the original total of 10k into 30k. (3) Quality. The community is not very satisfied with the painting details and style of Elementals, and the general evaluation is not as good as Azuki. For example, the shadow treatment and Traits (features and attributes) use Azuki’s ready-made ones, and even two identical ones appear. In the eyes of many members, the new series’ art style is not as advanced as before, as if it were changed by a different artist, or Azuki’s inventory, AI batch production, etc.
Furthermore, Allen believes that the sales method of Azuki Elementals has also caused significant harm to the community. The sale was sold out before the public auction, which reflects the strength of the community. However, the drop in price below the minting price directly and accurately hurt all loyal community members. These users have steadfast support, but they have suffered serious losses in return.
However, Allen is still optimistic about Azuki. “Compared with other NFT projects in the current market, I still think Azuki is T0 level. People make mistakes, let alone Zagabond and the young Azuki team. It is normal to make some mistakes, so I am willing to continue to give them opportunities. However, it is not appropriate for the team to issue Green Bean so eagerly, because in the short term, the morale of the community is relatively low, and the market environment is not active enough. Under the circumstances, it is difficult for Green Bean to have a good price performance, and it is certain that some of the funds in the venue will be diverted, causing Azuki and Eelementals to bleed further.”
However, for the PFP NFT market, which is already lacking in confidence, the car crash of Azuki’s new work is hitting the track again. But in Allen Ding’s view, Web3 will definitely produce successful IPs, and the influence of this IP can spread to the Web2 world, and it is highly likely to be in the form of PFP. But this process is long, because it takes time to attract talent to enter the industry. A good project requires all three elements: favorable timing, geographical convenience, and human harmony. Currently, most of the PFP projects in the venue are sickle products with a clear harvesting purpose, without soul and craftsmanship.”
In short, for NFT projects like Azuki, only by presenting a business plan with sufficient sincerity can slowly regain the community’s trust that is on the verge of collapse.