On a routine Tuesday, the globally recognized NFT brand Azuki rolled out sales for its fresh “Elementals” NFT assortment. This series comprises 20,000 individual pieces and is a unique offshoot of the widely acclaimed original Azuki collection. The unveiling of this new release was met with significant anticipation, with ardent supporters awaiting the latest evolution of the anime-influenced Azuki universe.
Azuki’s Journey: From Visionary Metaverse to a Line of Physical Products
Azuki, revered for its revolutionary intentions of a metaverse platform, interactive experiences, physical commodities, and a proprietary token, had kept collectors in suspense, their hopes resting on the brand’s proposed growth trajectory. Previous feats, such as collaborations with renowned fashion house Ambush and launching a dazzling yet functionally redundant NFT-secured golden skateboard, had drawn attention. Still, Azuki’s last significant addition to its character cosmos was the unveiling of the BEANZ collection in March 2022.
However, recent times have seen Azuki grapple with considerable hurdles, including a cyber attack on its Twitter platform and an unanticipated revelation from its founder concerning abandoned past initiatives, which unsettled stakeholders’ faith in the venture.
Azuki’s Resilience Amidst Market Turbulence
Despite these adversities and under progressively challenging market conditions, Azuki has preserved its superior position on the NFT scoreboard since its inauguration in January 2022. Per secondary marketplace OpenSea’s data, Azuki has amassed an impressive trading volume of 588,674 ETH, translating to just over $1 billion. Simultaneously, the BEANZ initiative has bolstered Chiru Labs, Azuki’s parent company, with a trading volume of approximately 166,373 ETH or about $304 million.
For Azuki, maintaining this remarkable momentum was pivotal, leading to the advent of the Azuki “Elementals”.
Elementals: A Thrilling Prospect and a Challenging Reality
The Elementals collection, eagerly awaited by NFT enthusiasts, was intended to fortify Azuki’s project’s foundations and accelerate the brand’s progress. However, the minting process was marred by technological glitches, questionable mechanics, and purportedly plagiarized artwork. These setbacks significantly impacted the Azuki and BEANZ floor prices. The base price for Elementals NFTs is approximately 1.5 ETH ($2,700) on OpenSea, which is lower than its initial mint price of 2 ETH. This price dip signifies that holders are incurring losses.
Given Azuki’s market dominance, the recent minting debacle has wider implications on the NFT market. It underscores the struggles experienced by even the most reputable NFT projects in a notably challenging bear market.
Azuki’s Elementals Mint: Anticipation, Execution, and Aftermath
Keeping true to the Azuki legacy, the Elementals mint created a buzz even before its launch. The Azuki team organized a token-gated event named “Follow the Rabbit” in Las Vegas, wherein a portion of the undisclosed Elemental NFTs was airdropped to attendees. The details of the mint were unveiled on Monday, detailing the sale of the remaining Elemental NFTs in ten-minute rounds, to Azuki NFT holders, BEANZ holders, and eventually, the general public.
Despite the initial success of selling out all the NFTs within 15 minutes, which amounted to over $38 million, numerous grievances were aired on social media about the mint’s handling.
The aftermath of the mint saw further disappointment, with several collectors alleging the Elementals collection artwork’s striking resemblance to the original Azuki collection. Amidst allegations and errors, Azuki co-founder 2PM Flow attributed the issue to a “technical glitch”.
In the face of the artwork’s unveiling, speculations about Azuki purposefully diminishing the value of its collection through a drastic increase in supply arose—an accusation that Azuki subsequently apologized for.
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