In a rapidly evolving ecosystem, the ability to adapt and innovate to meet modern trends is a priority. Like the age-long expression, “what goes up must come down,” the crypto ecosystem is rife with projects rising to stardom, only to eventually fall from grace. Whereas this is not always the case, here, we take a look at what happened with The Rise and Fall of the Azuki NFT Collection.
Azuki was one of the projects that shook the crypto space in 2022. Despite a tumultuous crypto winter that ran projects down and had investors holding back their funds, Azuki managed to hold its head strong. However, in a very short space of time, the project became a shadow of its former self, lacking severely the successes that made it a wonder story in a year many may never want to remember. So what went wrong?
In this article, we take a deep dive into the Azuki collection. Projects in the crypto ecosystem die but not without reason. Azuki isn’t dead, but the project is falling fast. If it survived the crypto winter, why can’t it survive whatever hit it? More importantly, will the project survive the freefall? Let’s find out!
Launched in January 2022, Azuki’s was one of the most successful NFT debuts ever seen. The collection, made up of 10,000 NFTs, garnered over $29 million during its release, grabbing the attention of the NFT market.
At its launch, 8,700 NFTs from the collection were made available via Dutch auction on OpenSea and LooksRare, and sold out in four minutes. Achieving this was no mean feat, and as a result, garnered significant attention.
One of the many things that made the collection successful was its uniqueness. The NFTs are well-detailed anime-like avatars with beautiful and stylish features. In many ways, the Azuki appealed to Web3 anime lovers and transitioned many from the Web2 space.
Similarly, the collection is one of the projects pushing the frontiers of the NFT space by offering holders more utilities. As a result, Azuki holders had access to various exclusive benefits and perks. For instance, NFT holders qualified for free airdrops of other NFT collections, access to the whitelist, The Garden, and Azuki’s gamified Metaverse, Hilumia.
Since its launch, the collection has generated close to a billion dollars in trade volume, making it one of the most successful in its field. Similarly, some of its NFTs have sold for seven figures. According to data from DappRadar’s NFT Ranking, the highest Azuki ever sold is Azuki #9605, worth $1.42 million at the time of purchase.
One of the earliest issues Azuki faced was a controversy that stirred up in May 2022. Zagabond, the founder of Azuki, revealed that he was behind three projects: Tendies, CryptoPhunks, and CryptoZunks. While it is not uncommon for project founders to be involved with multiple projects, what made it an issue was that CryptoPhunks was considered a rug pull after the team disappeared.
As a result of his announcement, the project’s floor price dropped from 19ETH to 10.5ETH. This sudden drop caused panic among Azuki holders due to spreading fear of a possible rug pull. Surprisingly, the project escaped unscathed, although worries remain regarding the alleged dishonest behavior of Azuki’s founder.
If anything is certain, the publicity around the issue created an impression of the project. Even though Azuki went on a great run for the remainder of the year, many holders cautiously held on.
Azuki Elementals Launch
With the CryptoPhunk controversy a year in the past, and following an impressive innovative expansion of the Azuki ecosystem, the project was flying high. As a follow-up to several other projects and launches, the team in June announced the launch of a new NFT collection, Elementals.
Elementals was to be to Azuki what the Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) is to the BAYC collection – a new set of NFTs inspired by an already successful project.
However, following a successful and expensive sale, the Elemental’s launch wasn’t met with the same excitement similar projects enjoyed for apparent reasons. The 20,000 NFT collection had striking similarities with their Azuki counterparts, with only mere differences. As though that wasn’t enough, the launch was tainted with technical issues and questionable mint mechanisms.
As a result, the Azuki Elementals experienced a significant drop in demand, as many holders started selling their NFTs. Data from OpenSea show that the collection currently has a floor price of 0.6ETH, a far cry from its mint price of 2 ETH. That means many holders who bought at launch are holding or have had to sell at a significant loss.
The awful performance of the collection also seeped into the Azuki and Beanz NFT collections, with both recording significant declines in their floor prices.
Will Azuki Survive the freefall?
Trust and value are two integral elements in a vastly decentralized and anonymous ecosystem. This is especially true for Bluechips NFT collections worth thousands of dollars, which could go down the drain instantly. While many people are in the space for the exciting possibilities of Web3, a significant portion are also in for the chance to make a quick buck or double their wealth. Hence, securing their asset then becomes a top priority.
Azuki has everything it takes to be a collection that lives into the future, while several innovative changes the Azukiverse has made since its launch show that it is striving to adapt to time. However, the revolutionary aspect of a project ranks second to its transparency. Users and investors need the assurance that their assets are protected and secured. In ensuring that, any blemish, no matter how small or distant, holds heavy in their decisions.
Azuki tells us a story that the community-centric Web3 space is an all-embracing platform where anyone and any project can be the next star of the show. In the same way, anyone and any project, regardless of status, could face downfall at the flip of a bad decision.
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