Azuki: leading anime project in the NFT market

Azuki: leading anime project in the NFT market

Since its inception in January 2022, Azuki has been a top NFT project with impressive sales, records, and a collection of 10,000 avatars. In the field of NFT anime, the project is a leading community. And his avatars feature a unique anime-inspired style that was common in the anime industry in the early 2000s.

Today we will analyze one of the top Azuki collections, which managed to create a strong ecosystem, get the blue-chip title and almost die because of the confessions of its co-owner.




Azuki in numbers

  • The project was launched on January 12, 2022,
  • Initially, 8700 tokens were issued, and then 1300 more were minted. The total collection is presented in the amount of 10,000 tokens.
  • The first issue of the collection sold out in 3 minutes at $3,400 per NFT, generating $29 million in revenue for the team in a couple of minutes.
  • In February 2022, a month after launch, Azuki surpassed top collections such as CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club in 30 days with a record $300 million in total sales.
  • Total sales for the entire period exceeded 261K ETH ($350.5 million), making it the 6th best collection by sales volume on OpenSea.
  • Azuki #9605, declared the second rarest in the collection, was sold on March 30, 2022 for a record 420.7 ETH ($1.4 million at the time of sale)
  • The average price of the token for the entire period since January is about 9.5 ETH ($12.7K)
  • The minimum price is now 10 ETH ($13.4K)
  • At the peak of sales, the average price of the token was 36 ETH (48.2K dollars)
  • A total of just over 5,000 unique owners, that is, about 50% of the total number of issued tokens.
  • On sale in the secondary market is now 6% of the entire collection, which is a good indicator.

Information (including exchange rates) is at the time of writing


What is Azuki?

Azuki is a collection of 10,000 anime-style avatars that give users membership access to The Garden community. Anime style characters are hand-drawn. And they represent digital samurai and smoking skateboarders.

Thanks to the high price and complex plan, the still-evolving product immediately gained a sense of exclusivity because many influencers called it a hot commodity.

In what may have been an unprecedented and even historic event, each of those 8,700 NFTs was sold for $3,400. Not in weeks, not in days, not even in hours. The first batch of 8,700 sold out in three minutes. It was one of the fastest NFT selloffs in history, with a total valuation of $29 million.


Collection types and attributes

All NTFs have different traits in regards to hair, backgrounds, clothing, and various wearables – some characters hold swords, a coffee cup, a skateboard, or a boombox.

There are four different “types” in the collection:

  • Human (9018)
  • Blue (444)
  • Red (441)
  • Spirit (97)
Azuki nft types attributes
Types of NFT Azuki

In addition to the main types in the collection, there are various attributes that differ in rarity.

  1. Background,
  2. Clothing,
  3. Ear,
  4. Eyes
  5. Face,
  6. Hair,
  7. Headgear,
  8. Mouth,
  9. Neck
  10. Offhand,
  11. Special.

And various combinations of these attributes give a unique character, which also turns out to be rare or often found.

Consider examples:

  • Red spirit #6457 with a dark background and sakura is considered one of the rarest. And was previously sold for 66.69 ETH.
  • Man #4930 with headphones, red yukata and relaxed mouth is not that rare. And earlier it was sold for 11.9 ETH.


Who created Azuki?

The project was created by Chiru Labs, a Los Angeles-based team of artists and engineers with experience in games, technology, and cryptocurrency.

The band consists of:

  • Zagabond @ZAGABOND takes the role of PR director in the project – he distributes and popularizes the collection. Previously, he served as a PR manager at Google, after which he was involved in the creation of a decentralized financial service. Which one exactly is unknown.
  • 2pm.flow @2pmflow. He is amateur rapper, ex-Google/Y-Combinator.
  • location tba @locationtba. He is уx-Facebook software engineer.
  • HoshiBoy @hoshiboyzen. He is twice alumnus of the Y Combinator incubator.
  • Arnold Tsang @steamboy33. He is 39-year-old lead artist. Prior to Azuki, he served as art director for Activision Blizzard’s hit Overwatch shooter for 12 years.
Azuki Founders Zagabond Arnold Tsang
Azuki Founders

The first four founders of Chiru Labs remain anonymous, which is not surprising in a privacy freak. But the fifth key player in Chiru is relatively well-known in the gaming industry – Arnold Tsang.

Our dream is that the Azuki brand has such a large intellectual property that there will be animated series, games and other merchandise. I decided to reveal my name as a manifestation and encouragement of trust. Here I am and here is my work. Trust me. After earning money, I will not run away to a deserted island. Tsang explains


Who owns Azuki?

On August 26, 2022, Adrian Cheng, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Hong Kong New World Group, stated that he is LastKnight, an anonymous Web3 supporter who owns 101 Azuki NFTs

Also, in the ranks of famous owners are present:

Almost all other owners of these tokens decided to remain incognito.


How did Azuki become blue chip?

Initially, the collection was supposed to be sold through a Dutch auction. The minting price started at 1 ETH and was programmed to decrease by 0.05 ETH every 20 minutes until it reached 0.15 ETH. However, the price never reached 0.15. In fact, he didn’t even get to the first price cut because the collection sold out all of its stock at 1 ETH in less than three minutes. Thus, the total revenue amounted to more than $29 million in a couple of minutes. Another $2 million came from secondary sales a few days later.

And then it got really hot. In the four weeks ending February 11, the collection was the subject of nearly $300 million in transactions across several major marketplaces like OpenSea. Thus, the project surpassed such top collections as CryptoPunks and Bored Apes in a period of 30 days.

As a result, Chiru Labs has a 5% royalty on each resale of the collection. That is, the company earned $15 million in royalties from the secondary market, on top of the $31 million it received from the initial sale.

Thus, this project is in the same row of blue chips along with BAYC, MAYC and CryptoPunks.


Why are Azuki popular?

With over 1,000 NFT collections released every month, it remains a mystery why only a few of them reach the top while most fail. Fortunately for the developers, the project immediately became a success. But why?

We highlight the most important reasons:

  • Great demand for the anime genre. The project has carved out an important anime niche in the NFT market, and has become the standard for hundreds of projects since. The avatars are aesthetically pleasing, and, according to Zagabond, simply “resonate” with viewers, especially in Asia, where anime is much more popular.

I had several conversations with Asian investors who told me that this was the first NFT purchase.Zagabond approves

  • The collection conveys a “rebellious skateboard culture” that resonates well with people in the world of crypto and non-fungible tokens.
  • NFT owners are given membership access to a unique community called the Garden,
  • For owners, the development team releases exclusive streetwear collaborations, NFT drops, live events, and more.
  • As soon as the streak began to gain momentum, the team announced a long-awaited giveaway for its holders. Thus, rewarding their loyalty, as well as promoting the Azuki brand and taking it to a new level.
  • Collectors note the unusually high performance of their official site, which has a gallery with a sophisticated set of OpenSea-style filters that allow you to search for items by things like hat, clothing, or facial expressions.
  • The smart contract development team was able to make a great change for the future of all NFT collections. The ERC721A token standard is designed to provide significant gas savings for the mint of multiple NFTs in a single transaction. With this innovation, tens of millions of dollars have been and will be saved.

Thanks to all these reasons, the NFT project is included in the TOP of the best NFT collections in history.


Project Roadmap

If you are going to join the ranks of collectors and investors of this project, then you should definitely study the roadmap. It is according to it that you have the opportunity to evaluate the prospects of the project, the mood and composition of the team, the implementation of all the intended goals and promises. We wrote about this criterion for evaluating a project in terms of investment in our article Investment valuation NFT: how to evaluate an NFT project? 

roadmap The Azuki nft
Azuki Project MindMap

So, Azuki has one of the best roadmaps to date. But it’s more correct to say Mindmap (as the developers themselves wrote). What can we say about her?

  • It consists of 7 modules: from values ​​and vision to physical privileges and the metaverse,
  • All modules are structurally, stylishly and visually understandable,
  • The team has a clear vision, but the exact details are fluid and changeable. Therefore, unfortunately, the deadlines for the implementation of all plans are not indicated, but there is only information about the status of the task.


Azuki Ecosystem Projects

The Chiru Labs team has taken the best of the NFT market experience to date. So, she held a free airdrop among the holders of the main tokens, issued a token for managing the future DAO and is in the process of developing her own metaverse. All these activities, of course, increase the value and prospects of the project, increase the level of trust and the scale of the community and attract new investors. Let’s take a closer look at the projects below.


Bobu, the Bean Farmer is a participation token in the future DAO

Bobu, the Bean Farmer is a 50,000 NFT collection of the Bean Farmer, Bobu, released on March 6, 2022. ERC-1155 tokens are a decentralized intellectual property experiment created by Chiru Labs.

Bobu is Azuki #40 and revolves around the story of an honest bean farmer owned by the Azuki community. This tokens are a way to join the experiment in decentralized management of character intellectual property.

Azuki nft Bobu, the Bean Farmer
Bobu is NFT within the Azuki Ecosystem

While the details have yet to be determined, it is known that Bobu will play an important role in Azuki’s story as the project’s universe expands.


Azuki Beanz Collection

The Azuki Beanz Collection, Azuki’s largest expansion to date, was released on April 1, 2022. Owners of the original anime NFTs each received 2 NFTs for free, with the claim that they serve as a sort of helper in brand development. Much like Bored Apes did with Mutant apes and Doodles did with Space Doodles, Azuki capitalized on the need to grow the brand without diluting the original collection.

Azuki nft Beanz
NFT Beanz became the main gift to Azuki holders for their loyalty and belief in the project

Beanz has helped lower the barrier to entry into the ecosystem by issuing a collection of nearly 20,000 NFTs. Additionally, Beanz owners get access to the Azuki server-only Discord channel and will be eligible to receive the following branded merchandise.


Metaverse The Garden

With the NFT anime, you also get membership access to The Garden, where builders, artists, and web3 wizards hang out.

The Garden is a corner of the internet where art, community and culture come together to create magic. The boundaries between the physical and digital worlds are blurring and the rules are being rewritten.

This metaverse will be home to interactive multimedia experiences, games, community incentives, and perhaps even comics and animation. However, the “bridge between” the metaverse and real-life activation seems to be Chiru’s most important initiative.

But so far, according to the developers themselves, the project is under development and research. They don’t have a task to do quickly. The team conceptually and technically covers a wide range of tasks, so this project is likely to be large-scale. And now this community is represented in the form of communication on Twitter and Discord.


How much do Azuki cost?

When they launched, anime-style characters cost 1 ETH ($3,400 at the time of sale) apiece. Since then, sales peaked in April-May 2022, where on average they stood at 24-30 ETH.

How much do Azuki cost
Azuki NFT price chart


Most Expensive Azuki Sales

  1. Azuki #9605, announced as the second rarest in the collection, was sold on March 30, 2022 for 420.7 ETH ($1.4 million at the time of sale) on the OpenSea marketplace. This is the highest price in the history of the sale of the collection.
  2. #4666 sold on February 13, 2022 for 204 ETH ($596K at time of purchase).
  3. #5558 sold February 2, 2022 for 175.69 ETH ($471K at the time of purchase).
  4. #4363 sold on April 2, 2022 for 161.25 ETH ($557K at time of purchase).
Most Expensive NFT Azuki
Most Expensive Azuki Sales


Where to buy Azuki?

In early January 2022, the NFTs were at their peak and quickly sold out. Now they can only be bought in secondary markets. They are currently holding an impressive 10-12 ETH and have a stable volume of sales. You can see all the items available for sale on their page only on the marketplaces OpenSea  and Looksrare.


How to buy Azuki?

  1. Remember that initially you need to connect your crypto wallet with self-storage.
  2. Next, find the official collection (in the previous paragraph, we posted links to official accounts),
  3. Find the NFT you want to buy, click on it and click the “Buy” button.
  4. Or you can bet on the token you like. Make sure you leave enough ETH for gas or transaction fees. If the seller approves your bid, the deal goes through.

Congratulations, you are now a privileged member of the Azuki Club and The Garden Metaverse.


Azuki scandal

On the night of May 9-10, 2022, the founder, known by the nickname Zagabond, posted a post on his Twitter page in which he spoke about his past collections. The post instantly spread on Twitter and all social networks, a lot of holders doubted their purchases and began to sell rare copies at a loss to themselves.

It turns out that before Azuki, Zagabond worked on CryptoPhunks, Tendies and CryptoZunks. All three of these projects were launched within 8 months, and all were failures. Moreover, his former colleagues in response commented that the projects on his initiative were more fraudulent than just a bad experience.

Azuki scandal scam Zagabond
On Twitter, Zagabond admitted to his failed NFT projects, which caused a negative community

The community was very indignant with what they read, so you could see a sharp decrease in the floor price for Azuki. Then it led to the mass abandonment of these NFTs, its floor price fell by 50%.

In the end, Zagabond issued a formal apology via Twitter and continued to play an integral role in building the Azuki brand. And the collection was able to almost completely recover only due to its strong community.


What’s next?

Azuki wants to build his own metaverse online. In this metaverse, there will be interactive multimedia events, games, community competitions, and perhaps even cartoons and comics. However, Chiru seems to think that the “bridge between” the metaverse and real life activation is the most important project.

We are driven by a simple yet profound vision – to create the largest decentralized brand for a community-created and owned metaverse.

Azuki at NFT.NYC 2022

Representatives of Chiru Labs are already talking about their plans aimed at developing and creating new financial flows. In addition to successfully selling a collection of tokens, they now want to create other products related to this brand and implement many ideas:

  • launch of a clothing collection (a red jacket will be the first piece of clothing to go on sale);
  • the emergence of artists in show business, whose image will be based on representatives of the collection;
  • entry into the Hollywood market (they plan to sign contracts with various film studios regarding the use of characters from the collection as intellectual property);
  • brand development in the metaverse.


Is it worth investing in Azuki?

Within a few months after the launch, the project was able to dominate the NFT market due to its unique concept, competent marketing and strong technical component. More than six months later, when all the hype has already subsided, we now see a smooth, stable and promising project without any pumps and dumps, with a strong and large community. And here the concept and the community play a decisive role – anime around the world has been gaining momentum for the second decade. Its supporters can number in the tens of millions, mostly in Asia. And, as you know, loyal fans will follow their idol far.

There are really few such projects on the market. Therefore, if you are thinking about investing in NFTs, Azuki is worth a closer look. But make any investment decision only on your own after in-depth research and assessment of all risks.



Azuki has become a top NFT project in record time, and Chiru Labs is already on a par with Yuga Labs and Doodles. And it’s not just attractive pictures.

  • First, the right niche – anime, which now has millions of devoted fans around the world.
  • Secondly, competent positioning, development prospects and marketing. Monthly sales of $300 million are proof of this.
  • Third, they continue to lay the groundwork for what the Web3 brand will look like in the real world.

Azuki and the Chiru Labs team are likely to invest money in the coming years to help bridge the gap between its existence as a PFP NFT community and a full-fledged consumer brand as they are one of the most popular and successful businesses in the NFT market.