The history of Chiru Labs is like a fairy tale come true. Back in late 2020, few people had heard the name of this American startup. In just a couple of months, a small enterprise has become a leading player in the NFT market, and its founders have become fabulously rich.
Chiru Labs’ sensational rise was triggered by the release of the Azuki NFT collection. It took only 30 days for Azuki token sales in the secondary market to reach $300 million. After another 30 days, the floor price of these NFTs jumped from $3,400 to $23,900.
What is the magic of the first Chiru Labs product? Why did it become a bestseller? What products have followed Azuki and what is their appeal? Let’s delve into the details to reveal the secret of the studio’s success.
What is Chiru Labs?
Chiru Labs is a web3 studio founded in Los Angeles in 2021. The company develops products at the intersection of advanced technology, culture and art. The Chiru Labs team sees its mission in creating a multimedia decentralized brand, which should be owned by all members of the community.
Chiru Labs is the author of the top NFT collections Azuki and BEANZ, whose anime characters inhabited a fictional universe called The Garden (Hilumia metaverse). Thanks to these mega-popular brands, Chiru Labs achieved the second largest secondary trading volume in the NFT market in 2022, over $1 billion. In addition, Chiru Labs pioneered Web3 technology innovations such as PBT (Physical Backed Token) and smart contract ERC-721A.
Chiru Labs Official Links
- Official site https://www.chirulabs.com
- Twitter @ChiruLabs – over 19k followers,
- Instagram @chirulabs – over 500 subscribers,
- GitHub @chiru-labs – over 200 subscribers.
Who are the founders of Chiru Labs?
The founders of Chiru Labs are:
- Zagabond (Alex Xu) @ZAGABOND – CEO (10 years of work experience from 0x Labs, Google, Amazon). His name is associated with the Azuki collection scandal. Zagabond himself admitted on Twitter that he is responsible for the failure of NFT projects such as Phunks, Tendies & Zunks. This post caused an uproar in the community. Zagabond later admitted his mistakes and promised to correct them.
- 2pmflow @2pmflow – CTO (worked at Google, went to Y-Combinator);
- Location Tba @locationtba – Engineer (former Facebook software engineer);
- Hoshiboy @hoshiboyzen – CPO (worked at startups that went to Y-Combinator twice);
- Steamboy (Arnold Tsang) @steamboy33 – Artist (art director of Overwatch).
The waiver of the anonymity of two team members, which Arnold Tsang explained as “a pledge of trust,” is further proof that Chiru Labs does not intend to disappear after receiving the money. This project is aimed at a long and successful development.
Chiru Labs Projects
Products included in the portfolio of Chiru Labs:
- BEANZ Official,
- Physical Backed Token (PBT),
They are known as high-tech, customer-oriented, useful and durable projects. Moreover, each of them has its own characteristics and advantages.
Azuki is an anime collection of 10,000 NFTs (category – PFPs) created on the Ethereum blockchain. The artistic style of the tokens reflects the rebellious culture of skateboarders.
This first Chiru Labs project was launched on January 12, 2022. The solid price of the token – $ 3,400 – did not affect the frenzied demand. In just three minutes (!) the entire collection was sold out! The income from sales operations amounted to $29 million. A few days later, additional tokens that were not included in the main batch were sold for $2 million.
In 4 weeks, the total trading volume of Azuki reached $300 million. The most popular tokens from this collection were valued at $500 or more, and the cost of the most affordable ones exceeded $36 thousand. As a result, the collection ranked 8th in the global NFT sales history by value and deservedly entered in the Top of the best collections.
In addition to the fact that each Azuki token can become an anime avatar, it is also a pass to the exclusive “The Garden” community, the key to merchandising, unique fashion and media projects.
Today, Azuki tokens remain bestsellers with a total volume of more than 500k ETH and a floor price of more than 15.8 ETH.
Among the unique owners of the Adrian Cheng collection is a Hong Kong art collector, co-founder of venture capital company Capital Cripto. On August 28, 2022, he announced on Twitter the acquisition of 101 NFTs by Azuki. According to Cheng, he did it out of “love and admiration” for the collection, and also to “democratize and demystify Web3 and Metaverse.”
My love and admiration for @AzukiOfficial lie in its community of visionaries. I am thrilled to collaborate with Azuki to expand our vision beyond The Garden by bringing new forms of #art and #culture experiences to the masses – amplifying the journey into the PHYGITAL world. pic.twitter.com/SpHIJNow1a
— Adrian Cheng (@AdrianCheng) August 26, 2022
Posted on February 23, 2023, a tweet by @FastandLucid, an Azuki artist, demonstrates the scale of the Azuki ecosystem.
Enter the Azukiverse ⛩️🐇 pic.twitter.com/JyiYMD2NwO
— fastandlucid (@FastandLucid) February 23, 2023
So far, half a dozen physical collections have been launched under this brand in partnership with such well-known organizations as Red Bull and Bili Bili.
BEANZ Official is an anime collection of 19,950 NFTs (PFPs category) built on the Ethereum blockchain and launched on March 28, 2022. NFT Beans were distributed free of charge to all Azuki owners, each of whom received two BEANZ.
As conceived by the creators, these tokens were supposed to become virtual companions and helpers of Azuki, and in the real world to attract even more supporters of skateboarding and anime to Chiru Labs.
The NFT BEANZ collection immediately attracted a lot of attention. At the end of April 2022, the project entered the top 20 most successful NFT projects. At its peak, the average cost of BEANZ tokens was $1,500, and the most expensive token #4096 was sold on May 6, 2022 for $247,000.
To date, the total volume is more than 145k ETH, and the floor price is more than 1.4 ETH. These numbers make sure that BEANZ Official is quite an attractive NFT collection. At the same time, the more affordable value of these tokens makes it easier to enter the Azuki metaverse.
Physical Backed Token
Physical Backed Token (PBT) was released in October 2022. It is an Ethereum (ERC-721 standart) token that links a physical item to a digital item using a cryptographic chip. The Physical Backed Token can be used to authenticate a branded product and prove ownership.
To demonstrate a new product, Chiru Labs has announced the auction of 8 NFT Golden Skateboards with the promise that they can be exchanged for physical skateboards using PBT in the future. Each physical skateboard was encrusted with 45kg of 24k gold and adorned with one of the emblems of the Azuki universe.
The results of the Azuki Golden Skateboard auction are in.
After 24H+ of fierce bidding (especially in the final moments), we have our top 8 Golden Skateboard auction winners. Let’s extend our warm & heartfelt congratulations to the winners!
Thread below 🧵 pic.twitter.com/SxAOjhVTVn
— Azuki (@Azuki) October 23, 2022
After 24 hours of “fierce bidding”, 8 lucky owners of the Golden Skateboard were revealed. The cost of this “miracle of art and technology” ranged from 200 ETH to 309 ETH. The Azuki and Beanz collections also became top sellers, rising in price by 433% and 250% (respectively) in a few hours.
With the creation of PBT, a new era of phygital collections has begun in the NFT world. On November 9, 2022, Azuki hosted a giveaway for PBT-enabled sweatshirts and pendants produced by Chiru Labs in collaboration with Japanese streetwear brand Ambush.
ERC-721A token standard
ERC721A is an optimized version of the ERC-721 (OpenZeppelin ERC-721 / ERC-721 Enumerable) smart contract implementation released by Chiru Labs in March 2022. The ERC-721A contract allows you to reduce the gas fee for NFT batch minting. At the same time, the cost of minting several NFTs is reduced to a level close to the cost of minting one NFT.
Potentially, this approach makes sales more attractive to NFT investors. Moreover, the more NFTs minted, the more will be saved on gas fees.
Prospects for Chiru Labs
Going forward, the Chiru Labs team plans to build on the Azuki brand as well, creating new revenue streams beyond royalties.
The company’s long-term plans include entering the Hollywood film industry. Zagabond hopes to use the intellectual property of collectible NFT brands in TV series. According to him, the Azuki collection could inspire the creation of images for the performers of the popular show The Masked Singer.
Recently, Chiru Labs and the Korean company IPX entered into an agreement on strategic cooperation in the field of IP business.
At Chiru Labs, we are thrilled to venture into the next frontier of IP using web3 technology. Our partnership with IPX opens the door for collaborative content between our IPs, retail distribution at LINE FRIENDS stores, and immersive IRL activations that combine our two worlds. pic.twitter.com/t4rtmQQfAK
— Azuki (@Azuki) April 12, 2023
IPX is known for its Line Friends NFT characters, which were originally a set of stickers on the popular Line messaging app.
The Chiru Labs & IPX partnership will promote and retail Chiru Labs products in Line Friends stores and real-life immersive events that bridge the universes of both NFT brands. Beanz and Line Friends also intend to expand their portfolio to include other members of the IP business. One of them will be the blockchain company Cripco., an IPX Web3 partner.
Opinion of NFTmetria
Chiru Labs is a Web3 technology startup with an active community at its heart and soul. Innovative products created at the intersection of anime art, blockchain technology and skateboarding culture are equally in demand in both bullish and bearish times.
Released during a season of sluggish sales, Azuki’s NFT collection has become one of the most popular in 2022. As the project’s ecosystem is constantly expanding, it can be expected that Azuki will continue to fight for leadership in the NFT space with the likes of blue chips, BAYC and CryptoPunks.
Chiru Labs is gaining momentum by forming partnerships with major brands and leveraging its breakthrough PBT technology. More and more people want to get into the metaverse of The Garden – this is a magical place where the boundaries between the digital and physical worlds are blurred, and the rules are rewritten in favor of the community.